The February 2010 issue of our ‘Sample of the Month’ direct mail case study features our client YES! Magazine and their evolution from a free trial offer self-mailer to a new and improved hard offer version.
Both self-mailers are 4 color over 4 color and roll fold to a closed dimension of 4.5″ wide by 7″ high. The free trial offer is 1 free issue and then 1 year (4 quarterly issues) for $17. The hard offer version is 4 quarterly issues and “An EXTRA Issue FREE” for $15. Hard offer means there is no free issue up front — you send payment with order.
CLICK HERE For Pictures of Both Self-Mailers.
YES! Magazine’s long-standing control was a roll fold self-mailer that promoted a free trial issue. They wanted to switch over to a hard offer to reduce the amount of money and staff time spent fulfilling the free trial offers and billing them.
Sharon Booth, Circulation Design Manager at YES!, worked with Ballantine to enhance their self-mailer to enable payment with order by incorporating a reply envelope. YES! Creative Director, Tracy Loeffelholz Dunn, also completely redesigned the piece to better match YES!’s current brand.
YES! Magazine’s strategy was to convert their self-mailer control from a free trial offer to a hard offer. The free trial version used a perfed reply card that got mailed back. In order to make the hard offer version work, an integrated, perfed return envelope was added to collect payment. The hard offer self-mailer was also enhanced with new creative that used celebrity testimonials.
According to Rod Arakaki, Audience Development Director at YES!, the hard offer version resulted in a 7% drop in net response — they also lowered the price from $17/year to $15/year — both of which reduced their revenue. However, the cost savings from the elimination of non-paying free trial issues, sometimes called “bad debt copies,” and billing more than made up for those decreases. To be specific, it cost 18% less to acquire a customer with the hard offer self-mailer.
Besides the lower costs, YES! experienced other benefits from switching to a hard offer. First, their fulfillment team is much more efficient without having to process the large number of free trial issue requests (typically 3X the number of paid subs you end up with), and send the free trial issues and bills. Second, by putting a discrete URL on the reply card, about 15% of responses now come via their website. They process these orders more efficiently and they all come with email addresses.
Lastly, while placing website orders, a surprising number are enticed by the multi-year subscription. One warning, though: YES! tested making a stronger push to order online — including offering a slight discount — but it depressed the paper responses too much.
Do you want a sample of this self-mailer? Email your address to email@example.com. Supplies are very limited.