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

subscription marketing

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 publishing partners who launched a high-frequency Six Sigma email spotlight program focused on selling more magazine subscriptions. 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 NOPX (new 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 publishing partner 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 publishing partner 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 an introduction followed by a 300 to 500 word summary 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 summaries 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 (if using a metered paywall), or to subscribe to get access to the full library of content.

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. They sometimes vary depending on the goals of the publishing partner, but these are the rules we begin with:

  • Is the H1 (first title) a clickable link and does it link to the article/collection TOC/relevant content being promoted?
  • Have you written a compelling H2 or H3 for the Preview that features the capstone product?
  • Is Section 1 derivative of one or more premium articles?
  • Does Section 2 (section above the boilerplate) describe the scope of library coverage across what could be dozens or hundreds of articles on that topic?
  • Is Section 3 is a standardized marketing pitch (boilerplate) for the entire service that can be recycled from preview to preview?
  • Is the length 800- 1200 words long (not counting the boilerplate)?
  • Are there at least 5 links to specific premium content? (Body, and related content list)
  • Are there at least 3 recommended images included?
  • Have you written 3 email subject lines that can be A/B tested?
  • Have you scored 85 – 100 on the email subject lines with a tool, like
  • Is there an OFIE or call to action placed every 300 or so words?

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.  


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