Investment Newsletter Tries Short Copy
In a sector where it's not uncommon to see 16-page sales letters in direct mail solicitations, financial newsletter DRIP Investor stands out with a new control that is... a triple postcard?
It's true. Paula Cavanaugh, director of marketing at Horizon Publishing Company, the parent of DRIP Investor, reports that the triple postcard was first mailed last August, and has been dropped three more times since. The most recent mailing was in April 2001 (270DRIINV0501).
Prior to this triple postcard, DRIP Investor's long-term control was a #10 envelope package with an eight-page letter, order form, premium sheet, lift piece and a BRE. The Archive has recorded this effort since at least 1994.
According to Cavanaugh, DRIP Investor tested the 41/4" x 6" triple postcard last year, because its envelope control wasn't paying for itself. She explains that the price tag of $69 for a year's subscription to the newsletter coupled with declining response rates, made the envelope package too costly to mail. A small agency was hired to develop something more cost-effective, and the
triple postcard is the result.
The triple postcard grabs attention with a purple, orange and green color scheme; the type treatment on the outside panels is evocative of the way online brokerage firm E*Trade uses color and spacing to emphasize key words and sentence fragments.
Teaser copy on the addressing panel asks:
What if you could buy stocks from top companies such as Johnson & Johnson * Intel * Coca-Cola * Pfizer * Exxon * BellSouth * and pay no no brokerage commissions?
The other outward facing panel displays these teasers: Two investors buy shares of the exact same stockyet one pays no commission. What's the secret?
How could DRIP Investor move from a full-dress envelope package to a small self-mailer? Cavanaugh says that the triple postcard works because the focus is placed entirely on the free-issue offer; testing has proven that the product drives conversion to both orders and paid subscriptions, so the goal is to get prospects to request a sample issue of the newsletter. With a doubled net response, this strategy appears to be working well.
Previous efforts emphasized a one-year subscription for $69, with a second option for a six-month trial at $42, says Cavanaugh. The triple postcard offers up only the six-month trial option, with a special report premium with order, followed by another special report for payment.
Prospects can respond by mail with the attached BRC or by phone to the toll-free number listed. When prospects call in their response, sales representatives attempt to upgrade the sale to a full-year's subscription, says Cavanaugh. The fulfillment package for mailed replies, which includes a sample issue, also attempts to get a conversion to a one-year subscription.
DRIP Investor recently conducted a small test on a drop of 97,000 triple postcards. Thirteen thousand of the postcards featured a Web-response option with a bonus special report for signing up online.
The results of this test: Both the pay-up and upsell rates for a one-year subscription increased on the Web site responses, for higher revenue per order. In fact, the upsell rate for the Web option was better than that of the phone sales representatives, says Cavanaugh.
She thinks the reason for this is that the Web site allows prospects to preview the newsletter's content to make a more informed decision, where the phone sales representatives aren't able to paint as clear a picture of the product.
While the triple postcard is performing quite well, Cavanaugh doesn't want to get too comfortable; her goal is to continue to increase the average revenue per order. DRIP Investor is currently testing a new long copy package with one-year and two-year subscription options.