Freemiums are those wonderful (or annoying, depending on your perspective as a mailer or a recipient) little free gifts inside the direct mail piece. Fundraisers have used them for decades, feeding the reciprocity urge within all prospects to give back after they themselves just received something, especially when it was free!
Of course, other sectors like magazine publishers, financial services and even insurance has employed this tactic as well. Hence, it became common to see address labels, bookmarks, certificates and other emblems in mail pieces over the years.
But rising postal rates and budget cutbacks began to endanger the freemium in the post-2008 financial crash. So why am I writing about this lowly tactic? Well, so far in 2013, the freemium has sprung back to life.
As you can see below, I measured the first quarters of direct mail (in our fully searchable, online database of direct mail) from 2013 compared to 2012 and 2011, when the freemium appeared in 9 percent of direct mail pieces. In 2013? It rose above 10 percent, which is a 14 percent increase from 2011.
Perhaps it's time for you as a marketer to reconsider the freemium tactic for your next campaign.
Ethan Boldt is the chief content officer of Direct Marketing IQ, the home of direct marketing research and Who's Mailing What!, the most complete library of direct mail and email in the world. To watch a quick video about Who's Mailing What!, go to www.whosmailingwhat.com/video. He can be reached at email@example.com.