Conference Speaker: Circulators Should Use Urgency at All Times

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NEW YORK -- The three most important words in renewal marketing for circulators are urgency, urgency, urgency.

So said Nancy Hochhauser, vice president of marketing and business at The Zimmerman Agency, to attendees at the DMA's 18th annual Circulation Day conference.

"You want something that builds in momentum," she said.

She suggested a three-step process for renewals. First, manufacture urgency. Circulators should mail four to six months out to encourage early response. Make changes in offers upfront. Graphics used in the first renewal mailer should match the last. Do not mislead.

More importantly, use words that encourage early response, even on the envelope, to get recipients to read the contents. Words to keep in mind are "final opportunity," "last chance," "one-time offer," "a deal so good" and "this offer will not be repeated."

The letter must highlight date to respond by and the last-chance offer.

Next, circulators must create urgency where it exists. Such mail should drop three to six months out. Use strong colors and graphics that set the stage. Also, employ urgent language like "expiration," "last chance notice" and "final notice." Mention deadlines and show different ways of saving.

After all, the circulator is "not sure what motivates the subscriber," Hochhauser said.

Finally, circulators should create urgency when the subscription period is ending. This is the final or the penultimate effort. Keep sentences short and snappy -- get in, get out of the message. Indicate the subscription has ended, mention "final offer" and use bold graphics to stand out in the mail.

"If your subscriber is not going to respond to this, he is not going to subscribe," Hochhauser said.

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