Formats Gets Smaller and Smaller
In January 1998 we found one of the smallest and most cost-effective mailings we had ever seen in the mail. It was a 31/2" x 5" snap-pack for Sm@rt Reseller that was mailed First Class, featured heavy personalization but no sell copy, and drove prospects to the controlled-circulation magazine's Web site to sign up for a free subscription. For its time, it was odd.
Months later, the Archive was seeing more of these strange snap-packsincluding an even smaller version from Windows Pro that measured only 31/2" x 41/2". That fervor has died down a bit, but this technique still has its proponents.
One of them is Network magazine, which recently added another inexpensive format to its repertoire. In July 2001 the Archive received a 31/2" x 5" self-mailer that is simply a folded up slip of paper that measures 5" x 8" when unfolded (207NETMAG0701). The exterior side of the form is printed in a mottled gray that attempts a marble appearance; the paper stock is of average weight. The only distinguishing marks on the exterior are a live stamp for Presorted Standard mail, the addressing block and a return address in the corner card.
The inside of the mailing dates the correspondence, which is a limited-time offer to technology industry professionals to receive a free subscription to Network magazine. A specific URL is provided for prospects to visit, and an offer code is prominently displayed so the magazine can track responses to its direct mail efforts.
An interesting sideline to this offer is the deadline on the free subscription invite. After the two-month response window runs out, respondents are notified that they can request a one-year subscription for $125 by mailing payment to the address posted. Previous efforts merely listed a deadline for response.
Who knows if this format has what it takes to get noticed and drive response. One thing's for sure: We expect to see more experiments in cost-cutting direct mail.