A Sense of Community
Circulation managers have been hard pressed to maintain their rate bases in the current economic climate. Many have taken to cutting costs by trimming acquisition packages, hence the proliferation of professional-rate subscription offers. Other publishers seek to entice prospects to subscribe with freemiums, including makeup bags, sports duffels, etc.
Essence magazine has borrowed a page from its nonprofit brethren and includes free address labels in its free-trial issue with subscription offer (203ESS-ENC0303). A long-time favorite of fund-raisers, the use of address labels as a freemium is a response booster we've seen crop up in other niche publication offers, including Guideposts and Parents.
The address labels are printed on the same form as the reply card, which is perfed so the response can be separated and mailed back in the enclosed business reply envelope.
Another response booster the publisher uses is a fast 500 contest. The first 500 respondents receive a free copy of Essence's cookbook, "Essence Brings You Great Cooking," regardless of whether they subscribe. Recipients are given three options on the reply card: payment with order, bill me and "No thanks, but tell me if I'm one of the first 500 to respond."
Not only does the fast 500 offer act as a response booster, but it potentially gives a second chance to entice responders to subscribe by including an offer in the cookbook fulfillment package as well as generate a handful of qualified leads for future prospecting efforts.
In keeping with earlier efforts, the 6" x 10" package is produced inline, which allows Essence to cost-effectively add personalization throughout the package. The magazine takes full advantage of this efficiency and liberally uses personalization in tandem with copy to produce a one-to-one communication with the prospect.
Teaser copy on the outside envelope reads:
"The magazine you already love is returning the favor ..."
Inside, a four-page nested letter appeals to the cultural identity of prospects and builds off their sense of community. From the letter:
"So, if you love looking absolutely stunning and irresistible ... feeling completely energized and charismatic ... projecting total confidence, poise, and power ... then you'll love Essence. And you'll absolutely love the way we love you back."
The love-fest continues with a four-color brochure featuring the puckered lips of an Essence model. Copy on the front panel reads:
Essence Loves You! Let's count the ways...
The brochure then opens up to copy on the inside spread that details the many things Essence loves about its readers. Using photos of famous African-American women as well as models, Essence makes sure this mailing is a reflection of the audience with which it seeks a connection.
Lisa Yorgey Lester