How Much Is 'Free' Worth?
In a world where information and content are free, one mail piece stands alone, and demands payment. Ummm … actually, pretty much all of them do. It’s just that there’s one that makes a good point up front while doing so.
“Free is a magic word,” said the late Dick Benson. It’s all over direct mail. You can highlight it, put it in all caps, add an exclamation point, or just let it work its copy mojo all by itself. It’s a great way to lift response.
What sparked this post was a subscription effort for an investment newsletter that I came across while analyzing mail for Who’s Mailing What!
As you can see from the outer, it’s kind of on the plain side. No big, screaming type, no wild predictions of financial boom or doom. Just a calm introduction to a good argument made inside the envelope.
It grabbed me right from the jump with the teaser: “There’s so much free mutual fund information out there. Why do I need Morningstar FundInvestor?” I love that bit of internal monologue. And I don’t even remember seeing the concept of free content addressed so bluntly by a direct mail campaign.
Inside the envelope, the letter, by Russel Kinnel (the newsletter’s editor), calls out the “free” competition available in the marketplace. “[F]ree investment information often comes at a price,” he writes. When that price is bad information, “too many investors do the wrong things.”
He boasts about how the newsletter’s researchers – “the best in the industry” – provide guidance to investors. They help with “a 360-degree view of a mutual fund” in a “market flooded with mutual fund information … [and] make sense of it all.”