True Wealth's Self-mailer Success
For a mailer like Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, which publishes in the highly competitive financial newsletter sector, being first out of the gate with a new idea is everything. "When you have a good idea, you start seeing other [mailers] with that same idea, and it saturates people's minds," explains Stansberry's Director of Marketing Sean Carroll.
Although Carroll specifically is referring to the investment themes used to promote Stansberry's largest publication True Wealthsuch as gold, timber and bondsthis sentiment is equally applicable to the creative executions used to support those themes.
An example of this drive to be first in the mail with compelling investment ideas and creative is an effort that arrived in the Who's Mailing What! Archive in July: a 5-1/2" x 8-1/2", 28-page self-mailer styled as a "Research Report and Claims Handbook," focusing on a way people can earn 10 times more social security (Archive code #270-655873-0607). Historically, explains Carroll, True Wealth has found the most success with plain, white #10 envelope efforts, so this self-mailer format is relatively new for the newsletter. But, he points out, it's a reaction to what's in the mail right now: "We thought a self-mailer would be good because we haven't been seeing many of them."
This effort is actually the second report-style self-mailer the Archive has seen from True Wealth recently. The firsta larger 8-1/2" x 11" "Investment Preview Briefing" that focuses on China's government-backed retirement fundwas tested in September 2005 and mailed again in December 2005 and April 2006 (Archive code #270-655873-0604). The April drop fell just shy of breakeven and was retired. This smaller effort was tested in July and rolled out in September.
But while July was the first test of this self-mailer design, Carroll explains the package, like most of True Wealth's mailings, actually began life as a #10 effort: "Anytime we want to test a new promotion, we do it in that format. Our logic behind that is, we really want to test the copy to make sure it works. ... If we can break even with the copy, in the plain envelope, then we know that if we can come up with a good design, then it will give us another boost down the road." In this case, that design came from Ted Kikoler, who also created the larger effort.
Looking at the piece, there are a number of elements Carroll feels have helped this effort in the mail, the first of which is the order form. Because of the mailing's size, the 8-1/2" x 11" order form was placed across the center spread, rather than as the last page, as is typical. Labeled a "Claims Form," the reply device clearly lists everything included in the offer: research reports, daily e-mails, a subscription to True Wealth, a money-back guarantee and other add-ons. Unlike the rest of the effort, which is printed on white stock, the form is printed on bright yellow paper, drawing extra attention to the device.
The placement of the order form also breaks the promotion into two pieces: "Part I: National Policy 41-201, Explained" and "Part II: How to Start Getting Paid Now."
"You read the first section and it gives you enough information to know that you might want to get in on this. Then you come to the order form and then you come to the second section," explains Carroll. That the report is broken into two sections also is played up on the cover, where it is presented in a table of contents format, lending a measure of heft to the mailer.
How long this package will last, Carroll cannot say. Typically, True Wealth effortshave a lifespan of about six to nine months because of that aforementioned saturation. At press time, while this package was still going strong, another was being tested for when this self-mailer starts to fatigue.