Trying to get orders around the holidays is nothing new and if you have not already planned and designed your holiday insert cards, it’s not too late, but you need to act fast. I know, we’re only at the tail end of summer and insert cards are “old hat,” but they reach your audience in every issue and that’s half the battle. Here are some things to consider, and a few to avoid:
1. Use four colors. It’s the holidays, don’t turn yourself into the insert card scrooge! Consider using an oversize, postage-paid reply card to get even more orders from one donor. Yes it will cost more in postage, but it’s the holidays. In a 5.5” x 7.5” reply card you could get three new subs—and possibly a renewal if you feel really creative. Also, you will need to use different stock from the usual 4.25” x by 6” card—the USPS insists!
2. Keep the “holiday” copy generic. Mentioning an actual holiday could cause a problem, unless you are in a market where a specific holiday is pertinent.
3. Your copy needs to concentrate on giving a gift rather than selling the publication. These insert cards are aimed at existing readers, although pointing out the fine points of your publication is not a bad idea.
4. Don’t go “fancy font” crazy. You are selling a product, not inviting people to a party. But a little whimsy can be employed if you think your market is whimsical—most publications have a little whimsy, but many don’t know it.
5. The holidays fall at the end of the year, tell people you will send a gift card in December and start the subscription with the January issue if you can. This means you can run your card in your October and November issues, and possibly December as well. Just make sure the gift card arrives before the first issue, otherwise confusion will reign, customer service calls will increase and you run the risk of upsetting the gift giver because the gift recipient has been inconvenienced.
6. Allow people to order online. You can make them pay upfront, otherwise offer to bill the donor as this will help increase response. Some advise not to send the gift announcements and first issue until the subscriptions have been paid. I would say send the announcements and the issues as detailed above. I doubt there would be many people who would not pay their invoice knowing their kindness has already been announced.