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Tag: sipa

5 Paid Newsletter Best Practices for the Digital Age

These days, when people talk about newsletter best practices, they’re usually referring to free email newsletters, used as a marketing tool to drive inbound traffic to websites. But because some of us are old-time journalists here at Mequoda, we also think fondly of paid newsletters, a classic journalistic form that survives today in the digital era.

Haven CMS Website Wins Top Honors at 2018 SIPA Awards

Your AAA Network, which is powered by our Haven CMS, has seen dramatic increases in website traffic in just its first six months of operations—five million page views to be exact—and recently won the award for Best Product Launch/Relaunch Success at the annual SIPA conference this June.

Bringing Discipline to Chaos

Mequoda is a little unusual as an organization, people tend to feel puzzled about us. Are we a consultancy? Are we a developer? Most often this confusion becomes apparent when we meet one of two types of clients, described below.

Protected: Executive Council Update: 9 Ideas Shared at the Mequoda Summit

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Is It Worth It? An Informative LinkedIn Ads Review for Publishers

The good, the bad, and the ugly (but mostly good) wrapped up in a semi-formal LinkedIn ads review
Advertising your business on social media, particularly one like LinkedIn, is a tricky process. What inspired me to dig into LinkedIn ads, is that so many of our clients are now surfing the social media ad game, and

Mobile Magazines Must Simplify to Solve Problems

Mobile magazines face cascading challenges when it comes to monetization. User behavior, tech headaches, newsstand confusion, and advertising demands can complicate the implementation of a platform that – regardless of any hurdles – simply must figure into your plans in one way or another. At Mequoda, we believe in breaking down that process to ease the transition and maximize your revenue potential. Our Mequoda Method has helped hundreds of mobile magazines not only establish themselves, but also succeed beyond expectations. In a recent article for Publishing Executive, president of PSCS Consulting President Linda Ruth lays out her own plan of attack for mobile magazines … and deploys one of our terms in the process! Let’s start there today.

Increase Your Average Email Open Rate in 20 Easy Steps

In your email marketing system (EMS), there’s a dashboard that gives you your email open rate – the percentage of users who opened an email from you. Typically 16% is an average number for the publishing industry, so if you have anything above, consider your efforts above average.

Unfortunately, on the web, you may find all kinds of fun information about open rates and how inaccurate they can be (like 11% to 35% inaccurate).

Creating the Perfect Subscription Website Portal

Here at Mequoda we can never stress enough the value of a free portal to any subscription website, no matter what archetype it is. It’s the key to driving website traffic, it helps you convert random visitors into email subscribers, and it keeps paid customers engaged with your content.

But just because it’s free to your users doesn’t mean it’s easy to create and maintain. The centerpieces of a portal are your regular, frequently-updated, concise posts. And that’s a style of journalism that few magazine publishers understand.

Allrecipes Expands Digital Publishing Strategy

Meredith’s print magazine Allrecipes is only a month old but expansion is already in the game plan. Bill Mickey writes, “After just one month in print, Allrecipes, the print extension of Meredith’s, plans to boost its rate base another 30 percent from 500,000 copies to 650,000 copies. The increase will take effect with the April 2014 issue.”

Even in the new digital landscape we’re seeing that print has a place and can be successful. It will be interesting to see what other publishers decide to invest more into print publications in the future.

How BLR Recycles Content on Many B2B Platforms

Mequoda has worked with many publishers over the past 10 years. If I were to describe the “average” Mequoda client, it would be a small to medium, independent publisher with one or more titles in narrow consumer or enthusiast niches. Yes, we have worked with huge multinational publishers as well as single-title startups. And, we have also worked with a number of traditional B2B publishers as well.

Designing a Promotional Email: The Spotlight Template

Focus your copy and your customers will focus with you

At Mequoda, we call any promotional email that features a single product a Spotlight.

The idea behind this email is that the publisher is shining a spotlight on one product instead of trying to sell a bunch of things at one time. There are plenty of benefits to featuring one item, for example:

Ed Coburn Joins Mequoda as CSO & Lead Consultant

After three years of single digit revenue growth, I was beginning to wonder if Mequoda Group was a mature company. While we had experienced double-digit growth from our launch in 2004 through 2009, things had certainly settled down.

Search Engine Marketing Consulting: Finding Mr. Right

When it comes to SEM, publishers are very, very special

There are literally hundreds of individuals and companies on the Internet who call themselves a search engine marketing consulting firm. One such firm even promises to get you ranked in the first four spots in Google search results without a website – using YouTube and custom-made videos instead. (It’s an interesting proposition: When Google is taken out of the mix, YouTube is actually the second largest search engine today.)

