There is a great temptation to use all things new in promotions and ignore the old—the wise circulation manager and audience developer will not fall into this trap. Not every promotion makes a profit, sometimes things have to be done for what they achieve rather than what they cost.
Insert cards for instance almost never pay for themselves, but they get orders from every issue and are a good source of low-cost subscriptions compared to other types of promotion. If you don’t believe me, ask the folks at TV Guide.
Wraps and tips were once very popular but fell out of favor when we started to push people to order or renew via a website rather than accept an order form sent in via fax or the mail. Some markets (and some people), despite the digital world, still prefer forms you can drop into the mail. If you have not tried a wrap or a tip of late it might be a worthwhile walk on the wild side to see what happens.
Tips and wraps are inexpensive to produce although both will result in an additional cost at your printer. However, the additional cost may be worth it. Tips and wraps can be used for both new subscriptions and renewals or re-qualifications, but with renewals and re-qualifications, you will probably achieve a better cost per order.
Keep the design simple. Remember, if people already subscribe they do not need to be told how wonderful the magazine is, they know that already. They need to be told in the kindest possible way why their life will be less pleasurable if they do not renew—the more suffering the better!
There is not a great deal of difference in cost between four-color and two-color printing anymore, but on controlled publications two-color will normally suffice. Your magazine printer will have size and trim requirements for tips and wraps so make sure any design is done in consultation with them. Indeed, give the printer the final sign-off.
These days you can include a personalized URL and a QR code but if your tip or wrap has an order or qualification card, it really doesn’t make sense to give people devices to avoid mailing back the order form. You should get a bigger response if you pay the return postage on tip and wrap order forms, but some publishers have dropped their BRM accounts so yours might have to say “Affix Postage Here”.
If you are selling or offering a new subscription using a sampling program, in many cases, a tip will work just fine because the prospective subscriber has a copy of the magazine in his hands and can determine its value immediately.
Consider a tip as part of your paid renewal series, especially on the last issue the subscriber will receive, and if you grace your subscription file, I do mean the last issue they will actually receive.