Selling Power Sells the Steak
It isn't every day you see a magazine publisher send out a live issue of its publication with its subscription appeal. But, for a magazine like Selling Power, a solution guide for professionals in sales management that's essentially pitching itself to seasoned sales pitchers, a "show me the money" direct mail approach might be the only way to go.
Its polybagged subscription offer landed in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in June and puts the goods on display (Archive code #205-176734-0506). Included in the mailing is the June 2005 newsstand issue of the magazine and a yellow #10 envelope with the words "Thank You" in blue caps and "Important Notice" underlined on the bottom right. Inside the envelope is a 3-1/2" x 8" buckslip, a 3-1/2" x 8-1/2" reply device and a BRE.
The buckslip cuts to the chase, introducing the writer as founder and publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner, and answering ourand apparently the recipient'smain question, "Why the live issue?":
Why do we send you a complete magazine? You see, we don't believe in selling the sizzle, we believe in selling the steak. Instead of sending you a snappy direct mail letter inviting you to subscribe to our magazine, I thought that a professional like yourself would appreciate receiving the current issue, so you can make a decision with your eyes wide open. If you like what you see, please subscribe. If you think that this magazine is not for you, I'd appreciate your giving this copy to a friend in sales.
The buckslip, signed by Gschwandtner, includes a toll-free number and URL.
Jeff Macharyas, production manager at Selling Power, says this concept of selling the steak, not the sizzle is one of the magazine's catchphrases. "Our mailing fully illustrates that point," he says. "We cannot expect prospective subscribers to properly evaluate our product without first seeing it." As a result, he adds, "we get a much better return that more than pays for [the mailing]. You wouldn't think that possible, but it works."
According to Macharyas, the magazine has been mailing a live issue with its subscription offers for years, trying variations on the theme, as well as testing premiums and prices. "We've tried coverwraps, special tip-ons and combinations, but the envelope package you [see] always produces better
results, and the cost is surprisingly low," he says.
To keep the concept fresh, Selling Power mails to different names on rented lists every month, and it tests the response between lists to see which list vendors produce better results.
Testing also has proven that the yellow outer, visible through the plastic, drives response over other colors for direct mail and other marketing
efforts. "We've done tests involving different colors of envelopes and have found that yellow seems to be a subscription-boosting color," says Macharyas. "We have also converted our bind-in and blow-in cards to yellow and have noticed an increase in response when we did that."