Testing Tips to Make Your Magalog Matter

Promoting a publication to potential readers in such a crowded marketplace relies on one important thing. Namely, divulging enough about the publication to intrigue prospects and get them to subscribe.

By providing such a “sneak peek,” magalogs have been an effective format for the publishing industry for some time. Yet in order for them to be effective as subscription-acquisition vehicles, both content and design must stay perennially fresh.

Here are a few testing tips to try:

  • Update the cover. This is the most simple and effective element in a magalog overhaul. Heidi Hoyt Wells, a creative consultant who has worked with publishers including Rodale and Oxmoor House, has one client that keeps three covers in constant rotation to avoid fatigue.
  • Include the right reply channels. Toll-free numbers, online ordering – testing the inclusion of one vs. the other vs. both can have an impact on response. If a call center works, for example, a marketer might be able to avoid hiring additional online staff to collect orders.
  • Use an involvement device. Keeping a prospect engaged could reap big rewards. In a past magalog for women’s magazine Allure, a “quick beauty quiz” was included as a way to increase an audience’s time investment in the piece.
  • Lengthen content. The name “magalog” is no coincidence. Live up to its moniker by approaching its creation as a cross between a catalog and a magazine. Selling copy is necessary, so don’t skimp. Give prospects a real taste of what being a subscriber is like.
  • Add a freemium. Premiums abound in the publishing sector, yet, trying a freemium is a tried-and-true direct-mail approach. Make it work for you with supplemental information (such as Martha Stewart Living’s stain removal guide) or old-faithful address labels and stickers.
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Published: September 5, 2007

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