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Your premium options. (DM Notebook).

There really isn't any argument about using premiums in newsletter marketing packages. The last study I did showed over 80 percent of business newsletters and essentially 100 percent of consumer offers include them.

By far, the preferred offer is an editorial premium related to the subject area of the newsletter.

* For established newsletters, it should be easy to put together a special report from back issues of the newsletter.

Hint: Avoid the title "Best Of," which makes it appear you had to scramble about in the chaff to find a few kernels worthy of reprinting. Titles are very important for premium reports. Try "17 Tested Techniques to Increase Your Bill-me Order Pay-Ups," something the subscriber can put on his shelf and think, "Now I have that!"

* For a new title, it may be worthwhile to take the time and trouble to create a brand-new editorial premium to offer with the launch package. I've been involved personally with a couple of launches where we did this.

I also worked with one publisher who was determined to offer a new piece of software. My suspicions that a large portion of the prospect audience might not be as computer literate as the publisher were eventually born out.

In another two launches, fortuitiously, the editor had also produced a best-selling book which they used as a premium.

* Newsletter economics also makes it reasonable to acquire something from the "outside" to use as a premium, but you do run the risk of selling the premium, not the newsletter. The economics may permit it, because many publishers are willing to spend 100 percent (or more) of first-year income to get a new subscriber--anticipating profit from renewals. But if you've brought in subscribers who only came for the premium and won't renew, you've defeated the whole campaign.

Two more premium offers

* Choice. Conventional wisdom says to avoid anything that might slow down the order process, including, "Which one of the three premium offers do I want to select?" Some publishers make this work. Canton Lutts has offered a choice of, say, three reports of five on both new subs and renewal offers. In other packages, the element of choice is, "3 FREE reports for the one-year sub, 6 for two-year orders, or even 10 for the three-year deal." The latter is pretty much restricted to investment newsletter offers.

* Act fast. I've always been dubious about offers of "The first 100 orders received will also receive...." I wonder if this discourages prospects who might think, "It's probably too late to get this," or just, "Are they kidding me?"

When you do business by mail, establishing truth is all important.

I have also seen this offer from newsletters where I knew from the title and the market that, in reality, 100 orders would represent a smashing success and everyone who ordered would certainly get the premium.

Merchandise premiums

A can of worms. My old boss Bruce Levenson at United Communications Group used to say that anyone who wanted to test the idea could talk to him about a warehouse full of solar calculators he'd let them have cheap.

At least one business newsletter publisher, however, Richard Ossoff at Strafford Publishing, has made them work. He publishes for public accountants and has successfully used items like Swiss Army knives ("The coverage in Public Accounting Report is as sharp as....") and high intensity flashlights ("Shine a brilliant light on....")

Ossoff's two guidelines:

1. First-quality stuff only.

2. Don't put your newsletter or company name on them. The people who get them may well plan to give them away as presents.

Believe it or not, some publishers have also made three-ring binders work as new order premiums (even though they don't yet have issues they know they want to save). They do work well as renewal premiums, but with the caveat that once you begin a binder program, it's very difficult to stop.
COPYRIGHT 2002 The Newsletter on Newsletters LLC
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Goss, Fred
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Oct 17, 2002
Previous Article:Thirty-year newsletter veteran Llewellyn King offers candid assessment of the newsletter industry and his own operation. (Publisher Profile).
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