Using Your Page Footer to Increase Magazine Circulation

Learn how one special-interest consumer publisher increased his magazine circulation with a simple change to the page footer on every page of his print magazine.

Executive Summary

  • Your page footer can be a new source of high quality magazine circulation
  • Like most magazine circulation marketing programs, the details of how you execute the creative can make a big difference to your results
  • Discuss other magazine circulation marketing programs that leverage your print magazine to drive new subscription orders

Sometimes it’s the simple circulation marketing ideas that amaze me the most.

The publisher of a 200,000 circulation gardening magazine launched a simple circulation marketing website to sell subscriptions online about two years ago. As soon as the site was live, he decided to change the footer on every other page of his magazine to display the website URL instead of the name of the magazine. The bottom of the left hand page would continue to include Plants Alive in the footer, while the right hand page would now list the URL:

Within six months, he was generating about 200 orders per month at $19.97 for the bi-monthly magazine. He noted no discernable drop in his insert card order response rate, leading him to believe that the bulk of the online orders were plus business to his magazine circulation efforts.

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Opportunity: Given his initial online circulation marketing success, he decided to put the URL in the footer of every page of the magazine on the bottom of both right and left hand pages. He also decided to bold the URL and bump up the type size in an attempt to further increase website traffic and magazine circulation.

Results: Within 60 days, online orders rose to more than 800 net orders per month and are still trending up every month. He’s now thinking about other ways to use his print magazine to boost magazine circulation and is preparing to test several online circulation marketing programs like pay-per-click (PPC), press releases, search engine optimization (SEO) and link building.

Suggested Discussion Questions

  1. Can you think of other ways to use the pages of his magazine to boost his magazine’s circulation?
  2. Would this approach work as well for other non-magazine information products?
  3. Do you think the first year conversion rates for orders that arrive through the homepage of his website will be better or worse that his direct mail orders?

Note: The details of the case have been modified to protect the identity of the publisher and program. If you’ve got a case study you’d like to share, send me an email. Your privacy is my top concern.


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