Lessons in Marketing from Publishers Clearing House

You know Publisher’s Clearing House right?  They’re the ones who can show up at your door with balloons and flowers and a big ‘ol $10,000,000 check (at least that’s what you see on TV).

Remember how they used to send that thick packet of endless paperwork through the mail?  You’d have to sift through magazine offers, “official looking” letters stating that you may be a finalist and then spend a half an hour affixing stamps to little boxes that told them whether or not you’d like a lump-sum check or an annuity if you won the grand prize.

They, like most companies have moved online and if you ever wanted a big lesson in marketing, it’s worthwhile to subscribe to their “updates”.  They have to the best in the business when it comes to getting you to take action – not only in the subject lines of their emails, but in the way that they word the email itself, all the way through the process of upselling you on dirt-cheap offers once you’ve clicked a link and moved onto their website.

Here are just some of the subject lines that they use:

  • (First Name), Review At Once!
  • (First Name), next steps…
  • (Last Name), Beneficiary Claim Information!
  • Failure to open could cost you $1 million this (date)
  • Not Opened!  (First Name), find out now!
  • Issued.  (Last Name) Passport to Lifetime Prize Eligibility.
  • (Last Name), Winner Selection Range Notice!
  • VERIFIED!  Winner Selection Authorized!

Notice how none of these subjects actually promise anything but get you curious enough to open the email itself.  Which, after all, is the whole point of a good subject line.

Once opened, most of the contents are in HTML so that they can include flashy graphics and the like.  Here are some samples of opening text in these same emails:

  • Will the Prize Patrol arrive at the (last name) residence?
  • (Last Name) Access Pass Issued for $1,000 A Day for Life Prize eligibility!
  • (First Name) as the Rightful Owner of a unique SuperPrize Number…
  • WARNING!  (first name), $1,000,000.000 (date) SuperPrize at Stake!
  • Over (number) people from (state) have already won!  You could be next!
  • Five Thousand Dollars a Week for Life at stake.  (FIRST NAME), Review at Once.
  • Forthcoming (last name) SuperPrize number eligible to be selected as a winner!
  • (first name), $5,000.00 a Week for Life is at stake!

In almost all cases they use your first name, last name or State in which you reside in order to get your attention.    They also use phrases like “rightful owner”, “you could be next”, “review at once”, or “at stake”.

Within the content they usually let you know that your going to miss out if you don’t take some kind of action today and while the law prohibits them from requiring you to purchase one of the products they offer you, you’ll still have to go through the entire process of viewing the products they have and then choosing a very large “Next” button at the bottom of the offers in order to move on.

Even if you don’t have any interest at all in the “Prize Patrol” showing up at your door, it’s worthwhile to subscribe to their updates just to see how they’re marketing to you and the process that they take you through in order to do so.



  1. John Engener says:

    Nice article. as for the comment from “Vicki”. WTF are you talking about?

  2. We’ll not made a video yet, I have to still find funds for my invention, to get model made to make my web-site, but I read any thing and everything to get answers and thoughts of what to do when I do get the funds to get going!Marketing & Networking is the two most important parts of starting a business,BUT it takes money lots of money,so hang in there ALL,I know I’m sweating it,Wow if I didnt believe in my invention-product so so very much,I would have gave up along time ago, but it’s my DREAM! So Thanks PCH for sharing your marketing parts of tech. but yes other wise, we all know-PCH 1,000.00 a day for life would have been a dream come true!anything to get me a car to get around to get funds,investors,wow its hard winning at PCH, but Im hooked and after so long who knows maybe Ill be next!God Bless all of you,and be safe!