Vouchers: Variations on a Theme
There are exceptions—such as a recent full-color, six-panel brochure from The Advocate—but typically these inserts remain pretty simple: small, focused, sometimes just two-color. But when it comes to cost-effective additions, perhaps nothing can beat the chip—that very focused, undersized insert that has been prevalent in financial services and is making its way into vouchers. The aforementioned Advocate mailer features a two-color chip leading the recipient online to subscribe; Reader’s Digest recently mailed a simple black-and-white chip with the headline, “Rate Adjustment Notice.” Zimmermann sees chips, particularly those that focus on price, as a trend that is going to come on strong among voucher mailers.
Free(mium) Is a Magic Word
There are a few voucher mailers that have been using freemiums successfully for years—Sports Illustrated has its NFL schedule, New York magazine has various iterations of a subway map and National Geographic has polybagged both a sample issue and a world map with its voucher. But it seems more and more voucher mailers have been taking advantage of this response-boosting tactic, in part because of the additional product focus such upfront freebies can afford.
Take Kiplinger’s Retirement Report for example. The only insert the mailer includes in its long-term control is a freemium in the form of a 33⁄4˝ x 8˝ glossy card featuring such valuable information as “10 Steps to a Richer Retirement.” “The editorial freemium is a wonderful way to add editorial focus under the guise of being educational, but not promotional. You are giving them something of value for free,” states Zimmermann, whose agency works with the mailer on its direct mail campaigns. She goes on to add that it is not enough just to include such a freemium; you have to find the right content as well. “We’ve done a lot of testing on it, and we find that subject matter really can make a big difference in response.” To that end, Kiplinger’s repeatedly has tested into new themes for its info-focused freemiums.