Using Direct Mail Post Cards to Increase Targeted Website Traffic and Sell Paid Newsletter Subscriptions

While many Internet marketing professionals ignore direct mail as a viable means to increase targeted website traffic, one newsletter publisher devised a test that shows that direct mail post cards can be a very cost-effective way to increase targeted website traffic and sell paid newsletter subscriptions.

Executive Summary

  • A simple direct mail post card can be an effective way to drive targeted website traffic.
  • The offer on the direct mail post card makes a huge difference to the program’s success.
  • Most external media programs like direct mail should be designed to maximize the number of new free email subscribers it adds to your marketing database.

This is a complicated direct-mail-to-Internet-marketing test as both the A and B versions are designed to build the publisher’s email database and sell paid newsletter subscriptions. I’ve included a downloadable direct mail campaign analysis (link downloads a file) that you can use to review the test results and analyze your own direct-mail-to-Internet marketing efforts.

Our Publisher’s Mequoda Media Pyramid
Jane Kelly* is a faithful practitioner of the Mequoda System and has a robust Mequoda Media Pyramid that includes a free daily newsletter, more than 40 downloadable books, a paid monthly newsletter and live garden tours in select European locations.

 

Flora Daily’s Mequoda Media Pyramid

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

The Direct Mail Offers
The impetus for testing direct mail is simple. There are gardening prospects you can reach through rented direct mail lists that you may not be able to reach through other marketing channels. Our publisher’s paid newsletter, Hidden Garden Monthly, is delivered to subscribers in the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) as a 16-page monthly in full color—and she has never done direct mail, having built her entire business online using traditional Internet marketing programs like PPC (pay-per-click).

Direct Mail Method #1: The first direct mail post card offers recipients a free issue of Hidden Garden Monthly—plus a chance to get 12 more issues for just $29.97 and a free eBook—The Flora Daily Annual Guide to Tulips 2006.

  • Respondents are guided to a URL: www.FloraDaily.com/free and asked to enter a priority code printed below their name on the direct mail post card.
  • After entering the priority code, they are taken to a sales letter landing page for Hidden Garden Monthly.
  • A floater order form offers a free subscription to Flora Daily (their free email newsletter), plus a copy of The Flora Daily Annual Guide to Tulips 2006. The offer is repeated with an OFIE (order form in editorial) about one-third of the way down the page. The floaters can be closed easily leaving the prospect with the sales letter for Hidden Garden Monthly.

Direct Mail Method #2: The second direct mail post card simply offers prospects a free copy of The Flora Daily Annual Guide to Tulips 2006.

  • Respondents are guided to a URL: www.FloraDaily.com/free and asked to enter a priority code printed below their name on the direct mail post card.
  • After entering the priority code, they are taken to a Rapid Conversion Landing Page (RCLP) for their free copy of The Flora Daily Annual Guide to Tulips 2006, plus a free subscription to Flora Daily.
  • Any prospect who takes the free eBook and email newsletter is then and only then offered a free issue of Hidden Garden Monthly, plus the opportunity to receive 12 more issues for just $29.97.

Direct Mail Method #2 uses a Rapid Conversion Landing Page that offers users Flora Daily and The Flora Daily Annual Guide to Tulips 2006.

In summary, Direct Mail Method #2 wins at every point:

  • 5X the number of Flora Daily subscribers.
  • 50 additional net new Hidden Garden Monthly subscribers on day one.
  • More than double the total revenue in year one.
  • A 44 percent marginal profit (compared to a 6 percent marginal loss).

The following analysis details the results of our test:

 

Flora Daily Campaign Analysis

Download the Excel file for the Flora Daily Campaign Analysis.

A Simple Direct Mail Post Card Can be Very Effective

One thing I hear a lot: “We tried that and it doesn’t work for us.”

While it may be true that what you tried didn’t work the way you did it, it might work with a different twist. Most outside media (like direct mail) is just too expensive these days to use to try and make a direct first sale. As this test demonstrates, you’ll generate a lot more targeted website traffic with an offer that starts with a simple free giveaway with no strings attached.

Once you’ve created some good will by giving the user what they want, you’ll be a lot more successful (and profitable) asking them to part with money in exchange for an even more valuable information product.

*Note: The details of the case have been modified to protect the identity of the publisher and program.

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