Subscription Website Publishing

The Best Marketing Automation System for Publishers

Publishers require a marketing automation system that works in tandem with a highly efficient content management system

In the last decade, marketing automation has become a hot topic for niche publishers. The term really refers to any software platform designed to automate repetitive marketing tasks to increase efficiency and reduce labor. Although this sounds simple enough, it really provides a complex set of opportunities.

The repetitive marketing tasks, pre-programmed so no human action is necessary, is more efficient and more effective because marketing pros can examine multiple factors, think ahead and identify criteria for specific actions. These criteria can be programmed and executed at any time a triggering action is taken. The software will react based on the actions taken by the prospect.

If you are in publishing, you may already be familiar with this through email automation. But the term really applies to any software program.

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At its most basic, it’s a simple if-then kind of functionality. It’s easy to imagine that a subscriber who cancelled their subscription might automatically receive a “we want you back” email. Or, a prospect who landed on your site and clicked “subscribe”, but didn’t complete their purchase, might get that extra nudge to become a customer with a well-timed, well-written piece of marketing copy – sent automatically to all such prospects.

And, as the multiplatform publishing market has continued to evolve, marketing automation tools have evolved as well. Adopting the right tools and strategies can be a significant way to drive the revenue you need for your products.

So, for example, these tools allow you to approach prospects with a product offer just as they are searching for content that aligns with the product – the right offer at the right time. Or, prospects can be sent an email to nurture their interest with personalized content that leads to them becoming your customers later. When used correctly, these efforts can significantly boost revenue by efficiently targeting prospects with specific content and marketing messages.

Mequoda’s marketing automation software: Haven Engage

In a moment I’ll get to Hubspot, Marketo and other general-interest automation systems that brands are using to transform themselves into publishers.

Publishers, on the other hand, require more robust systems like Haven Nexus, our content management system with marketing automation built in.

At Mequoda, our Haven Engage module offers multiplatform publishers a suite of tools that make marketing automation easier to implement. This is one of 19 modules developed specifically for magazine and newsletter publishers. The module works hand-in-hand with our strategy development and is built specifically to implement Mequoda best practices developed over years of working exclusively with publishers. We developed our marketing automation tools around publisher needs—around what we know publishers do, and how we help them with the Mequoda Method.

We also know from experience how most publishers can take advantage of marketing automation tools. Most publishers need a standard set of campaigns such as new subscriber welcome emails, upselling campaigns, subscriber renewals, event promotions, etc. Haven Engage was built with this kind of functionality in mind.

Because Haven Engage is accessed only with the other elements of the Haven CXMS, all the efforts are coordinated seamlessly. You won’t have to worry about how all the pieces will integrate and work together (a significant concern when you buy this type of service a la carte), since ours was built with the functionality in mind.

At its most basic, Haven Engage includes an ad server, Haven Display Ad Manager, but ours is built specifically to support our best practice conversion architecture, which we call 3C Zone Architecture. We also include our text ad server, Haven Text Ad Manager, which allows users to create any number of text ads – more effective than any banner ad, especially for mobile users – and set them up to appear in multiple posts.

Like all marketing automation systems, Haven Engage depends on data to be effective. The Haven Engage Profile Manager allows any authorized user to look up a customer by email address and see all their website activity. They can also check the users status to see their email newsletter subscriptions, shopping cart orders, subscription orders, unsubscribes, and downloads.

In addition, the Haven Dynamic Segmentation Manager allows the operator to push prospects and customers in and out of email segments based on their activity (e.g., “x” amount of page views).

At this point, the Haven Engage Email Message Manager can go to work. The Message Manager is a rules-based engine that works with the Profile Manager and Segmentation Manager to trigger automated email messages to a user based on their behavior on your site. So whatever criteria the publisher sets can feed into the message manager, which will respond by sending a pre-written email to that segment – could be a special offer for a subscription, or an offer for a product that aligns with the content most often read by the prospect.

A similar functionality can be found in the Haven Engage Web Message Manager. When a user meets certain pre-set criteria (e.g., page views or clicking on an offer), the Manager triggers an offer for a free report or white paper.

Other a la carte marketing automation software options

Those not on Haven can look at other providers like HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, or Eloqua. All of these systems have good qualities, but below are some of the things publishers should consider when evaluating their choices.

When evaluating any of these tools, it’s important to remember that they don’t come ready-built with strategy – they only help automate a strategy they assume you’ve already developed. You should spend the time to think through a strategy and have it ready before evaluating the tools. With a strategy in hand, you can better evaluate the pros and cons of each of the tools.

Another limiting factor is the other information systems you already use. Marketing automation tools can’t work without data, and often that data is stored in a CRM, or an ESP or another system that may not integrate well with every marketing automation system. Make sure whatever system you choose can integrate and work easily with your other information systems.

Finally, remember that there is a difference between inbound and outbound marketing. Too many people think of marketing automation’s great outbound tools like email, telemarketing or advertising. But you’ll need to focus on inbound strategies as well that include customers finding you through organic search, social media and referral sources.

When used strategically, marketing automation can be a helpful tool for publishers. You can increase revenue and provide your customers a better experience by sending them the right messages at the right time. Most existing systems require a lot of integration work, which has prevented many publishers from making the investment.

Haven Nexus Is Built with Efficiency in Mind

Haven Nexus CXMS is a state-of-the-art SaaS tool built, owned and maintained by Mequoda to enable all the functionality that multiplatform publishing businesses need to be successful and profitable.

Unlike retrofitted websites with disparate systems that make customer service and reporting more difficult, Haven Nexus gives you a complete, central database that informs your marketing decisions and helps you maximize the lifetime value of each subscriber. We manage all the infrastructure, so you never have to look under the hood.

We’ve even identified the best partners so you don’t have to research software, email, hosting, and other functions on your own, or take stabs in the dark. When you put your system management into the hands of the industry’s only strategy-centric provider, your organization reaps the benefits of stress-free technology, content-focused implementation and ongoing profitability.

Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consult with Mequoda’s founder Don Nicholas to learn more about Haven Nexus.

By Bill Dugan

Senior Vice President

Bill Dugan is Senior Vice President for Mequoda Systems and the Mequoda Systems Content Network which includes more than 60 websites and serves more than seven million daily email subscribers. Bill and his team market more than 200 premium subscription products including magazines, newsletters, memberships and clubs for systems that include the Biblical Archaeology Society, Cabot Wealth Network and University Health News. Bill is a veteran subscription marketer with more than 30 years of experience. Prior to joining Mequoda Systems, he held senior positions at a number of leading subscription marketers including Center for Science and the Public Interest, publishers of Nutrition Action, the world’s largest subscription-based premium health advisory service.

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