One of the items direct marketers can test to improve response is a format.  Most direct mail used to sell subscriptions involves a package – either #10 or 6” X 9” sizes. These are the most economical package sizes. 
    
Then, of course, there is a self-mailer format.  Those used most often in subscription promotions are the double or triple postcards.  And the reason is cost effectiveness.  

However, if you have a big enough market and promotion budget, there are other self-mailer formats you can consider testing.  A few weeks ago, I received a format called a magalog from Consumer Reports.  It’s a 16 page, saddle stitched self-mailer and very impressive.  Also, expensive to print and mail.  The one used by Consumer Reports is excellent.  I don’t know if this is a test or a roll out but it has everything one would need to sell a subscription.

Using numbers in copy to illustrate product points usually tests well.  People are drawn to copy that says “9 Reason Why…” or “11 Ways To”.  Should you decide to test a similar approach, remember that odd numbers (9, 11,15, etc.) are more believable and test better than even numbers (8, 10, 14).

There’s a strong offer from Consumer Reports and offers drive promotions.  This offer says you can get a risk-free copy of Consumer Reports and two free gifts (CR Buying Guide and Should I Eat This?) if you subscribe with the magalog promo. 

It’s very easy to order.  The reply card is immediately inside the front cover of the magalog.  There’s a spot on the order form for an involvement device - a Free sticker.  In order to find it, you need to work you way through all the pages to the back cover.   And, there it is the sticker next to the name and address along with copy about CR and the free gifts.

The copy throughout about Consumer Reports is excellent.  You can’t help but be amazed at all the information available to subscribers in its pages.  The magalog format makes illustrating these copy points both visual and easily accessible for prospects.  There is a call to action and restatement of the offer on every page.  Prospects can’t lose site of the offer or how to subscribe.

Beginning on page 2 and continuing on pages 9 and 11, there is even a letter from the Senior Director of Consumer Marketing under the head:  “Take a closer look:,” This makes the format seem a bit more personal and even more involving.

One of the less wonderful things about self-mailers is the lack of involvement that is created by a direct mail package  -- multiple enclosures, a letter, room for copy and photos -- but this magalog has all of that and more!