An Offer That Bears Repeating
A well-timed thank-you can do wonders to strengthen a relationship, particularly the relationship between a marketer and a customer. Guideposts, a publisher of inspirational books and magazines, was banking on this when it developed an effort for its eponymous flagship title that positions the offer as a thank-you to potential subscribers.
The effort, which is now the magazine's control, consists of a 6" x 9" Kraft envelope containing a four-panel, fold-out postcard with a perforated free gifts certificate reply card and a separate insert (Archive code #202-171961-0507). All threepostcard, outer envelope and insertfeature copy that enumerates and leverages the publisher's offer of a free scenic wall calendar, a free "Expect a Miracle" booklet and two free trial issues of Guideposts magazine.
The inclusion of the separate insert reinforces the marketer's gratitude and is one more touchpoint to establish a positive, one-on-one bond with the recipient. This is done by emphasizing the exclusivity of the offer, and the fact that it is a gift. On one side of the sage-colored, 4" x 6" piece, the copy sets a positive tone by announcing, "Congratulations! You have been selected to receive an exclusive 'thank you' from your friends at Guideposts." The recipient is made to feel special, which is further underscored by additional copy that reads, "Guideposts is shipping this 'Thank You' package to a select group of individuals like you." The insert then lists the items recipients can receive by replying to the mailing. On the reverse side, once again the emphasis is on customer appreciation. Here, the insert features an image of an old-fashioned mailbox with the copy "Please watch your mailboxthanks are on the way!"
Originally, the insert was tipped onto the outer envelope, explains Michele Ju, senior marketing manager of new business for Guideposts. "It was on the bulk for several direct mail campaigns," she notes. "We were concerned it would fatigue after so much exposure, but we didn't want to lose its strength, so we put it inside the envelope." Ju believes that the effectiveness of this tip-on-turned-insert lies in that it reinforces the mailing's message of thanking the customer and highlights the strong offer.
In fact, the effectiveness of the entire package relates back to the power of the offer itself, according to the senior marketing manager. Tested in the winter of 2004, this effort produced substantial net lifts and was rolled out as Guideposts magazine's new control this summer. The inside creative showcases the magazine's celebrity covers, featuring notables such as former boxer George Foreman, celebrity chef Rachel Ray and financial consultant Suze Orman. But it also highlights the free gifts. "The four free gifts offer has been our long-standing control offer and was tested into various iterations," Ju says. "We have had a tough time beating it. What really makes this offer work is that the responders pay for the subscription despite receiving so much for free up-front. This says a lot for the strength of the magazine, as well as the premiums."