Up in a down economy

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Jane Giles, director of business development for Cambey and West and president of the National Trade Circulation Foundation Inc. (NTCFI) contributed the tips below from the NTCFI's “Up in a Down Economy” luncheon series. In a panel discussion on March 12, Brian Snider, president and chief creative officer of GRI Marketing Group, and Jim Katz, VP sales and business development for RealMagnet, discussed ways for circulators to keep their heads above water in this challenging economy. Philip Scarano of Triad Services moderated.

The first piece of advice may seem like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: Save money in direct mail by reducing the size of the package.

If you're producing e-mail instead of, or in conjunction with, direct mail, make sure to look at every single aspect of an e-mail campaign, including confirmation page, from line, subject line, etc. Such a simple move could boost conversion rates by 20%-30%. You also should remember that relevancy is the key to e-mail marketing now; sending the right message to the right person. When using a purchased e-mail list, if you get a high bounce-back percentage, say 30%, try to renegotiate the fee with the list broker. Clean up unsubscribes and bounce-backs immediately to reduce costs for future blasts. Finally, with e-mail, look at e-mail records who never open and delete.

Think outside of the box: Partner with advertisers to create a newsletter targeted to a specific audience and solicit subscriptions at the same time. You also can collaborate more with printers and vendors. If your print run for a promotion is small, ask the printer to gang run the job with a larger run from another company to save money. Work with vendors to lay out plans for the entire year. You might be able to reduce costs with off-peak promotions or get a volume discount, such as with direct mail and telemarketing.

If you're working with telemarketers, give your telemarketer a dollar cap for calling. You can always go back later if you need more responses.

Use short forms and drive recipients to the Web to answer more questions. If you need to ask many demographic questions, spread them across several efforts, to get a few answers at a time to not discourage response. If demographics are not audited, take responses you do have and extrapolate across your universe.

If a publisher says to cut budget X%, translate that into a reduction in one-year circulation, direct requests or similar targets.

Last, but not least, no matter the economy, continue to test.


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