Using a Quiz to Get the Right Response
Any good direct mail package has to stop the consumer as he shuffles through his stack of mail and make him want to dive into the envelope to learn more about the offer inside. So how do you know if yours is an effective mailing? How about a package that boosts a marketer's net response rate by 34 percent?
That's exactly what a subscription mailing for Kiplinger's Retirement Report news-letter accomplished for the Washington, D.C.-based financial publisher (Archive code #270-179455-0410).
Along with the response rate increase, Todd Lebo, product manager for Kiplinger, says, "We were also able to increase our mailing universe by about 25 percent."
Initially tested in May 2003, the piece was used as the newsletter's control mailing from December 2003 to September 2004, and is currently being phased out to avoid package fatigue. "We typically have one rollout. We mail four times a year, and we send out two to three test packages every mailing," explains Lebo.
Starting with its envelope creative, the Kiplinger mailing does all it can to engage potential subscribers. The front of the envelope asks, "IS YOUR RETIREMENT SECURE?" Beneath that poignant question is a mini-quiz testing the reader's understanding of how much money it really takes to secure a comfortable retirement. To get the answers, the prospect must go directly to the back of the order form inside. Lebo says, "The Q-and-A was a very integral part of making this package work and getting people from the envelope right to the order form."
The order form itself is a half-off certificate. "We've done extensive testing on price over the years, the correct price point and the ways to present that price point," says Lebo. "The 50-percent off has clearly been the winner for us."
Meanwhile, the rear of the envelope features a bold teaser: "What would you do if you outlived your retirement savings and became wholly dependent on friends, relatives, and the federal government?" Lebo explains, "The teaser on the back, which also becomes the Johnson Box on the letter, is a very strong message to the 50-plus, near-retirement market that we are targeting." It encapsulates the themes most relevant to Kiplinger's target audience: the desire to keep their independence and take control of their life.
The creative inside is targeted and copy rich. The four-page letter addresses prospective subscribers' potential retirement worries and enumerates the solutions Kiplinger's Retirement Report can offer. "For our target consumer, there are a lot of publications that deal with planning for retirement. We wanted to convey that our product was for planning retirement, but also for living in retirement," says Lebo. "That was a message that we needed four pages of copy to convey."
The letter is capped off with an offer for a bonus gift on order: a free copy of Kiplinger's "Retirement Portfolio" planning guide. "We wanted to use the P.S. as a hammer, to get people to subscribe," notes Lebo.
The premium is detailed on an accompanying buckslip. However, Lebo feels it's the quality of the sales message that really got the package noticed. The marked increase in response rate may just prove him right. He sums it up this way: "It did everything you want a package to do."