5 Tactics for Designing Magalog Mailers
A direct mail package offering a publication or information-based product is most persuasive when it's infused with the publication's look, feel and content. Magalog formats combine editorial snippets with marketing tactics and mimic a magazine's or newsletter's layout to convert potential subscribers.
While magalogs are used mostly by publishers and B-to-B marketers, other sectors marketing information-based products may want to give the format a test. To get the most out of this approach, consider these tactics from two magalog experts.
1. Determine Your Measurements
Flat rates spiked in the May 2007 U.S. Postal System rate case, so most mailers are testing smaller, 6˝ x 10˝, slim-jim magalogs in lieu of the traditional 81⁄2˝ x 11˝ size. "We've tested those [slim jims] for some of our clients, and they don't do as well as the big ones," says Greg Wolfe, president of Circulation Specialists, a circulation and marketing company based in South Norwalk, Conn. Flats may perform better than slim jims, but if you test at a flat size, Wolfe warns that you need a big lift to offset the postage costs. Most magalog formats, flat-sized or slim-jim, range from 12 pages to 24 pages. Check the USPS' rates to ensure that your magalog weighs in at the correct mail class; for slim-jim efforts, wafer seals also are required to achieve a machinable letter rate.
2. Pick Up the Magazine's Design
"To us, a magalog is a miniature magazine without advertising; we pick up the feel, flavor and design elements from the magazine," says Marty Davidson, president of Davidson & Maltz, a Claverack, N.Y.-based direct mail agency specializing in the publishing and television industries. Davidson uses similar fonts and page layouts, and he picks up the logos, color schemes and design elements from the magazine. "Our thinking is that when you actually get the product, the first free issue, you are seeing something that you've already seen: our magalog. So it just reinforces how clean and elegant the magazine is."