Magazine Membership Email Marketing: Today’s Best Email Efforts that Sell

Five membership email marketing frameworks that are top-performers for these niche publishers

Membership Email Marketing Frameworks

Who wants to sell more magazine memberships with email? Everyone, right? One of the best ways to ensure success is to “follow the leaders” and emulate formats and frameworks that are successfully working for others. The magazine membership email marketing frameworks you’ll learn below include which top formats are working well for many of Mequoda’s publishing partners—and if you haven’t tried these frameworks yourself, we highly recommend testing them.


Magazine memberships are all-access memberships created by magazine businesses that include access to many products—typically at least digital editions of their magazine, often print as well. They also include other digital components, like video libraries, curated collections of premium content, and more. A few examples are:

With the Mequoda Method, membership email marketing efforts are called Spotlights and are key channels to achieving “M” (monetization”) in the ACEM process of running an online publishing system.

ACEM is our acronym that represents the four pillars of the Mequoda Method. “A” for Attract: attracting organic searchers to your website. “C” for Capture: capturing site visitors by obtaining their email address for an opt-in email newsletter. “E” for Engage: engaging with your email subscribers in a relevant and meaningful relationship. And “M” for Monetize: monetizing the relationship in a variety of ways. Learn more about ACEM by watching this video with Mequoda’s executive team.

Spotlights are important efforts in your monetization strategy. Here are 5 top Spotlight frameworks that are working for many Mequoda partners, including links to full copy for your review:

Spotlight Frameworks that Sell: “You’ve Been Gifted”

Interestingly, You’ve Been Gifted $500 Today! has been our most opened email subject line when we promote our Email Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop. But that’s not why we’re recommending it today. In fact, we only tested it ourselves because it’s consistently a best-performer for our publishing partners.

What prospect of yours wouldn’t want a free gift?

The “You’ve Been Gifted” Spotlight framework is a new twist on simply saying “FREE,” and works well when selling an all-access subscription or membership where the vast digital library of back issues and content can be positioned as a “gift” for joining or subscribing—with the number of years or number of issues in the library used as a benefit.

Here is an example of the “You’ve Been Gifted” Spotlight, a magazine membership email marketing framework that uses a premiere or charter/debut issue as the “gift”—in this case, the premiere issue of Yankee magazine that was published in 1935, a real collector’s item! And yes, a digital version of the very first issue of Yankee was added to the digital library as part of the premium content:

Yankee Magazine Membership Email Marketing

Click to see the entire message.

Spotlight Frameworks that Sell: “Charter Offer”

The “Charter Offer” Spotlight framework is perfectly designed to highlight a membership in a way that responders feel like they’re “getting in at the beginning” with a new product or service. See how RecipeLion positions its Charter Membership in this magazine membership email marketing framework. A top subject line for these efforts is “Please Accept or Decline These Benefits,” which, again has worked for us on the B2B side when promoting our Email Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop.

RecipeLion Magazine Membership Email Marketing

Click to see RecipeLion’s Sales Letter Landing Page (SLLP) that details the Charter Offer.

Spotlight Frameworks that Sell: “You are invited”

The “You are invited” Spotlight framework appeals to anyone who wants to feel special about being invited to something exclusive—this approach works well with any type of membership offer, and here is an example from Cabot Wealth Network that invites readers to join their unique club for investors, Cabot Prime, which includes access to all of their Cabot Advisory Services.

Cabot Email Marketing You're Invited

Click to see the entire message.

Spotlight Frameworks that Sell: “Statement of Benefits”

The “Statement of Benefits” Spotlight framework is a digital take on an old direct-mail format—you’ve probably seen or received this type of offer in the mail, where all the benefits of the product are presented as line items in a statement-like format.

While this particular club is comprised of only physical, shippable products, take a look at how The Old Farmer’s Almanac has deployed this framework for its Gardening Club offer:

OFA Charter Membership Benefits

Click to see the entire message.

Spotlight Frameworks that Sell: “Hero Shot/Short Form”

The “Hero Shot/Short Form” Spotlight framework works well when the offering includes highly visual products—and a multitude of platforms. In this example from Yankee, the image includes depictions of digital content, a magazine cover, a Summer Destinations guide, and the streaming video series Weekends with Yankee. The rest of this Spotlight framework simply states the product offering’s features in bullet-list format with a prominent call-to-action button:

Yankee Charter Offer

Click to see the entire message. 

All of these Spotlight frameworks are examples of things that are working for many of our Mequoda publishing partners—and, as always, we’re constantly testing and seeking continuous improvement in our ever-changing online world. If you want to learn more, attend our Email Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop.

Also, we’d love to hear which magazine membership email marketing efforts are working best for you, in the comments below.

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.


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