Vouchers: Variations on a Theme
One such element is the letter, suggests copywriter Josh Manheimer. “I’ve had considerable success turning the inexpensive voucher format into a cost-effective [direct mail] package by adding a two-page letter and using four color on both sides of the reply device,” he states, adding that this has worked very well for client U.S. News & World Report and is in the works for a number of others.
Looking at the mail in the Who’s Mailing What! Archive over the last few months reveals a plethora of such offers. In addition to U.S. News’ single-page, double-sided, two-color letter, the Archive also has seen letters added to the vouchers of such mailers as The Wall Street Journal, The Advocate and National Association for Female Executives. These letters don’t always take on the traditional form either. For example, a recent voucher from Tuff Stuff magazine featured a one-column, “Dear Friend” letter printed next to the “explanation of benefits,” both of which were perfed to the bottom of the remittance voucher. Yankee magazine, on the other hand, includes a short lift letter, printed on bright yellow paper, in its “statement of benefits” packages.
Buckslips and, to a lesser extent, brochures are other components that have been making their way into voucher packages. For copywriter Mark Gauthier, the success of these elements lies in their ability to do what older, more offer-oriented vouchers do not—put the focus on the product. “I am finding that the voucher alone is not enough. The package has to sell and explain the product,” he states. A number of mailers seem to agree. The control insert for Financial Times is a small replica of the paper—the version received in November was from Friday, March 31, 2006—which opens to reveal a brief sell of its editorial mission. Sports Illustrated for Kids includes an insert that speaks to parents, leveraging awards the magazine has won from various sporting and parenting organizations. Recent efforts from TIME have featured two inserts: a mini-brochure focused on the editorial and a buckslip that sells the premium.