Of course, you might ask yourself, when you’re looking for the perfect search engine marketing consulting firm: If that company isn’t on Page 1 of Google results, how can they promise that they’ll get me there?

Now Available: Landing Page Inspiration

Look no further than these 11 examples to make your landing pages wildly successful

Whether you’re selling a product or hoping to trade a free report for an email address, your landing page is where you lay it all on the line. Badly written copy, sloppy formatting and lackluster layout lead to death on a page.

But there’s hope for even the newest landing page amateur. Pay scrupulous attention to certain best practices, and you’ll be rolling in dough (or email addresses) in no time.

How to Increase Online Publishing Revenues … Exponentially

Gutenberg is dead. And you will be, too, if you don’t make the transition now to meet the public’s growing demand for digital information.

Fortunately, there is one resource, one unique program that can change the way you, your staff and your entire organization think of the Internet and help you catch up to the future. Mequoda’s Internet Marketing Intensive has guided some of the oldest and most respected publishing companies in the world including Meredith, Rodale, Interweave and more, in growing a single-digit percentage of their revenue from online sources to earning 20%, 30%, 40% of their revenues digitally. And because the demand for digital products is growing exponentially, so will their revenues.

Will yours?

Understanding Mequoda SEO Analytics

Discover how Harvard University uses analytics to gain Google visibility, increase website traffic and sell premium content

Google Analytics should be every online publisher’s best friend … but most don’t have a clue how to use it.

Mequoda Group, a leading consultant to online publishers including The Motley Fool, Consumer Reports, Crain Communications and International Data Group, will be sharing some of its secrets to SEO analytics at the SIPA 29th Annual Digital Publishing and Marketing Institute, Dec. 12-14 in Miami Beach.

SIPA-SIIA Merger: 3 Things to Like

As a 27 year SIPA veteran, I can find a lot to like about the SIPA SIIA merger

Back in 1985, John Wilson, Steve Pepper, and Barrie Martland attended a seminar I was teaching in New York City on magazine economics. By the end of the day the trio convinced me that my company, Lighthouse Software, should join what was then called the Newsletter Publishers Association. Over the years, I’ve published newsletters on marketing, writing, and technology. Every time I started a new company, I joined what’s now called SIPA. Like most publishers, my business has evolved and expanded over the years to include publishing, software, training, consulting and even technology services. Many SIPA members are also my clients. And while my company belongs to a number of publishing trade organizations, SIPA is the one I consider home. While other trade organizations are dominated by larger corporate organizations, SIPA has always been the home of the entrepreneur. Most of my colleagues and SIPA run organizations that are similar in size and scope to my own.

Internet marketing genius now available — Mequoda Summit only!

Mequoda’s Audience Development Summit 2012 is more than just talking heads. Not only do you learn the secrets and strategies of the leaders in Internet marketing in six eye-opening sessions, you get to pick their brains, too!

Take home proven strategies for successful digital publishing, niche marketing, content strategy, marketing digital subscriptions and more. Then ask our speakers anything you want at our Audience Development Roundtable AND the Audience Development Power Panel!

Ed Coburn to Lead Mequoda Advisory Board

It’s with great excitement that I announce that my friend and colleague, Ed Coburn, will be joining Mequoda Group as Executive Director of our reconstituted Mequoda Advisory Board. As many of you know, Ed is publishing director for Harvard Medical School, past president of the Specialized Information Publishers Association, and an active director of numerous nonprofit organizations. Ed is also a close personal friend and someone I’ve come to rely on for good management advice. For a number of years, we’ve attempted to create a member organization inside Mequoda Group that could provide guidance to our executive team and mutual support for each other. While I think we’ve met with some success, I think we can do much better.

Audience Development in the Blood?

The opportunity to pass on skills to your offspring is a wonderful thing.

This summer my son Ryan will be working for us as a social media specialist. His time will be spent promoting our popular and free digital books and reports. In the spirit of practicing what we preach, Ryan will be using our daily blog and social media platforms to alert writers, editors, publishers, and audience development professionals to our presence. It’s possible that our existing staff might spend as much as 20 hours a week engaged in audience development. That level of effort gains us about 500 new subscribers per month. Over the next 90 days, we’ll discover whether doubling our efforts will double the number of new subscribers we generate.

