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Issue for June 2015

Enhancing Your Credibility with Subscribers

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 4:03 PM

8 techniques to boost reader trust.

By Robert W. Bly

"People buy from people they like and trust" is an established sales truism. But how many people receiving your subscription solicitations have even heard of your publication or editor or you, much less like and trust you? The editor's credibility is especially important if he is portrayed as a principal subject matter expert.

Your direct marketing copy must work hard to build the credibility that will get the reader to trust you enough to order and rely on your information.

Here are eight techniques copywriters use to establish credibility quickly in their mailings:

Technique #1

Show a picture of your building or establish a physical presence to prove you're more than just a mailbox. Promotions for the classic Dr. Atkins' Health Revelations showed a photograph of his impressive seven-story clinic in midtown Manhattan and noted that tens of thousands of patients have been treated there.

Technique #2

Link the specifics of the editor's background to reasons why this particular background enhances his value as a researcher and analyst. A promotion for Forecasts & Strategies notes that editor Mark Skousen was once with the CIA, which gave him government insider contacts he still uses today to interpret the market for his readers. Likewise, promotions for Technology Investing point out that Michael Murphy's proximity to Silicon Valley enhances his ability to research high-tech companies firsthand.

Technique #3

Cite any awards the publication has won or favorable third-party reviews it has garnered. These can include Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association awards and, for financial newsletters, favorable ratings in the Hulbert Financial Digest. (Since some readers may not be familiar with the source of the rating, describe it in impressive terms -- Hulbert, for instance, can be described as the "Consumer Reports" of the financial newsletter industry.)

Technique #4

Get and use testimonials from subscribers and the media. The best testimonials are specific rather than superlative, and they support the key points you are making in your copy.

Technique #5

Stress the editor's credentials and experience. List the books he has written (and their publishers) and the periodicals in which his articles have appeared. Also list major conferences and speaking engagements as well as academic or business affiliations. Give the names of the TV and radio shows or stations that have featured the editor as a guest.

Technique #6

If the editor is not a subject matter expert and the publication is not built around him, promote the credibility of the publisher instead. Tell how many publications you have and why you have such a great reputation in the market you serve.

Technique #7

One way to get around an editor or publisher credibility problem is to create an editorial advisory board. Have three to five experts agree to be on this board. Then stress their credentials and achievements in your promotional copy.

Technique #8

Don't forget standard credibility stuff, like number of years in business or number of subscribers -- especially if you have been in business a long time or have an unusually high number of subscribers. "Our 50th year" impresses some people. Also look for other statistics that can boost your credibility. For example, perhaps you still have your first subscriber who joined 28 years ago when you published your first issue.

Bob Bly is a copywriter and Internet marketing strategist. He the author of more than 75 books and publisher of Bob Bly's Direct Response Letter, www.bly.com.

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Tracking Down Print Magazines via App

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 4:01 PM

In the news: MagNet has launched an app to help readers cope with dwindling print magazine availability.

Looking for the new issue of your favorite magazine but having trouble finding it? There's an app for that. A recent International Business Times headline sums it up: "Magazines Are So Hard To Find, The Industry Built An App To Help You Locate Them." The app, MagFinder, taps into a user's GPS location and pulls up nearby locations selling a desired print magazine title.

Although the app highlights some troubling realities in today's print publishing business, it isn't all doom and gloom. Max Willens of IBT reminds readers, "Before you arch your eyebrows too high, consider that apps designed to help consumers find goods and services they like so they can purchase them are relatively common. There are apps designed to help people find certain kinds of beer, or specific burgers, or massages, or even vets." Read Willens's complete article here.

Also Notable

Can Digital Paywalls Help Print?

Print readership is on the decline, and recent numbers from ZenithOptimedia highlight exactly how much. According to Mathew Ingram of Fortune.com, "readership of print newspapers has fallen by a staggering 25% in just the last four years. . . . Out of the almost 500 minutes that people spend consuming media in the average day, only about 16 minutes is spent with a newspaper." Some print media brands have turned to paywalls to offset some of these losses, hoping to drive up print readership by bundling print and digital issues. But some media experts argue that this alone isn't enough. Read more here.

Ad Spending to Rise in 2016

As reported earlier this month on AdAge.com, research firm Schonfeld and Associates is forecasting a 4.2 percent increase in ad spending in 2016. The segments expected to spend the most are automotive, food, and wireless. Read more here.

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