Direct Mail Round-up - Renewals (626 words)
Pump Some Life Into Your Renewal Campaign
By Hallie Mummert
The explosion of interest in customer retention is probably a bit amusing to circulation professionals, who have always been aware of the need to continue selling to customers, whether recently acquired or long-term. Quite simply, a periodical doesn't have a business if it doesn't have customers who come back year after year.
Not all renewal packages work as hard to resell the product as the acquisition package, but I've dug up a few mailings this month that go a little further than the standard renewal effort. What can you do to give your renewal mailings—or other follow-up communications with customers—a kick in the pants?
The outer envelope of a renewal mailing looks more like a bill than an acquisition effort to encourage subscribers to put it in their "must-do" pile. However, this technique also can backfire, as the great hazard of direct mail is that people will set aside your offer for consideration, says copywriter Dick Jordan. Each mailing walks a fine line to get the desired response from prospects.
Time magazine chooses to add a little interest to a recent renewal effort by inserting a freemium, a refrigerator magnet featuring a Time cover, to thank loyal subscribers (see box below). The freebie propels customers to look inside the envelope, for two reasons: 1) People can feel the magnet through the paper envelope; 2) Time can, and does, promote the free gift on the outer envelope. By playing on people's natural curiosity, Time finds a new way to get attention for a renewal mailing.
There is one caveat, though. The magnet adds cost to the mailing, which is not the norm for renewal efforts. No doubt Time is testing the position of this effort in the series to see if the response is worth the boost in production and postage costs.