Vouchers: Variations on a Theme
Silver Marketing Vice President Kate Carr also has seen informational freemiums work quite well, citing a package she worked on for The Washington Post that included a recipe from the newspaper’s cooking section printed on a buckslip. “It worked really well, so on the second drop, we were able to target outside lists that we go after that tend to be food-oriented, such as Bon Appetit and Gourmet. And that’s had a lift too,” she states.
A sample issue is perhaps the granddaddy of informational freemiums—it delivers a taste of all a product’s editorial, but at a hefty price. “We polybagged a live issue of Ad Astra, the magazine from the National Space Society, with a voucher. It had strong, strong results, but also strong, strong costs,” states Silver. One way to work around this higher price tag is to make the sample issue an occasional part of a mailing program, leveraging it just at special times of the year, such as when response is at its lowest.
Of course, all successful freemiums aren’t editorial or informational in nature. Sometimes it’s enough just to have a slight tie to your product, such as TIME does with a bookmark control freemium or as Condé Nast Traveler did repeatedly in spring and summer 2006 with personalized luggage tags.
Or, it doesn’t need to have any connection at all. Zimmermann is seeing personalized address labels win test after test on the freemium front. “Ironically, the personalized label is beating the editorial freemium right now,” she states. “It’s in the Kiplinger package right now as the control. That’s going to be the big thing—everyone is going to be doing labels.”
Focus on Your Outer Beauty
Size often does matter in the mailstream, a fact not lost on an increasing number of voucher mailers. TIME and Golf magazines have mailed 6˝ x 111⁄2˝ envelopes with equally large vouchers inside; U.S. News & World Report’s current control arrives in a commanding gray and red #14; Philadelphia Business Journal recently tested placing its #10 voucher, unfolded, in an 81⁄2˝ x 11˝ jiffy envelope; and Money and Forbes both have taken plain #10-sized vouchers and mailed them in larger 6˝ x 9˝ envelopes.