Getting new subscribers is arguably the most difficult job circulators have. Cary Zel, president and co-founder of ProCirc, offers these tricks of the trade on how to get new names on the mailing list:
· Your list is the single most important factor. Request competitors’ lists from your list broker for testing, and request reverse usage reports to monitor which lists your competitors are mailing.
· Treat your vendors like partners and use them for full profit and loss reports and online testing research. “Vendors should earn their money by bringing value added to each job they do,” says Zel. “Expect more than just a dump of data cards and list universes.”
· Price is the second most important single factor. The same product sold at different prices will result in the same net income per thousand mailed. But a lower price is a great leverage to increase total response.
· Try creative tests including lift letters from famed industry figures or popular editors or columnists explaining their personal connection to the publication. Jerusalem Post saw a positive response when it sent new subscribers a signed letter from famed Jewish author Elie Wiesel.
· Don’t give away free magazines in effort to build your paid subscriber base. Tease potential subscribers with a “magalog” or other sampler to make it feel like recipients are part of an exclusive or elite group.
· Instead of offering a free gift subscription on renewals, offer two gifts for the price of one. That means you keep current subscribers and get two new names in return.
On the Web:
· Treat your homepage like a broadsheet newspaper by placing subscription offers “above the fold” to make them more visible. Backpacker.com has three ways to subscribe above the fold on its homepage alone.
· Put a sub form or link on every page. Embedded forms can increase orders by 20 percent.
· Be aggressive about the term of your offer. Web site visitors are already interested and are more likely to sign up for a long-term subscription.
· Watch pricing offers for new subscriptions. You want to offer the lowest prices to turn surfers into buyers; however you don’t want regular subscribers to feel alienated. Price aggressively online but get around the problem by running “specials” on new subscriptions often.