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It May Not Feel Like It, But It’s Time for Gift Subscription Offers

Steps to take to get the best results.

Roy Beagley By Roy Beagley
07/10/2013 -03:59 PM

It's the second week of July and it’s beginning to look like Christmas…or Kwanzaa…or Chanukah. What can you do to make your holiday season a little brighter with the gift of some additional circulation?

First up, include a holiday gift insert card in your magazine. Your existing readers like you and they probably know other people that will like you, too. Consider giving your donors a gift as well with a “Renew Today and Give a Free Gift to a Friend!” There are other offers you can test, as well. But, incentives usually improve response. Use a postage-paid reply card so that prospects don’t have to delay in sending you their order—give them time to think, and they may forget or find a different gift!

You could also send a direct mail effort to existing subscribers using the same offer—and again, give them a postage-paid reply. I know we all want orders to come in via the web, but why miss out on people who are not web savvy? The beauty of promoting to your own subscribers is that the effort can be renewal in tone and appearance—no flash required. A polybag offer sent with the magazine also makes sense or you can tip it onto the cover if you don’t want to polybag an issue. And, if you haven’t tried an email gift offer to current subscribers, by all means, test one.

The best prospects among your own readers will be direct-to-publisher sources—direct mail, insert cards and prior source renewals. So segment your file before you promote gifts, whatever methods you use. Forget agent sources and other new business sources that don’t convert well to renewal. That will keep costs reasonable and give you the best opportunity to pick up new gift orders.

Many magazines have space for a house advertisement and if you include a quick response code in the ad, mobile users can order straight away. You might also consider a gift buckslip in appropriate renewal efforts to direct to publisher sources.

It’s sometimes difficult to reference a specific holiday for obvious reasons. Using the generic “holiday” approach is generally acceptable but if your market or content allows you to reference a particular holiday then you should consider doing so. I really doubt the Jerusalem Post would be celebrating Christmas or Kwanzaa or that The Tablet would be promoting anything other than Christmas—but beware because one wrong word could lead to a holiday season of misery.

As always, ordering should be quick and as simple as possible. Remember these are gifts for the end of the year holidays, so do not enter the gift subscriptions until the end of the year, and offer to send a gift card to all recipients.  

The holiday season starts early in the world of publishing so remember it finishes early as well. Keep an eye on your issue production schedule to avoid promoting gifts in inappropriate issues such as January or February.

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