Weekend Getaway

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Audio Book Club uses sweeps to boost membership AUDIOBOOKCLUB.COM offers a chance to get away this summer – for people who like to escape with a good book. The marketer of books on CDs and diskettes staged a sweepstakes designed to attract new members with a weekend vacation paid for by the club.

Some 2 million received the e-mail promotion in June and July.

The company hopes to capitalize on the success of its last sweepstakes, a giveaway of a signed copy of Frank McCourt’s novel “‘Tis” and a trip to New York that delivered 60,000 entrants and 5,000 new members, says Jordan Finger, vice president of Internet Media & Marketing at Audio Book Club’s parent, MediaBay Inc., New York.

The summer sweeps winner gets a trip for two to Cape Cod, MA or South Beach, Miami, $500 in spending money and travel and hotel accommodations.

The e-mail hyped the promotion and presented a link to a sweeps page. After recipients entered the contest, they were offered an opportunity to join Audio Book Club for the Web site’s standard introductory offer of four books for a penny. Entrants didn’t have to join the club to take part in the sweepstakes.

The marketer shunned sweeps lists in favor of targeting prospects from files of book and audio book buyers who fit the typical Audio Book Club demographic: homeowners with annual income of $55,000 and above, median age 42, slightly more females than males.

And, importantly, they are drivers. “About 85% of them use the audio books in the car predominantly,” Finger explains. “They work 10 hours a day, then commute an hour and a half, so they pop in the CD for the commute. They’re listening to books because they have a hectic life.”

By promoting audio books for vacation, though, the campaign contains a hidden message. “The implication is to build an association with audio books as entertainment,” Finger remarks.

The club has been using the four-books-for-a-penny offer since its inception in 1998. After members sign up, they are required to buy four books over two years. And they do, because “Once you’re finished with an audio book, you buy another one,” unlike a music CD which you listen to again and again, Finger comments.

E-mail is the club’s central marketing channel to recruit members, though it also uses banners, buttons and sponsorship and affinity programs. It acquires the e-mail addresses of people who sign up on the site to receive offers and from affinity partners and more general opt-in lists. For most of his prospecting, Finger pays only for the names of those who join the club.

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