What American Magazine Readers Really Want

The answers will surprise you

At Mequoda, we’re deeply opposed to guessing.

That’s why we’re so devoted to testing and statistics, which is how we developed our Mequoda Method and made it so successful that we’ve been able to improve the power and profits of dozens of magazine brands.

And of course there’s one other method for finding out what works with our audience: Asking them directly.

Every year, we develop a magazine reader survey, and use these invaluable statistics to help direct our efforts in creating digital magazines for our clients. While we’re still compiling our results, we’ll definitely be sharing them with all the attendees of our next Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop on August 2 in Boston.

This is the largest and most in-depth digital magazine survey of its kind in the U.S., and we’ve been conducting it since 2013, so we’re developing some very interesting data about trends that will be of interest to every publisher.

The who, what, when, where, and how …

Our survey included 3,241 American adults, slightly more than half of them women, representing all age groups fairly evenly. They come from very different parts of the country. In other words, they represent a solid cross-section of the American reading audience.

Which do they prefer, print or digital? What do they read? How much do they spend on it? What other magazine media do they like? Clearly, the answers to these questions can have a profound impact on the way you do business.

For one thing, you’ll be startled to learn that Americans read only 2% fewer print magazines in 2016 than in 2015. Yes, we all know that digital magazines are the future – but don’t kill your print edition just yet!

We also learned how many more people are reading digital magazines than in 2015, and even how much they spent on those magazines. (That’s an astonishing number … you’ll be floored when you see it.)

What else have we learned? The demographics of digital magazine readers, which devices they use, how many articles they like in their magazines, and whether they’re more likely to read your email newsletters or your social media (hint: it’s practically a tie, with 31.6% saying they read newsletters and 29% reading social media). Of course, there’s still more, but I don’t want to give it away here. I do want you to know that this information will be released shortly so you can stay tuned.

In fact, there are two ways you can get the results of our annual survey. We will shortly release our findings, with some analysis included, in a free handbook. As always, you’ll be able to download this handbook from this website, and the data will be all yours.

However, if you’d like to actually find out how to best use the data, discuss the results with the authors of the survey and its analysis, ask questions about what it means, and find out how exactly Mequoda will use this data to help other publishers, you’ll want to attend the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop. Please register now while seats are still available.

What you’ll learn at the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop

All of the steps a publisher must take to become a case study in success are taught at our one-day Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop, this year taking place on Tuesday, Aug. 2, in Boston. My executive team and I will share all of our strategies with you, from the magazine editions that are critical in today’s publishing market to upsell opportunities for publishers who have digital editions to pricing, marketing, staffing and more.

Because we teach it all in a single day, there’s no need for long hotel stays and no wasted time. Reservations for this one-day workshop that will change your business forever are now being taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Register now.

Here’s what you’ll learn at the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop:

What American Magazine Readers Really Want to Buy 

We’ll actually start the day with this invaluable data. As I mentioned above, the authors of the study will be on hand to answer questions, interpret the data in the context of their experience working with hundreds of magazine publishers, and help you understand what it all means and what you should do about it. 

The Five Magazine Editions You Can and Should Create

You already know you need a digital edition of your magazine in order to make your content available when, where, and how your readers want it. But did you realize that “digital” means different things to different people? It means you must have an iPad, Kindle Fire, and Google Play edition.

As mentioned above, Mequoda has identified a full five editions of your magazine that you must publish to survive in the modern era: print, digital editions on the Apple, Amazon and Google platforms, and web. Never heard of a web edition?  It’s the most flexible, most widely available, most promotable, deepest version of a magazine – and 95% publishers don’t have one yet. The remaining 5% (The Economist, Time, The New Yorker, and our clients Biblical Archaeology Review and Countryside among them) know it’s the most forward-thinking edition possible: available on all devices, searchable, and the only edition in which you can directly promote specific articles from social media, search engines and email. We’ll discuss best practices for creating, delivering, and marketing this edition.

We’ll also discuss how print media is still not only viable, but critical in a successful publishing system. Don’t forget, it’s not just about consumption, but about distribution; without your print edition, you can’t keep your product legacy newsstand channels such as bookstores, grocery stores, and specialty stores. Similarly, your three digital editions keep your brand in front of consumers on those platforms.