Week in Review: April 16th, 2012 – April 20th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

What to Know About Protecting Your Content

The nuts and bolts of protecting your content

SIPA’s quarterly Memorandums From Counsel are written by the highly esteemed law firm of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, L.L.P., specifically for SIPA. With a new one due to come out shortly, let’s quickly review the Winter 2012 issue (titled The Nuts and Bolts of Protecting Your Content)—in case you missed it. These Memorandums are member benefits, so to see the full text or to receive the next issue, you have to be a member.Topics for the Spring 2012 issue include: (1) Emerging legal trends in social media marketing; (2) tips for handling subpoenas and newsroom searches, and (3) briefs on copyright legislation and Copyright Office fees.

The Value of Making New Technology Part of Your Everyday

Making new technology part of your everyday

Rachel Yeomans, marketing director of social media for Astek—and the person who helps us run our Wednesday noon (Eastern) Twitter Chats (today’s topic: SEO)—is a great study in “what’s happening now.” In one of her recent posts on the Astek blog, she went through her daily routine—and this was not your grandmother’s, or even father’s, or even older sister’s routine. But it is very much worth taking note:

SIPA Member Profile: Stillwell Reveals His Sales Secrets

Ryan Stillwell, Vice President of Sales, Mortgage Success Source, LLC, Holmdel, N.J.

SIPA: How did you get into this business?
RYAN: I was a branch manager for Wells Fargo and Originated loans for GMAC. The GMAC office was shared by a company called The Mortgage Market Guide. I was asked to join the MMG team which was just in its infancy with a couple of employees. We grew the business and the company built up momentum. In 2007, 13,000 people were using us for data. I was responsible for building up our customer service operations and sales departments in-house and over in India. MMG was then sold to UCG which merged it with another product that assisted Loan Officers (Loan Toolbox). This was how MSS was born.

Murphy’s New Approach Will Improve Workplace

Murphy to explain new hiring guide at SIPA 2012

“Ask your employees one important question: would you rather work short-staffed or with someone with a bad attitude?” On a video promoting his new book, Hiring for Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting and Selecting People with Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude, Mark Murphy (pictured left) clasps his hands, looks straight at us and smiles. This is going to be good, we think, and we’re right.

Week in Review: April 9th, 2012 – April 13th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

New Research Shows Value in Longer Subject Lines; Email Copywriting Tips From Twitter Chat

Longer subject lines may be the way to go…on

It may be time for you to get a bit more wordy in your subject lines. New research from Alchemy Worx, a London-based email service provider (ESP), shows that although shorter subject lines may generate higher open rates, longer subject lines—more than 70 characters—“earn a much higher click-to-open rate, an indication of real relevance.”

These Survey Answers Will Help Us Help You

Your survey answers will guide our content decisions

I had a great conversation with Ryan Stillwell yesterday. He is the vice president of sales for Mortgage Success Source, LLC, and will be speaking at SIPA 2012, May 20-22, in Washington, D.C., with Rick Longenecker, another very successful sales executive. (This session on how to find good sales people, train them and work with them should be really valuable.)

Stillwell said that one of the keys to being able to help customers/members is finding out—early on—what they need. “You have to first evaluate what a company’s needs are—or really, let them evaluate their own needs.” This can both save a lot of time and home in on what exactly you can do for them. “Where are you coming up short? What are the top 4 or 5 things that matter to you?” Stillwell asked. “Because I may say social media and you might say that’s not our emphasis right now. So why waste time?”

The Best Reporting Interviews Happen

Getting the most out of your interviews

In yesterday’s member profile, Minal Bopaiah, editor of Subscription Site Insider, spoke of the importance that case studies play in their success. She conducts one every other week, speaking to a head of marketing or CEO for 1-1½ hours on the phone and then writing up the study. “Our subscribers like them because they are seeing exactly how another company—a successful one—operates; they’re pragmatic.”

SIPA Member Profile: Bopaiah Focuses on Her ‘Studies’

Minal Bopaiah, Editor, Subscription Site Insider, Anne Holland Ventures Inc., Newport, R.I.

How did you come to this industry?
Circuitously. I was the international editor for Boston Metro. Then I decided on a different route and got a Masters in psychology. A job at Sesame Street followed that combined my experience in psychology and media, and I really saw the power of what media can do to change people’s minds. So I returned to journalism, where the nonprofit model was becoming much more common. But good intentions are not enough—even nonprofits need to apply some business sense. I’m happy to now work for Subscription Site Insider, which allows me to learn more about the business end of digital publishing while still letting me apply my knowledge of psychology to enhance my writing.

