Anatomy of a Control: Nutrition Health Newsletter
That's why the letter is an information-packed four-pager, so Nutrition Action Healthletter can show prospects all it has to offer. Loaded with details on specific products and helpful tips, the "We name names" letter provides an excellent example of what the newsletter has to offer ... and it does so using a variety of classic direct mail tactics-everything from bullet points to underlined words to a postscript, testimonials and engagement questions to pique prospects' interest.
To keep the information up-to-date, Bass and his colleagues meet with the editorial staff from Nutrition Action twice a year, "and they read over the letter and make sure that all of the facts are still the same ... because the composition of foods changes very rapidly, especially packaged foods and restaurant foods," Bass expounds.
The use of testimonials from subscribers and reputable publications is another tactic employed on the letter and brochure "We're competing with other health newsletters and with all the free information that's on the internet, a lot of which is incorrect [Testimonials] give people some confidence that what they're going to be reading is reliable."
For the past 17 years, the combination of all these elements has proven very successful, and virtually nothing was changed through the 1990s, but Bass began to see some fatigue in the control. So he began to test the teaser again, using "We Name Names" and "We Tell Secrets." Those packages fared well, but response rates were still around 1.5 percent. That's when the RSVP package was born.
"The common element of all of those prior teasers is that they were very aggressive teasers, and the envelope was covered with products; we would use pictures of at least four or five products for all of them," declares Bass. "So the RSVP package was a total surprise for us because it is very plain."