Success Through Simplicity
For the Fidelity Independent Adviser, in Williamstown, MA, less really is more. Particularly when soliciting those who appreciate a straight-forward, no frills approach, says Donald Dion, Jr., publisher of this monthly investment newsletter. Dion recently opted for a minimalistic mailing in order to gain new subscribers to the publication.
"Our audience consists of people who are mutual fund shareholders that tend to be older, wealthy males between 50 and 80 years old. They also tend to have a lot of investable assets and know exactly what they want," says Dion. "In other words, our audience doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles. What they prefer is a mailing with a clean look that is to the point."
Such a stripped-down package is exactly what these recipients get with this mailing. Inside is a very short and succinct letter, in which a special one-year offer price of $29.95 as well as the expiration date of the offer are bolded. A very basic order form is printed on the same 8-1/2" x 11" letterhead that is used for the sales letter. The form asks respondents to fill in the date, their name, company name, address, phone number and e-mail address, along with credit payment informationno bill-me offer or option to send a check is listed. To make the process more official, respondents also are asked to provide their signature. A plain business reply envelope, marked "RUSH," is provided for responses (270FIINAD1102).
This approach is quite unconventional for a financial newsletter. Traditionally, marketers in this niche bombard prospects with 24-page magalogs and hefty #11 envelope packages that contain eight- to 12-page letters and insert after insert.
"Our simplicity separates us from the bulk mail that many people receive on a daily basis," notes Dion. "Especially during the holidays when a lot of fancy catalogs are mailed."
Simplicity isn't the only feature that makes this piece stand out to its readers. Its First-Class U.S. stamp is another eye-catcher which, according to Dion, sends a strong message.
"The stamp is a key element of this piece and because of it, we expect to receive 18 percent more subscribers," says Dion. "It also helps that the envelope itself does not include a lot of excess messages and is addressed in a basic, yet professionally typed manner."
Fidelity has been mailing this effort for about six months and, so far, it has proven to work very well. So much so that Dion is confident he would do it again.
He adds that this is actually the first time Fidelity has chosen to use this very minimalistic style but, because of advanced testing, the company was confident it would work.
"We've created other types of pieces, which we've test run in the past," says Dion. "However, this mailing turned out to work best." Fidelity's test-runs involve 5,000 recipients which, says Dion, offers enough of a sample and response to allow for meaningful results.
Such meaningful results translate to increased dollars for this investment adviser company. By downplaying the creativity on this piece, Dion states the obvious. "We've tried using fancy frills, but it costs a lot more and we've found that the frills were not really necessary," he says. "This particular effort cost approximately $2,500 at just 50 cents a piece, and we did it all in-house."