Week in Review: April 2nd, 2012 – April 6th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

What Makes People Open and Subscribe to Emails

Discounts and special offers still draw them in

Why do consumers subscribe to emails from a business or nonprofit? eMarketer reported yesterday on a new survey by the firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) called “10 Facts About Why and How Consumers ‘Like’ and Subscribe.” It is B2C, but there still can be lessons learned for all of us. Here are 10 interesting takeouts:

1. The top reason listed by respondents for subscribing to emails from businesses is “to receive discounts and special offers” (58%). That’s followed by “to take part in a specific promotion” (39%), “I am a customer supporter of the business/nonprofit” (37%), to gain access to exclusive content (26%)—I just did that to read these results—“the desire to stay informed on an ongoing basis” (26%) and “want to support a business/nonprofit I like” (25%).

See How You Do on Our Publishing Quiz…

A challenge from some SIPA 2012 speakers

Take this mid-week quiz concerning speakers at the upcoming SIPA 2012 Conference, May 20-22.

1. Which of these choices is NOT on Jeanne Hopkins’ list of seven indications that your mobile marketing may—ahem—not be so good?
a. Your marketing approach isn’t local
b. You’re looking at the wrong metrics
c. Your website is not mobile-optimized
d. Too many people in your company understand your mobile strategy
Hopkins from Hubspot will be speaking with Jeremy Dempsey from Integrate on Marketing Automation, Monday, May 21, 11 a.m. – noon.

A New Way to View and Judge Paywalls…

A reverse paywall would reward your most loyal readers

John Paton emerged from running the regional Journal-Register newspapers to become the CEO of the enormous MediaNews Group—and he does not like paywalls. He wants audience and more audience—thinking that once that comes, monetization will follow. In a speech last month, he urged the media industry to give up the information gatekeeper model.

SIPA Member Profile: Freer Keeps Spidell All Accounted For

Lynn Freer, President, Spidell Publishing, Inc.®, Anaheim, Calif.

How did you get into this business?
I was doing tax returns but was not an accountant or bookkeeper. I was actually a French literature major in college. Then I started doing some writing and contract work for Bob Spidell who owned the company. The combination of writing and taxes appealed to me—Spidell provides education and research solutions to tax professionals—so I bought the company from him in 1997.

Week in Review: March 26th, 2012 – March 30th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

The Merits of User-Created Content and the ‘Discovery’ of Pinterest

Rodney emphasizes user-created content at SIPA Munich

More than 100 attendees from 13 countries and 24 companies have gathered yesterday through tomorrow for the SIPA Munich Conference. You can follow some of the proceedings on Twitter at #sipamuc. Craig Rodney, managing director, Cerebra Communications, South Africa, delivered a talk earlier today about mobile and social publishing.

‘Hunger Games’ Marketing Plan Should Get Us Thinking

Hunger Games marketing campaign yields vital lessons

“This book is on junior high reading lists, but kids killing kids, even though it’s handled delicately in the film, is a potential perception problem in marketing,” he said.
—from March 18 New York Times article about the marketing of the film The Hunger Games

How to Start Your Own eLearning Program

It May Be Time to Get on the eLearning Curve

According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) 2011 State of the Industry Report, money spent by organizations on learning and development of their employees increased by 13.5% last year. In the U.S. alone, more than $68.5 billion was allocated to external training providers.

SIPA Member Profile: Gale Ushers Company Into New Places

Tom Gale, President, Gale Media, Boulder, Colo. and Publisher, Modern Distribution Management

What takes up most of your time these days?
I’ve spent most of the past year and a half integrating the acquisition of a market research company that focuses on industrial markets and wholesale distribution channels—the audience of our newsletter and website. This is our next step in transitioning from a 45-year-old B2B newsletter into a publisher of industry research, software and market analytic tools, where we are the primary source for qualitative and quantitative research for wholesale distribution executives. Beyond that, I spend my time moderating webcast events and building long-term sponsorship and advertising relationships. I’ve handed off most content roles to a great editorial team, but continue to speak at industry events to advance our cause. Occasionally I try to run a company, but I’ve had better luck hiring the right people who make that a small part of my job description.

Six Clear Messages for Our Digital Future

Six valuable messages and the sessions to cover them

The keynotes, sessions and speakers for SIPA 2012, May 20-22 in Washington, D.C.have all been carefully selected to deliver the most relevant and timely information possible. Here are some excellent tips from speakers pertaining to their sessions or keynotes.

