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Subscription Marketing Techniques for Promoting the Benefits of Web Libraries and Collections

Why take the hard route, when subscription marketing can be so much easier

Copywriters who are promoting a magazine membership are promoting content that does not yet exist, and for decades they’ve fallen back on creating sales letters that write about types of content. These types of content are typically based on past issues of the magazine that the prospective subscriber will never get.

Copywriters who are promoting web libraries, collections and additions now have the opportunity to promote actual articles that do exist instead of dancing around vague concepts taken from past issues that subscribers will never see.

I recall the story of an esteemed copywriter who wrote a hugely successful direct mail campaign for the Library of Congress’s new magazine, Civilization. Several years later when they had a library to sell, they asked him to do it again. He declined the request, even though they had now been producing several years of content he had to work with. He said, “when the magazine didn’t exist, I could sell it as a concept. If I have to go in and read the issues, I don’t think it will be as good of an offer.”

To the contrary, we think it’s easy to promote something that already exists. To craft a promotion, you can peruse the last 2-3 years of issues and write persuasive copy that describes what’s already been published.

Promoting web libraries and collections with modern subscription marketing

The benefit of promoting content that already exists (like web libraries and collections) versus content that doesn’t (like print and web magazines) is that you can be specific in your promotions.

You may not know the headlines of your magazine for the next six to twelve months, but you know what’s already in your library. Therefore, you can name names, articles, and headlines. You don’t have to dance around what members will get, you can name specific content.

For example, if I’m the Biblical Archaeology Society selling my BAS Library, I can tell members more about what they will learn, specifically.

  • In What Did Jesus’ Tomb Look Like? discover who uncovered Jesus’ tomb, and how it was described.
  • In To Be Continued… , learn the nine versions of the ending of Mark, which can be found among the 1,700 surviving ancient Greek manuscripts and early translations of the gospel.
  • In The Search for Noah’s Flood, discover whether the Ark was really found in a mountainside of Pennsylvania, or if there’s truth to a massive flooding of the Black Sea 7,500 years ago.
  • In Was Noah’s Ark a Sewn Boat? Ralph K. Pedersen examines a passage on boat construction in the Epic of Gilgamesh and considers a boat type used in the western Indian Ocean for two millennia—the sewn boat. These examples provide a new understanding of what Noah’s ark may have looked like.
  • In “Can Scholars Take the Virgin Birth of Jesus Seriously?” J. Edward Barrett probes virgin birth stories, discussing problems of Hebrew/Greek translation, the contexts of the famous prophecies in the Book of Isaiah, and father-son relationships in the Jewish and Hellenistic worlds in Bible times.

BAS also does a great job at promoting their library by creating “special collections”  where they break up their best content into individual pages that summarize some of their best premium content. These pages can be used as marketing tools and the copy can double as email promotions.

If I’m Ceramic Arts Network promoting my all-access iCAN membership, I could promote the many facets of this the membership by suggesting my email subscribers or sales letter readers sample content.

  • Experimenting with color options in clay gives potters a wide array of visual vocabulary you can pull from to better communicate your ideas. See the results of a wide variety of color play in Colored Clay Blends and Tests from our May 2019 issue of Ceramics Monthly.
  • Teapots hold a special place in the hearts of potters and learning how to make teapots is a big milestone in any potter’s artistic development. Made up of multiple components—spout, handle, lid, knob, body, etc.—teapots pose an exciting but complicated challenge: how to make all of these parts work together as a cohesive whole. This compilation aims to help potters Watch Four Approaches to the Teapot to take on the teapot challenge and master the form. Now available in Clayflix.
  • Learn the recipe for Ceramic Watercolors in our Ceramic Recipes collection. This recipe by Robin Hopper was originally published in his book, Making Marks and was more recently published in the February 2018 issue of Ceramics Monthly.

Since Ceramic Arts Network allows visitors to view three articles before showing them a paywall, they can even inject some of this promotion into the free daily email newsletters.

It’s a massive pivot for the magazine industry to be able to sell magazines the way books and encyclopedias have been sold forever. In modern subscription marketing, you can describe the content a member will get instead of hypothesizing what they may get.

This is a drastic change in how we market magazines. For most magazines, what you’ve already published is more valuable than what you’ll publish in the next 12 months.

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.

Meet Us in Plymouth and Learn
How to Double Your Publishing Revenue

Join other senior publishing executives at the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop—where you’ll learn how to plan, execute, and optimize a profitable magazine-driven membership marketing system. And how to double your publishing revenue!

Secure your registration now, while seats are available and Early-Bird Registration is open.

Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

May 20-21, 2020
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Plymouth, Massachusetts

This two-day membership marketing secrets workshop is intense—it’s not for the faint-of-heart, and it’s only for magazine publishing senior executives who have the vision and resources to grow their businesses.

This event is also for curious publishing executives who want the membership marketing secrets for publishers revealed—so that profits, growth, efficiency, and total transformation will power a magazine business that leads the industry and is the envy of competitors and collaborators alike.

