It's sold 4 million subscriptions since first rolling out in 1995. Tactful, thoughtful and genuine-certainly fundamental to its ability to remain relevant-the Mayo Clinic Health Letter also employs many of the finest direct mail tactics to great effect and continually makes small revisions to maintain its top-dog status.
In the fundraising arena, premiums often are used as an additional lure to give to a cause, but that lure can be pretty unimaginative. Tote bags, stuffed animals, umbrellas and fleece blankets are still worthy gifts for prospective donors, but they may appreciate the institutions that go a little further in their premium offers. How does becoming part of that cultural organization's story sound? That's called a premium that's hard to top, and you'll see it in several packages I examine this month.
You have a first-class product that's proved itself on the market for 18 months. You've run some solid direct mail campaigns around, it and they've helped you capture 40 percent market share. Should you stand pat and send the same lead generation effort out again?
Renewal series add regular cash to your coffers and build loyal, long-term relationships. Yet many publishers ignore them or consider them an afterthought, lavishing money and creative capital on new acquisition packages instead. They leave easy money on the table, since it costs less to renew a subscriber than acquire one.
When Lighthouse International abandoned its labels acquisitions control package in 2006 in an effort to bring in higher-dollar donors, it turned to a proven renewal package and adapted that to reach out to its acquisitions audience-a move that led to the founding of a new control that it has relied on since.
When prospects are still thinking about turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, direct mailers are one step ahead-dropping packages in November and December to stoke holiday activity. In the nonprofit sector, many packages arrive around holiday time, weighed down with freemiums such as gift wrap, gift bags, gift tags, calendars, address labels and stickers, among other items to help prospects with gift giving and ringing in the new year
The insurance sector isn't a big premium user, and 2008 bears that out: Up until October (the last month our Who's Mailing What! Archive has recorded), only 9 percent of insurance mailings offered a premium. Notoriously careful with their dollars, insurance companies are known for unflashy direct mail and put only those components into a package that they deem necessary ... often leaving back-end goodies out of the equation.