Try the Publishers Clearing House game plan for increased fan mail success

No envelopes scream, “PLEASE, OPEN ME!” like
the mailings from PCH. Learn from them.

I enjoyed a recent online conversation with a collector I encountered on the always-amazing

Someone wanted to expand his success by focusing on Christian baseball players and Bible verse autographs.
I think it’s great any time a collector adopts a special project or a specialty. I’ve seen too many hobbyists give up entirely after wanting one of EVERYTHING.
The one tip I neglected?
End, don’t start, with the letter.
Make your presence known with the envelope. 
Why can’t a Christian collector jot a Bible verse on the back of his envelope?
Or, if you’re trying to build a collection of Cardinals autographs, consider adding “Redbirds Fan” beneath your return address. For the artistically-challenged, splurge for some return address labels with pictures.
Colorful stickers. Rubber stamps. There’s so many extra chances to stand out.
The window clerk at our local post office listened to my wife’s question about decorating Christmas envelopes, providing that the address can be clearly seen and the appropriate postage checked and cancelled. Is it okay?
“Hey…decorate away!” he said.
Someone might help a current or former player sort the mail. Do all the envelopes look alike?
Make the effort. Let it show on the envelope. Let the athlete know how much you want a reply.

What Publishers Clearing House Can Teach Collectors

Learn from the pros how to
make the best use of that
real estate on your envelope!

Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no doubt what’s in your mailbox.

PCH knows how to use every inch of an envelope (front AND back). You get their message long before you start to tear open that flap separating you and an almost-guaranteed jackpot.

(No, I haven’t received my giant cardboard check yet, either…)

Collector Dan Brunetti’s success with Alan Trammell got me thinking. There’s so much space on that two-sided envelope.

Why not summarize what your letter’s about? The best letter in the world doesn’t work if it’s unread.

For instance:

“Was At Your 1st Game!”

“Saw 3 HR Game, 2004.”

“Fellow Alabama native.”

Does the player speak more than one language? Add a brief non-English “good luck” or related greeting.

I’ve never felt that “Payment enclosed” on the envelope is a good idea. Keep the added notation about the person, not the process.

Most of all, be honest. If your envelope enticement doesn’t match your letter and contents, get ready for life in the recycling bin.

Sadly, some current and former players may be seeking reasons not to read your letter. Your envelope is competing with a mountain of fan mail for someone’s attention. Take your best swing.

Publishers Clearing House Helps Hobbyists? Welcome to Creative Envelopes 101

Learn from these masterful marketers!

Sorry, I don’t have any balloons or giant cardboard checks to share.

I do have a bit of wisdom that might help your collection.

PCH does a masterful job of sending two mailings for one stamp.

In other words, look carefully at the envelope. Your address is easy to see.
(That’s important as we try to hobby-ize their secrets.)

The front of the envelope has a teaser, blurb or headline. Same for the back.

I’ve noted before in this blog that I think that address label icons alone might compel a potential signer to open your envelope. You might appeal to their patriotism, school spirit or love of the outdoors.

I read on that, before Phil Niekro became a cottage industry signer-for-pay, he’d RTS (Return to Sender) most envelopes. If a collector noted that they were including a fish story or a picture of their catch, their fan letter would get through.

Doodle a portrait of the player (or yourself) on the envelope. Add their nickname or a subtitle after their name (like Mr. Tom Owens, The Little Blogger That Could!). The envelope back is your empty canvas. If the postal carrier, clubhouse attendant or spouse comments to the signer-to-be, you’re halfway there.

Sure, make sure the address and ZIP code is visible. After that, it’s time to stand out from the pile. I’ve speculated before that old greeting card envelopes get you in the short stack of fan mail.

Years ago, I worked in an office. A co-worker was in the hospital. My get-well card envelope was spotted. “Hey, I’d sign that, too.” Sad faces greeted the news that it was too late, the envelope was licked.

Suddenly, inspiration came. I sliced open the envelope, passed the card around and grabbed the tape. I wrote on the outside: “I had to re-seal the envelope. Someone put in money, then wanted it back!”

My co-worker returned a new man. He didn’t say anything about the card. “Gawd! The nurses passed that envelope around. The doctors wanted to see it. They laughed themselves sick — in a hospital!”

I’m sure he would have signed all the autographs I wanted.

Coming Wednesday: Would funny letters bring more autographs?

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