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Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriting

April, 2009
Volume: 23 Number: 4

The Inc. magazine "Pay what you want" offer
A case history follow-up

Last month in the Levison Letter I described an extremely creative
magazine subscription offer. You'll find the issue at:


As you may recall, Inc. magazine sent a mailing featuring a
"Pay-what-you-want subscription offer."

The order form said (in part):

/x/ YES! Please send me my FREE issue of Inc. to preview.
I understand that after I have received my preview copy, you will
send me an invoice that I can return with the PAYMENT AMOUNT

I recently heard from Patrick Hainault at Mansueto Ventures (the publishers
of Inc.) who came up with the promotion. As he said he would, Patrick
filled me in on the results which I'm passing along to you right now.

Patrick wrote:

"Results aren't final but the "pay what you wish"package will likely garner
less than 40% of the response we've received for the control against which
it was measured. It generally had the same look but in the control, the
subscription had a $5 price tag. I don't yet know what the average payment
will amount to because we've given responders up to two free issues to
determine the value of our magazine, but even when measured against a $10
offer, the format is likely to underperform. My guess as to why it failed is
that 1) people tend to freeze when given too many choices (and in a sense we
gave them infinite price choices) and 2) we didn't put enough emphasis on
establishing credibility for the offer."

So the punch line is, the very creative "pay what you wish" offer bombed.

Does this bother Patrick? Not at all! As he put it, "Any experienced direct
mailer knows that you have to test, test, and test some more. Your control
is your bread and butter but you have to keep trying new things if you want
to get better results!"

This is advice that YOU should follow. Remember, if you're using direct mail
and you're not constantly testing, you're just not doing it right!

How To Get In Touch

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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Copyright 2009, by Ivan Levison, All Rights Reserved.

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