Magazine Subscription Marketing Ideas for Selling More Print and Digital

Magazine subscription marketing varies from print to digital, but the right offers paired with the perfect pricing bundles could be a game-changer for your niche publication.

We talk a lot about digital magazine subscription marketing and often include ideas and pricing strategies for selling all-access memberships that include your digital edition, your print edition, and your digital library. Once you’ve established your overall subscription price strategy, the next piece of the puzzle is to establish the offer you make to first-time subscribers, and how best to promote and organize your magazine subscription marketing campaigns.

Through nearly two decades of testing online, we’ve determined the success rate of various offers, and have found that offering a deeply discounted introductory hard offer to new subscribers works best. If we are promoting a consumer magazine that offers a full-price subscription for $50 or $60 per year, we will offer introductory pricing at $10 or $12 for the first year.

If you’re set up to sell your subscriptions with credit card auto-renew and would like to significantly increase the number of new subscriptions you sell online, here are 3 key strategies that we’ve seen work over and over again, in nearly every market our clients and partners serve.

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1. Choose the Right Offer

We have found through years of actively testing and selling magazine subscriptions online that offering a deeply discounted introductory hard offer beats soft offers more than 90% of the time. If a magazine subscription has a full price of $40-50 per year, we will typically offer an introductory first-year price of $10, with renewal at the full price one year later. Our conversion rates on these low price introductory offers are at least 50% thanks to having credit card continuous service configured on our digital magazine publishing systems.

Beyond the low price introductory hard offer, there are additional offers we occasionally test, just to keep things fresh and ensure that the current low introductory approach continues to hold up. More on these additional subscription marketing offers that you can test here.

2. Lead with Content (Collections and Previews!)

Your magazine archive, ideally digitized into an HTML magazine library, is your most valuable source for engaging potential subscribers. Many publishers have the high-quality content necessary to power a successful digital media library, but they stop at digitizing their archive and make one of two fatal mistakes: giving it away for free, or not marketing the content within it.

Back issue archives left un-organized provide very little value or engagement for the digital consumer. By turning these archives into collections and previews curated from your magazine content, you can transform your archive into an incredibly valuable informational and promotional product. 

Learn how to create “special collections” in a web library that attract and retain more subscribers, and how to write a great digital library preview.

3. Topgrade your Spotlight Frameworks

At Mequoda, we call any promotional email that features a single product or membership a spotlight. The idea behind the spotlight email template is that the publisher is shining a spotlight on one product—most typically their all-access subscription or membership.

Spotlights have a significant amount of variation in both format and formula. A few of the types of spotlights you can test include short-form offer-driven spotlights, long-form offer-driven spotlights, long-form concept spotlights and issue or content-specifc spotlights. Additionally, we’ve created several spotlight frameworks that we recommend you continuously test and topgrade as part of an overall six sigma subscription marketing approach. Learn more about these spotlight frameworks and learn more about six sigma subscription marketing.

What additional magazine subscription marketing ideas do you have for selling more print and digital subs? Let us know what’s working for you, and if you’ve tried any of the above ideas 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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