Lots of Great Circ Ideas, But Not Quite a Zillion
In Circulation Day’s closing session, panelists from Time Inc, Rodale, Meredith and TV Guide Magazine Group offered their best tips on a dozen topics including pricing to sell, being unconventional, saving some dough and playing nice with others.
During a panel titled, "A Zillion Great Circ Ideas," Joyce Shirer, vice president of circulation for Rodale Inc., said offering readers a low-price subscription, but charging them for delivery, can be a successful way to sell profitable subscriptions. "Every dollar you can get from a customer will allow you to drive a higher profit margin over time," she said. "Installment billing is also working again, especially for renewals."
Feel like being unconventional? David Ball, vice president of consumer marketing for Meredith Corp., says it’s time again to start testing sweeps. "We’ve been doing testing and we haven’t had a lot of success off-line, but online it’s working," he said. Feeling really crazy? "Try using a heavier paper stock for promos," said Shirer. "I know it’s heresy, but we’ve tried it on all our magazines and it works."
To save money, allow renewing subscribers to opt-out of premium offers, said John Reese, a consumer marketing director with Time4Media. "Premiums can offer a huge cost savings and, let’s face it, we’re not talking about the highest quality stuff," he said. "We’ve found that when we allow an opt-in option on premiums, about 75 percent will do it. So we’re saving on that 25 percent that would have renewed even if we hadn’t offered a premium."
Think your online team isn’t a potential partner for print subscriptions and renewals? Think again. "We’ve found it works great if you tie-in part of your online folks’ compensation to online renewals," said Ball.
- Divide and Conquer. "Use segmentation that is easy and effective: male and female, senior and non-senior and recognizing former expires," said Reese.
- By the Numbers. "Understand what you’re supposed to deliver and really think about your replacement costs," Reese said. "Think about whether you could have gotten subs by more cost-effective means.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm. "Run all offers and testing by your legal team," said Shirer. "ABC compliance is not enough." Adds Ball, "Know what the laws are in every state."
- Goin’ Digital. "Embedded forms work," said Susan Allyn, vice president of circulation marketing for TV Guide Group. "And they look just like renewal forms." Adds Reese, "Flash pop-ups work too and help you evade pop-up blockers."