Creating a hybrid circulation strategy

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ELDR magazine is a lifestyle publication for affluent people 60 years plus who see the glass half full and not half empty.  For many, the most rewarding years of their lives are yet to come.  They are proactive about health, like to travel, enjoy the “good life” and yet want to make positive contributions to the people around them and the world at large.


To reach this important demographic, ELDR has developed a hybrid circulation strategy, part controlled and part paid.


We market the magazine using many of the traditional methods, such as insert cards, and with innovative programs that reach out to the people in our target audience. One such program involves sampling and offers of free issues at events where active men and women are likely to be, such as the Senior Olympics and the Joint Conference on Aging.


If we feel the audience we are sampling is likely to meet our qualifications for controlled, we use a cover-wrap asking people to sign up for one year.


In addition to events, we mail copies directly to people who live in “ELDR enclaves,” communities of affluent older people such as Aspen, Colorado.  We find these people by cross-referencing zip codes with subscribers to magazines with older demographics, such as the Smithsonian. These are all controlled offers. 


Our newsstand copies, primarily distributed through the chain bookstores Barnes & Nobel and Borders, contain paid offers. Many of our paid subscribers come from this source but even more come from our Web site,, where we have discovered many younger people buy subscriptions for their parents or grandparents. Thus, we have a special gift subscription promotion.


We collect e-mail addresses from nearly 50% of the people who subscribe through the insert cards or through our toll-free 800 number and from 100% of the people who sign up as “members” of our Web site. Twice a month we send an e-newsletter to this combined group, which is designed to drive traffic to the site and sell subscriptions. 


Another way we promote online subscriptions is by tagging the end of each online article with a subscription promo. When people read an online article, we urge them, “Like the article?  Subscribe to ELDR magazine today.”


We have also used card decks aimed at older audiences and have seen a response rate equivalent to other magazines using this technique.


Finally, we partner with organizations that have an affinity to subjects having to do with active seniors. Partnerships include interviews with Caregivers Marketplace, reciprocal online promotions with special offers for online retailer ElderLuxe, in-house offers in senior centers like Senior Net, and SNAP for Seniors, a database of senior housing. 


Through these combined efforts, we have wooed many readers in our core demographic.


Thea Selby is the principal at Next Step Marketing, Inc., and Dave Bunnell is the editor in chief and co-founder of ELDR Media.  Thea can be reached at and Dave at












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