From 'Try' to 'Buy' in Five Steps
While it's not like turning water into wine, converting trial subscribers into paying customers is challenging. That's why Investor's Business Daily employs the strength of five follow-up mailings to convince prospects who already have accepted a 10-issue trial subscription to think bullish and order.
Investor's Business Daily (IBD), celebrating its 20th anniversary, is part stock-maket newspaper and part guide to successful stock selection. With a price tag of $295 for a year's worth of daily papers, IBD has found that a trial-subscription offer entices prospects to give the newspaper a look. Then a welcome package and a four-part continuation series takes over to persuade these trials to become bona fide customers.
The only 6" x 9" envelope format in the bunch, the welcome package confirms the first issue of the free trial is on its way (255INBUDA0204B). It also sagely addresses the top objection to subscribing in the letter's first paragraph, noting that prospects need spend only 15 minutes a day to get value out of IBD. This message overcomes prospects' anxiety of keeping up with an information-heavy daily. Since this package's main goal is to convert trials to paying customers, it offers a free book with a paid subscription. The bookleveraged throughout the series to drive responseis "The Successful Investor," written by IBD's chairman and founder, William O'Neill. The subscription terms promoted are a two-year or one-year deal.
The four packages in the continuation series are all #73/4 envelope formats that contain just a BRE and a letter with an order form attached at the top. Here's how the series is laid out:
Effort No. 1The outer envelope features a special die-cut address window that creates the illusion that a box printed onto the paper actually is an affixed label (255INBUDA0304A). The outer envelope puts the spotlight on the book premium, teasing prospects inside to learn more about the free offer. The copy platform kicks off the series by presenting the offer as an extension of the trial the prospect already is receiving. Prospects are given their choice of three subscription terms: two years, one year or six months.
Effort No. 2This effort grabs attention with text and graphics that suggest prospects need to open the envelope immediately (255INBUDA0304B). Inside, the copy platform is less urgent but ups the ante on driving response by piling on another benefit of subscribing: free access to Investor.com, IBD's Web site. The book premium is mentioned again, and the same three subscription terms are offered.
Effort No. 3Deeper into the series, this effort dials up the urgency message with a faux express mail design. The sales message in the letter becomes shorter and more to the point, focusing on price and value. IBD stirs up the offer with fewer term options and a change in the number of issues offered; now, prospects can sign up for a 10-month or 20-month subscription.
Effort No. 4The final effort in the series switches the tone on the outer to emphasize that IBD can help prospects "get rich." To make the decision to respond easier, IBD now offers a one-year term or a six-month term. Ease also is the main message in the letter, highlighting the price advantage in responding now as well as the small investment of effort needed for prospects to use IBD to create wealth. This last package pours on the sell with promotion of the premium and the free access to Investor.com.
According to Janet Bearden, manager, direct response at IBD, both the welcome package and continuation series are performing well. In fact, she noted, IBD even is testing the blue and white creative from the welcome package's outer in a new acquisition effort.