We recently received an interesting direct mail package offering a subscription to House Beautiful magazine.  It’s interesting for a number of reasons:

The outer envelope is closed faced which sometimes makes direct mail looks less like advertising.  The only teaser on the outer says “Do Not Bend”.  This immediately makes one wonder “What’s inside this envelope?”  That’s a perfect technique for tempting prospects to look inside.

The package contents include a letter/form combo, a free gift (or freemium), a small brochure and two buckslips along with a reply envelope.  It’s a well-known direct mail fact that multiple components involve prospects in your mailing.  And, that’s what you want.  The longer prospects spend looking at your offer, the better chance you have to sell a subscription. 

The letter/form offers huge price savings on the subscription, good benefits statement, the mention of the Free Thank You Gift Enclosed (the reason for not bending the package), a push to order with a respond by request of “within five days” and, if that weren’t enough…you may also subscribe to ELLE Décor for only $2 with this offer.  A respond by date or number of days helps move prospects along to the mailbox. 

The free gift – or freemium – is a bookmark.  That’s something everyone can use.  It can be used at anytime so it’s what some refer to as an “evergreen” gift.  It can be updated but doesn’t have to be.  Publishers used to use this technique more often than it’s now used.  Nice to see it again.  A freemium can be anything offered to everyone free of charge in the package.  It could be tips for doing something, a recipe, whatever makes sense for your magazine’s editorial product.  This works as well for B2B publications as it does for consumer magazines.

There is a small brochure that adds color and is effective in showing the product, two four-color buckslips and a business reply envelope. 

One of the buckslips details the editorial features month by month along with upcoming topics covered in House Beautiful.  The second buckslip shows the free gift offered with a paid subscription – a tote bag.  Tote bags continue to be effective subscription premiums.  One little nit pick – there doesn’t seem to be any way that a prospect could miss the premium but it isn’t mentioned at all on the order form.  There could be a number of reasons for that but if there is no compelling reason, I’d also mention it on the order form.

This effort does an excellent job of showing and demonstrating the usefulness of the magazine.  Copy has a “you” attitude – it tells prospects specifically what the magazine will do for them.  There is a clear call to action on each component.  All in all, a package whose ideas and design are worth emulating.

Outer Envelope (To see a larger size. click here)


Order Form (To see a larger size. click here)


Buckslip (To see a larger size. click here)


Inside Brochure (To see a larger size. click here)
Buckslip (To see a larger size. click here)