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Subscription Marketing Tip: How to Write a Library Preview That Converts

How to excel at subscription marketing with a web library by writing compelling copy

In the past, we have reviewed how to use the concepts of Six Sigma in subscription marketing and testing and then creative offer testing for subscription pricing.

We shared a story about one of our Gold Members who launched a high-frequency Six Sigma email spotlight program focused on selling more magazine subscriptions. With the help of Mequoda’s Growth Services Group, which includes our Audience Development team and our Subscription Marketing team, we increased the number of magazine spotlights from the standard 2-3X per week to 5X per week and introduced editorially-driven creative to alternate between offer-driven creative. As a result, we saw a 70% increase in their TOPX (total orders per 10K email subscribers) from this program.

Today we’re sharing insight into how to successfully write one of the creative templates responsible for the impressive increase this Gold Member enjoyed—the editorially-driven creative known at Mequoda as a Library Preview. The Library Preview is all about promoting subscriptions through thoughtfully featured excerpts of some of the most captivating paid content available on your site. Rather than leading with a direct offer, the Library Preview model instead focuses on the editorial material your site offers its paid subscribers. Library Previews attract consumers with a compelling piece of content before making a brief, but persuasive, sales pitch to entice them to subscribe in order to continue enjoying all of the content your site provides for paid subscribers.

Library Previews always follow the same formula, and in our experience it has proven to be a winning one, especially for the Gold Member we mentioned above.

The Library Preview format typically relies on three main sections:

Section 1 is derivative of one or more premium articles. We typically start with a 300 to 500 word excerpt from a piece of paid content that tells a part of the story, but leaves the audience wanting more. Then we choose three or four related articles, and offer 100 word excerpts of each, which make the reader want to click and read the full articles. Each “preview” has a call to action below the excerpt to get the user to click to the full article.

Section 2 describes the scope of library coverage across what could be dozens or hundreds of articles on that topic. This is where you can talk more about the related articles. For example, if the topic of your Library Preview was about Baking Apple Pies, you could talk about, and link to, premium content on picking the best apples for apple pie, or the best kitchen tools for making apple pie, or a recipe for making the best apple pie crust. These would all be derivative of the featured articles, which would most likely be different apple pie recipes.

Section 3 is a standardized marketing pitch for the entire service that can be recycled from preview to preview. It should be thought of as a control and any changes to it should be tested.

In addition to these sections, we keep these best-practices from our best-performing Library Previews in mind:

  • Is it 1200-1800 words long?
  • Have you written 3 interesting titles, which can double as the email subject lines that can be A/B tested?
  • Have you scored 100 on the email subject lines with a tool, like
  • Have you written a compelling subhead for the Preview, which can double as the email pre-header text?
  • Is there an OFIE placed every 300 or so words?
  • Is it optimized for a primary keyword? (title, subhead, and body copy) with a keyword density of 1-3%?
  • Is it optimized for proximity keywords? (body copy) with a keyword density of at least .5%?
  • Have you written an SEO title, which is different from the email subject line?
  • Is it also posted to the website?
  • Are there at least 5 links to specific premium content?
  • Have you scheduled a round of social media for the preview to be promoted online?

Start thinking about ways you can put this proven subscription marketing program in place for your business! Next, learn about another creative template you can use as part of a successful Six Sigma email spotlight program—the offer-driven Spotlight.  

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you increase your audience, revenue and profits with web libraries and subscription marketing, please reach out to schedule a no obligation chat with a member of our marketing services team.

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