Subscription marketing response figures

Response comparisons for email – ads – inserts – mailings

Email marketing promotions: response rates
What kind of response can you can expect to a series of emails to your prospects. What will the creative work cost?

These are the figures for an email marketing promotion for a consumer website which has 200,000 registered, unpaid members.

Response to email marketing promotion offering a risk-free trial is 0.23%. After the risk-free trial, the subscriber pays £60 by automatically renewing credit card.

Response is 70% pay-through conversion following the trial period.

Email marketing revenue figures

Email marketing expenditure figures

Profit: £16,920

(Broadcast costs and staff time are included in general company overheads, and not within the expenditure figures above)

Converting free publications to paid-for
There are lots of publishers currently thinking of converting B2B and other free specialist titles to paid-for subscription.

I have given two examples of results achieved for specialist free titles previously totally reliant on advertising revenue.

The first title is distributed mostly to individuals working in Govt departments in the UK and overseas. The second is sent to both public and private sector readers, central and local government departments, NGOs, charities and other agencies.

Similar results have been obtained in various B2B markets. Our experience is that if the magazine content also appears on the website free of charge, it has no effect on the response to our promotions.

These figures are based on creative copy and strategy produced by a professional copywriter / subscriptions consultant (i.e. not in-house work):

Government sector free title
In the first example the publisher commissioned a series of emails to build a paid-for subscriber list to run alongside his free list.

Response figures for email conversions

Here are the figures for this specialist magazine:

Profit: £26,180

In the example above initial price tests found that new subscribers would pay £77 for a quarterly publication, where subs were previously sold for £50 a year.

Converting free magazine readers to subscription
In this example, we sent out a series of conversion letters to all free magazine readers and prospects announcing the subscription rates. Here are the figures:

The emails can be re-vamped and the series extended to continue to collect more paid-for subscriptions, and the cost amortised over, say, five years.

General response rates

The results of direct marketing tests I have seen over the years have been pretty consistent, and are laid out below. These figures for email, advertisement, insert and direct mail promotions assume the creative work and strategy – the offer, concept and design – are created by a professional subscriptions copywriter.

I have used a magazine advertisement as a basis for this comparison, with the advertisement pulling one reply every thousand readers. So for every 10,000 readers, the response to a good ad would be 10, which is 0.1%.

That means an effective ad in a magazine like Cosmopolitan, which has a circulation of 321,475 in the UK and Ireland, would receive around 321 orders to a subscriptions advertisement.

Taking that response level as a base, you can see what happens to response when the creative work is re-vamped to appear in the various different formats.

Promotion response comparisons

So you can see that if you run a loose insert using the same kind of creative as your advertisement, the insert will pull in three times the response. A mail shot will pull in ten times more response than an advertisement.

Variables
Things that will affect response significantly are:

1. Age and quality of list

2. Offer

3. Concept (message, headline, USP)

4. Email open-rate

5. Email subject line

6. New launch

7. Repetition of promotion (a good email resent after three of four days will give half the response)

8. Day and date of despatch

9. Disposition (mood) of target audience

Contact me for any queries you may have, and for quotes for our copywriting and marketing consultancy service:

hobday@subscriptionsstrategy.co.uk

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As publishers ourselves, we live or die by results. If a promotion doesn’t work, we lose money. If it works we record the results and use it on our own, and our clients’ websites and publications.

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