Whether you think direct mail is making a comeback or it never went away, the truth is publishers are returning to direct mail. The good news is that it does not have to be that expensive and a good example of this is the double postcard format.

Double postcards will not work for every publication or occasion—for instance, new magazine launches—but certainly in many cases, especially if your magazine is well-known, a double postcard may be just what you need to get back into the mail. True, you are limited in the amount of copy you can use, but sometimes less really can be more.  

Consider offering “Risk-Free Issues”—always a good seller. Can you give away a gift? If so, why not test a premium offer against a non-premium offer and see what works best for you.

Despite being in the digital age, people still like involvement devices so consider one on the order card. The Spectator magazine once did an offer where the potential subscriber was told in the copy “remove this sticker to reveal an example of The Spectator’s sense of humor,” many people did, liked what they saw and placed that sticker on the order card and sent it back for a subscription.

If you can use the word “FREE” so much the better. I know spam filters do not like the word “FREE”, but it is a powerful word and at least in the world of direct mail there are no filters dictating what words we can and cannot use in copy.

A “reply by” date is also an effective way to move prospects to action, whether this is an actual date or “next Tuesday” or “within the next week.” A “reply by” creates urgency and should prompt the recipient to mail the reply card in straight away so they do not miss a great deal.

To increase response, pay the reply postage for the recipient. This increases your costs slightly, but the increase in response should be worth it. You could consider using a personalized URL, although giving the recipient an option may decrease response. The fewer options offered the better. You don’t want prospects putting the promotion aside so they can decide later what to do.

There are certain design restrictions that you need to adhere to for addressing as well as postal regulations, but any good direct mail writer and designer will already be aware of these. If you need information check the Domestic Mail Manual for specifics.

Double postcards are a good form of direct mail for many publishers and if you have never done direct mail before they are an inexpensive place to start.


Growing & Leveraging Your Audience Database
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Audience data is more expansive and insightful than ever. Audiences exist in an array of silos—print, mobile, web, events, email,…