CONSULTANTS’ CORNER (by ESP) – May 2016
This month’s helpful advice comes from Elaine Tyson, President of Tyson Associates, Inc.
You can’t overestimate the importance of renewals to magazine publishers. This should be the magazine’s most profitable source of subscription business.
For controlled publications, good requalifications (renewals by any other name) insure meeting your analyzed issue objectives for age of names and for paid magazines, income and cost containment are also involved. Whether your magazine is paid or controlled, renewals present the foundation of your magazine’s circulation. In order to decide what to do to improve them as well as how to do it, you must first analyze renewal results and compare those results to history. You should be looking at your renewals a number of ways:
First, look at paid renewals by expire group compared to the same expire group as last year.
Second, analyze renewals by source – how do bind in orders convert to renewal, how do direct mail sold orders convert? What about web orders? Look at every significant source of direct-to-publisher production and compare it to history.
Analyze renewals by effort to be sure you’re sending the right number of renewal notices. You want to send enough, but not too many. The only way you’ll know is to compile response by each individual effort. You stop sending renewal notices when the cost of a renewal exceeds the cost of a new subscription.
Controlled publications are a bit different. There you’re looking at qualification dates – a specific period of time – two year, three year or over 3 year old names. Here’s a hint. Most controlled publications don’t use enough requalification efforts so effort analysis is really important to them. How did your first requalification effort do compared to last time? Look at two year vs. three and over three year response separately.
Keep in mind that numbers viewed in a vacuum are meaningless. In order to have meaning, a number must be compared to something. After all, a 60% renewal figure means one thing if the percentage used to be 50%. It means something entirely different if the number used to be 65%. That’s why accurate history is invaluable.
Looking at your renewals in all of these ways will help you make sound marketing decisions.