Do you remember the old “Sports Illustrated” television commercials?
They were always fun to watch – with great video clips and photographs packed into 60- or 90-second spot.
And they always offered some type of free gift – a sports blooper video, a football phone or some other premium – if you called the toll-free number and signed on for a subscription.
What was interesting was that the commercials focused almost entirely on the free gift, not the subscription. It was almost as if they were selling the gift and using the subscription as the bonus.
The advertising people figured out (correctly, I think) that the gift was more appealing than the subscription.
By many accounts, these commercials were very successful because they sold a lot of subscriptions – which increased circulation and advertising revenue for the magazine.
But I always wondered: “What does the renewal guy think of all this?”
Here we have all these new subscribers who are signing on not because they want to read the magazine but because they are going to get a free video. What is going to happen when the subscription runs out? Some will renew, of course, but a large number of them will let their subscriptions lapse – probably forever or at least until another new premium comes along
I am not being critical of Sports Illustrated’s approach. Using incentives to build volume on the front end is a reasonable strategy as long as you recognize that you may be paying for it later on.
The bottom line? It’s very easy to get excited about initial response rates, but hold your applause until you have seen how those responses hold up on the back end.
Written by Bob McCarthy
This article may be reprinted without permission as long as the article includes the following credit: Bob McCarthy is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in direct marketing and lead generation. His website is www.mccarthyandking.com. He can be reached at 508-473-8643 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- A High-Wire Act for Today’s Marketers - January 28, 2021
- Is it content – or just copy? - May 26, 2020
- How you can – and why you should – use your website to teach - May 12, 2020
- How to Generate Qualified Leads with Lead Surveys - March 1, 2020
- Gaps in your Email Schedule – and how to avoid them - September 4, 2019
- The Dizzying World of Letter Mail - July 22, 2019
- Do you have an Information Kit? - June 25, 2019
- Direct Mail and Those Pesky Millennials - November 8, 2017
- Landing Pages: Do you need a squeeze page or sales page – or both? - May 31, 2017
- Do you have the patience for content and inbound marketing? - May 6, 2017