We’ll also discuss the attributes of each of these five editions, what makes each one special and how to market each one. Please believe me: It’s not as hard as it seems.

The Prices, Offers, and Incentives You Must Test Now

In this session, we put it all together for you from A to Z. We’ll share our data on decoy pricing and give you models that demonstrate the magic it delivers, discuss the details of orders and renewals for the different offers on the spectrum mentioned above, and show you how publishers exactly like you have profited from the strategies described here. In short, there’s much more to offers, pricing and incentives than there is room here to discuss them. How do auto-renewals impact renewal rates? Is there hope for a traditional pricing model? Find out in this session.

We’ll also walk you through a 13-week test program built on the same strategies we’ve used to build direct mail campaigns for decades. By the end of this session, you’ll understand all the variables and offer construction that still work in the digital age: hard and soft offers, introductory pricing, auto renewal, payment gateways. You’ll also learn the best practices that are required in a world where credit card continuous service is becoming the norm.

How to Run an Integrated Multiplatform Marketing Campaign

Yes, we’re a long way from the old direct marketing days. But that doesn’t mean a marketing campaign has to be complicated. First, using the offers we just discussed, we’ll discuss the radical differences between that old-fashioned direct mail marketing and the new email marketing, which allows us to promote a magazine 52 times a year instead of just two, four, or six times.

We’ll discuss how magazine cover story selection can drive sales in these campaigns, and explore incentives, premiums, special issues, and free reports – how all of these are used to drive orders in the digital age. And all of this comes with a very disciplined campaign framework based on a 13-week cycle so that marketing is literally managed with Six Sigma discipline. This approach allows you to run 52 campaigns efficiently, fights fatigue and maximizes overall circulation, revenues, and retention rates. 

How to Upsell Print-Only Subscribers into More Expensive Digital Packages

Remember, once you have digital editions of your magazine to sell, you can upgrade print subscribers smoothly using our contrast pricing strategy and our finely honed renewal series. Your subscribers get handy unlimited access and convenient auto-renewals, and you get more orders at higher prices than before.

In this session, you get all the details mentioned above, and even learn how to work smoothly with the leading fulfillment companies.

A Step-by-Step Roadmap for Making the Digital Transition

We don’t recommend that publishers cherry-pick our strategies, or try to execute the Mequoda Method without the training we deliver in this workshop. So we’ll take all of the strategies you learned earlier and lay out a project timeline in which we identify all the milestones necessary for your transformation journey.

You’ll follow along through all the steps necessary for changing your production flow, and we’ll discuss how new bonus content like extra articles, videos, and slideshows can be incorporated into your digital offerings.

We’ll also walk you through the process of becoming partners with Apple, Amazon, and Google, how to select the right software, and how to troubleshoot the approval process.

You’ll even get a timeline for building a magazine website featuring all the features and functionality required for your profitable new system, accessible on all screen sizes and read in linear fashion. Everything from generating new issue announcements to promoting individual articles is included in this master schedule for your entire production, distribution, and marketing programs.

12 Case Studies of Publishers Like You Who Have Blazed the Trail to Success 

At the end of the day, you’ll take home a list of 12 mentors, including those discussed above, as they execute this revolutionary publishing system every day.

We’ll discuss the product offerings for both B2B and B2C publishers on our mentor list, studying their platforms via a multiplatform brand wheel, and discuss content strategy, audience development channels, pricing and revenue strategies.

All of our case studies will be live, cutting-edge mentors that you can follow after the program to use as a benchmark set for setting your own policies and for developing test ideas – so you won’t be left behind as the new magazine world continues to develop.

This is also a great opportunity for burning questions and drilling down into the way our examples apply to you.

You know that the magazine industry is evolving at an explosive rate, and that traditional publishers must keep up to thrive, or even survive. At the Digital Magazine Publishing Workshop on August 2, 2016, you’ll learn the strategies that hundreds of publishers already know, and that thousands more will be embracing in the years to come.

I urge you to register now, before all seats are filled. As much as we’d like to offer this workshop to more publishers, we just don’t have the time, as we always put the needs of our 20+ Gold Member Organizations first – clients who have learned the Mequoda Method and value our help in implementing it for them.


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