You’re familiar with the growth and prominence of the emerging membership economy—you can see it daily as you interact with Amazon, Netflix, or even your local gym. And luckily, magazine publishers can learn a lot from others who have “paved the way” to condition consumers to buy memberships.

This is no fad, it’s a bona-fide trend that you should know about, understand, and latch on to membership marketing secrets for your own business’ purposes.

You should first know what isn’t a secret—having a metered paywall at your website. Yes, thanks to many news-oriented publishers, metered paywalls have become commonplace and are a powerful way to showcase your premium content and convert website visitors into buyers.

But having a metered paywall is not a secret. Who doesn’t know about metered paywalls or already have one for their content?

And simply having a website where you publish content is not the answer to staying competitive these days … let alone blowing your competition out of the water.

For that, you need to attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop! You’ll not only learn about the membership marketing secrets, but you’ll also discover all the online publishing myths that often distract or derail many publishers from keeping their eyes on the prize—growth and profits!

When you attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll be among the publishing industry’s elite—those who are ahead of the trends and will know exactly how to optimize your publishing efforts, based on the latest business intelligence. There will be plenty of time for networking, too, so you can get to know your fellow publishing professionals!

The 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Magazine Publishers

So that you don’t have to wait until our event, here’s a list of 7 membership marketing secrets:

  1. Web Magazine
  2. Web Magazine Library
  3. Curated Special Collections
  4. Leveraging Existing Content Platforms
  5. Content Previews
  6. Email Marketing Frameworks
  7. Landing and Offer Page Frameworks

And of course, much of the “secret” is not just having a list, but fully understanding what’s behind these secrets and learning what to do about them, so that your own publishing system is in alignment with all these secrets.

When you come to the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll learn about all of these in detail—and you’ll learn how to plan, execute, measure, and optimize your very own magazine-driven membership marketing system.

I promise you this now, too—when you register and attend our event, you’ll get 3 bonus membership marketing secrets. And while my colleagues prefer me to hold these bonus secrets back until you register, I can tell you they involve growing your audience, growing customer engagement, and growing revenue.

You’re probably wondering how I can make the claim that you’ll double your revenue when you register for our Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop. Well, Mequoda has been around for more than 15 years—and we’ve helped many magazine publishers over that time, including Prime Publishing, Yankee Magazine and Hearst Magazines … and we’ve counted AAA Northeast and the Biblical Archaeology Society as clients (non-profit membership organizations that both have magazines!).

The Agenda for Discovering the 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Publishers

You’ll leave this event with a clearer vision and plan for transforming your magazine publishing business. Here is the agenda for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

Wednesday, May 20

  • Creating a New, Successful Membership Product
  • 3 Ways to Build Your Audience Marketing Database
  • Offer- & Price-Testing Strategies for Maximizing Revenue
  • How to Organize and Outsource Your Business Processes

Thursday, May 21

  • Building an Integrated Membership Marketing System
  • 4 Key Metrics for Measuring Your Success
  • Modeling and Budgeting Your Five-Year Plan
  • 3 Bonus Membership Marketing Secrets Revealed

For a full description of all the sessions, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

This entire membership marketing secrets event will be led by me, Kim Mateus, as Chief Strategy Officer at Mequoda Systems. In 2004, I started with Mequoda as employee #2, and have since overseen strategic planning for many of Mequoda’s publishing partners. Having guided the development of more than 20 subscription and membership marketing systems, my team and I monitor and maintain a robust best-practices database of marketing techniques and business processes that helps power all Mequoda partner marketing programs. My focus on client content strategies is a natural extension of my journalism education and background.

And here is a high-level summary of the entire Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

WHO: Besides senior executives like you from magazine publishing companies, the Mequoda Systems team who will join me at this membership marketing secrets event are veteran publishing professionals themselves—you’ll have plenty of time for networking with your fellow publishing executives and with the Mequoda Systems team:

  • Don Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Dugan, Chief Copywriter
  • Nancy Horan, Chief Systems Officer
  • Eileen Shea, Content Marketing Director
  • Norann Oleson, Analytics Director

WHEN: May 20-21 (it’s NEVER too early to sign up!)

WHERE: Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts

For inn room reservations at preferential rates for our attendees, click here or call 833-MIRBEAU (833-647-2328) for room reservations.

WHY: Because the magazine publishing world is fast-changing and keeping up with trends can be a full-time job—this membership marketing secrets event will help you focus on only the key initiatives that will help drive growth for your business.

For a full description of all the sessions, speakers, and the venue for this event, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

I’d tell you to “mark your calendar” for this event, but if you only do that you might miss out—we only have a limited number of seats for this exclusive event, so sign up right now.

I hope to see you in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, in May 2020!


Kim Mateus
Chief Strategy Officer, Mequoda Systems
Program Leader, Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

P.S. If you already know that this event is for you, sign up right now while seats are still available (this is a small event—we really only have space for a few dozen people). Register now for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop!

P.P.S. Prefer not to wait until 2020 to benefit from all these membership marketing secrets? If you have a sizable team at your organization who should hear all about this, email me at and let’s chat about accelerating the process for you and bringing this membership marketing secrets workshop on-site at your company.

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