1. “There is going to be a moment when ebooks are about $50 apiece. That is the magic number and when we reach that point there is going to be a new, [more] huge than there is today, reading explosion… This year products will be coming out that have beautiful color video refresh rates and are reflective. That is the next barrier. We have to get away from the glare problem on these devices. So you get the glare problem solved, easier to read, greater ability to reproduce fonts as they are supposed to be reproduced and at a lower price point and then the question is why would I want to read that on paper.”

Two Ways to Get Smarter Here and Abroad

Seminars by banks prove popular, and bilingualism helps us think better

Small businesses in the U.K. have found an ally of late in banks. The New York Times reported yesterday of a “ThriveOnline” seminar held by Barclays “to explain how best to buy Google ads and create a profile on Facebook to promote their companies.” The main goal is to “encourage small and medium-size businesses to borrow more.” Apparently there have been hundreds of seminars held by banks in the last couple years for this purpose. With the Olympics coming up this summer in London, the hope is that everyone can profit from it.

Marketing Ideas You Can Implement Today

A Refresher Course in Good Marketing Ideas

Send email from a person, not a company. Check search traffic when choosing blog titles. Include brief surveys on thank-you pages. These are just three of 20 “Low-Hanging Marketing Fruit” listed in an excellent article on Hubspot Blog last week. It’s a good refresher course for some things we may know but may not always remember to do. Let’s go through a few of them—adding some comments more specific to SIPA members.

Members Reveal Their Most Successful Current Initiative

Eight SIPA members tell what the single-most successful thing their company is doing now

1. More than one portfolio company I’m working with today is having success using the same process: 1) Identify very specific unmet information needs of a very specific audience, horizontal or vertical. 2) Discard any information need which cannot be addressed using scalable technology. 3) Take the surviving concepts and productize them as online solutions using the techniques discussed at every SIPA meeting. I call this process “big data meets B2B.”
—Tim Baskerville, Media Service Group

Week in Review: March 12th, 2012 – March 16th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

‘Social’ CEOs Emphasize User Experience

Ides of March is good time to evaluate role of ‘friends’

Is it still all about who our friends are? On this fateful day many, many years ago, Julius Caesar thought he knew who his friends were—turned out Brutus wasn’t such a good one after all. Facebook keeps rolling along with the activity of our “friends” as its major engagement tool. I was able to catch The Social Network again this week—it’s still an impressive tale to go from putting up a box for your relationship status to where they are today.

Thinking ‘Young’ Does Have Its Benefits

The Young and the Rest of Us

As SIPA approaches our 1,000th Linkedin group member this week, we were wondering how to mark the occasion and I came across this from the blog Online Dominance:

“Rewarding is most effective as a retention tool, and not an acquisition tool, Britton says. [That’s Matt Britton, founder and CEO of Millennial generation marketing agency Mr. Youth.] Offering a prize to your 200th follower might get you a few more fans, but they’re only there for the free stuff and not because they’re huge fans of your business. On the other hand, rewarding your existing fans is a great way to bolster their connection to your company.”

SIPA Member Profile: Pines Manages His Business and His Lists

How did you get into this field?

Mitch [Eisen, the CTO,] and I met on our first jobs after college. Then about 6 or 7 years later in 1999 we were both between things and he called me to see if we wanted to do something together around the Internet. Our first product was not email-centric; it was an online contest using a TV station’s programming. It was called The Prediction Machine. (We may be dusting it off now.)…After a while, it was hard selling it though—kind of a one off. So in about 2000-2001, we had a 2-day meeting to find something else. We had been sending emails out twice a week for this and decided to try to expand on that.

Week in Review: March 5th, 2012 – March 9th, 2012

Catch up on the Mequoda Daily’s blog posts for this past week

12 Tips for Using Video and Examples to Watch

TweetChat Yields a Screenful of Video Tips

It’s revealing no secrets to say that video has become a huge tool for engaging and selling on the Internet. How many of us start and end each day looking at various posted videos? Yet how many of us use video to help engage and market on our company’s websites? Clearly not enough.

Video was the subject of SIPA’s lively, weekly Wednesday TweetChat yesterday. Many thanks to Lindsay Konzak and Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier of MDM News/Gale Media for their extensive participation. Check out one of their very engaging videos here. Also participating was Eleanor Meredith of Irving Levin Associates; see one of their excellent interview videos here. And another participant was Lucy Swedberg of Wellesley Information Services. Watch their well-done video of a story on toy manufacturer Hasbro.