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How to double your subscription base—even though all your competitors’ are shrinking by 50% or more!

The Marketing Challenge:

In 2002 the investment newsletter industry was suffering one of its worst years in history. The market was way down for the third straight year. Most newsletters lost 50% or more of their subscriber base during this time.

Realizing that the key to survival is marketing, VectorVest President Bart DiLiddo challenged his company to double its subscriber base.

Compounding the challenge, the VectorVest newsletter includes a computer-based program, while newsletter subscribers are generally used to only hard copy issues. Thus, the ultimate challenge was to get a computer-skeptical target to subscribe to a computer-based investment newsletter during one of the worst markets in history for investment newsletters.

The Creative Solution:

vector-vest_coverVectorVest turned to Craig Huey, knowing his reputation for building small subscriber base newsletters. Craig confirmed that yes, this would be a daunting challenge, but not impossible. Craig recommended creating a direct mail package that would highlight two important messages: 1) that VectorVest users had enjoyed big profits even through the market downturn, and 2) that VectorVest was easy to use.

The creative strategy was to focus on a third-party study from an undisputed authority showing VectorVest’s top results. This, Craig assured VectorVest, would address the skepticism readers would have about the ability to get any significant returns in such a poor market. The direct mail piece itself was a 20-page, tabloid-sized, 4-color self-mailer. The size allowed Craig’s team to highlight much of “the big story” on the cover and tell readers more of what they’d find inside.

Inside, readers found graphs of VectorVest’s gains and photos showing its ease of use. The piece also relied on testimonials from typical readers and articles about all the ways a reader could benefit from using VectorVest. A dramatic difference from other newsletter promotions was the strong use of “how to” articles and charts that would give the reader a real comfort level with the newsletter.

The Results:

While other newsletters have lost 50% or more of their subscribers, VectorVest grew by more than 100%, turning a small, unknown service into one of the top 20 circulated newsletters in the world today.

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