Effective for Expires
When we first took note of this double postcard effort from Boardroom Inc. for its flagship newsletter, Bottom Line/Personal, we thought it was a renewal. So, that really got our attention. Upon closer inspection, though, we realized it was an expire mailing (250BOTLIP0901)which is still interesting.
It makes sense to use the most cost-effective formats to expiresformer customers who should be familiar with your product and offers.
But we still see more envelope efforts for "come back" offers than we do self-mailers. According to Brian Kurtz, executive vice president of Boardroom Inc., the double postcard is the control package for customers who have moved from renewal to cold mail again.
The double postcard is the standard 41/4" x 6" size, although an alternate 41/2" x 7" size has been spotted. Because this format is not super costly, Bottom Line/Personal can afford to add response-booting touches, like personalization and a sticker token. Most of Boardroom Inc.'s offers include a premium, so that does not change with expire offers.
"The key with expires," Kurtz says, "is that you mail them over and over again, so rotating formats makes a difference." Because this audience is not new to Bottom Line/Personal, Boardroom Inc. is able to test smaller formats, like the double postcard or a professional discount offer.
And you don't want to spend too much on expires, Kurtz says, because this universe is also more likely to respond than prospect files.
"Even if you have a good product, people fall off the subscriber list by inertia. So expires are one of your best lists, but you don't want to spend your whole budget on these names," he explains.
One of the best things about the double postcard control is that the newsletter has been able to charge the regular renewal price, rather than an inflated come-back offer. Kurtz says that they don't want people to wait them out for a better price down the road, so they try to make the renewal price stick for expires.
On the subject of whether the format has something to do with the double postcard performing well after the anthrax scares, Kurtz does not feel that response rates at the present are tied solely to whether you mail an envelope package or a self-mailer. While mainstream media coverage has suggested that consumers might prefer self-mailers to envelope packages, Kurtz is not hasty to link response rates to format alone.
He points out that Boardroom Inc. dropped magalog efforts in October that came back below projections. Conversely, the publisher sent out a #10 envelope campaign with clear markings of what it was and who mailed it, and that effort did well, Kurtz says.
Basically, it would be too easy to link good or bad response rates to a particular format. The anthrax scares mostly exacerbated a poor economy, which already accounted for overall declining response rates, he says.