direct mail, Sports

The Irresistible Offer, and Making Money

Golf 2014-11-19 739 short

There is no shortage of advice for this game.

The mailbox is a limitless supply of surprises. Today, it presented a special offer from Golf Magazine, one that I could not refuse.

In direct mail, there are offers, but more important, there are deals, and Golf’s latest was a doozy.
This simple envelope expressed a blunt sentiment: ONE TIME ONLY!

Golf 2014-11-19 740 deal

“April is 5 months off, but we want you NOW.”

Does that sound like something your parents would have said?

How about Golf’s business manager, in response to the giddily optimistic circulation manager who came up with the crazy deal?

Golf 2014-11-19 740 six free

Half a year in the upper midwest is golf-free, so why not?

This was in fact a renewal letter. An advance renewal, 5 months out from April 2015, which is the last issue date.
So here’s the deal: 12 issues for a year, PLUS six more issues, for $10.  Basically 63 cents an issue.


Digging through my recycle bin, I found a September Golf blow-in card offering 12 issues for $16. That’s 75 cents each.

Golf 2014-11-727 yellow deal

Relax, there’s always a better deal coming.

At this juncture, one could decide to defer, just because, who knows, golf may never occur again on the planet due to snow, so what’s the point?

But then the real deal emerges. In addition to the 6 free issues, the renewal also came with a 90-page expert guide: “The Best SHORT GAME Instruction”. Downloadable with paid order. Sweet!


Lining up the three wood for a water hazard.

Let me perambulate for a moment to say that I play the short game very well.

I can shoot a 56, +/- 2 strokes in 9 holes consistently. I don’t need to play 18 holes to break 72. I can do it in 12, no sweat.

But maybe the book could offer some consolatory advice.

The question we should ask, is how can Golf make any money giving away the magazine almost for free?

Golf 2014-11-19 738

The circulation director shuddered with this deal.

As it turns out, Golf needs me as much as I need their Instruction book. You see, they promise to their advertisers to deliver 1,400,000 magazines a month to avid readers like me.

Looking at Golf’s 2013 rate card, one will find that a full-page color ad goes for $207,100. That’s about the price of a house trailer in Fort Myers.

There are lots of angles in buying ad space, but at the end of the day, a 125-page Golf Magazine carries about 40 pages of color ads, generating $8,300,000 in sales.   About $5.92 per reader.

Golf 2014-11-19 739

The essential irresistible offer: FREE advice.

The magazine may cost as much as $2 to print and mail, so that leaves nearly $4 left to create, write and photograph.  Should be enough!

And what about my $10?  Where does that go?   Well, assuming they wrote to 120,000 subscribers with an April 2015 end-date, their mailing cost is about a dollar each, all in.  $120,000.  Odds are, about 15,000 may renew, which is $150,000 to cover the mailing with something left over for the gent who wrote the SHORT GAME guide.

IMG_1141So that excited Circ manager maybe isn’t so crazy after all.

Now we’ll see if the guide can make my game any shorter.



Thanks for following the math on this.   If you have any tips on improving my game, just write!