4 Signs of the Voucher's Evolution
Direct mail printing firms have noticed the changes as well. Ryan Coté, director of marketing at The Ballantine Corp. in Wayne, N.J., says the company is seeing more hybrid vouchers than ever before. "I assume [it's] because the simple voucher is losing steam. Plus, vouchers don't leave much room for testing except copy," he reasons. The variations Coté has seen for the hybrid voucher include buckslips, lift notes, odd-sized outer envelope (OE) windows, OE teaser copy, different OE colors, brochures, as well as freemiums like return address labels and even a packet of seeds (for a gardening magazine).
"What is evolving is the inclusion of added inserts for people who do want to get more of the feel of a magazine," agrees Sheldon, who points to how New York magazine helped launch the trend of the expanded voucher with its New York City subway map freemium. The last few years she has been creating vouchers that describe benefits in greater detail. For example, she wrote a traditional package for Woman's Day that was tested against a combo letter/voucher; the latter pulled almost as well.
"The trick is to be brief and as descriptive as possible, and to use freemiums that have real value to the consumer," suggest Sheldon. In her experience, the more that's added to the voucher within reason that provides additional information and a broader range of benefits, the better the voucher does.
3. Going beyond "is this a bill?" marketing
Many copywriters agree that the consumer is sophisticated enough by now to realize the voucher is not a bill in disguise. "A lot of color was not used in the past, because people believed it detracted from the professional, 'bill-like' look. Now the use of color adds interest and draws the eye to relevant details. Used wisely, it can also portray the feel of the magazine," details Sheldon.