How digital media companies can keep new subscribers engaged

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digital subscription publishing

In our last article on how to grow digital subscription revenue, we showed you the main principles you must follow to attract more subscribers. Getting more subscribers is just the first step, though. If you really want to thrive online and not just for a month or two but for several years, you have to make sure that your subscribers stay engaged. In this blog post, we will show you some proven techniques to help you with that. Let’s get down to business!

What’s the shortest definition of customer engagement? The essence of keeping customers (or, in our case, subscribers) engaged lies in giving them what they need or want. That’s why every decent customer engagement strategy starts with analytics.

Analyze your target audience and its needs

Start by conducting thorough research. You have to know who you talk to, why, and about what. Every subscriber group comes with specific needs, interests, and questions. And it’s your role to answer them and provide users with the content (or services) they need. In our previous blog post, we mentioned the NYT example. Although it's released in New York, this newspaper has a Canadian, Spanish, and Chinese version. Why? Because people representing these groups constitute a significant part of the NYT subscribers’ base.

It all starts with analytics software. You can begin with Google Analytics – an open-source platform giving you a lot of information concerning your website and the people visiting it. Analyze who visits your website and what articles/subpages are the most popular ones. This way, you will be able to discern what your subscribers are interested in. Secondly, an analytics tool can help you get more information about your users – where they live, how they find out about you, what they do for a living (Facebook Ads offers such knowledge), etc.

Additionally, you should know what your competitors write about and how they try to keep their users engaged. Of course, we don’t encourage you to copy-paste their strategies (although it may sound tempting, it rarely works the way you expect), but to find inspiration.

All of that gives you a great base to create a comprehensive customer engagement strategy. And here’s what such a strategy should include.

Components of a perfect customer engagement strategy

ATTRACTIVE CONTENT

That’s where it all starts. After all, digital media companies are all about publishing and distributing relevant content. Make sure texts, blogs, news, and other pieces of content that you distribute are in-depth, interesting, and relevant. That’s the best way of engaging your subscribers. To achieve that goal, you should:

  1. Work with experienced journalists and writers who will be able to find and cover the most urgent/interesting topics.
  2. Invite highly regarded authors and experts to write guest posts (or give interviews). Big names always attract a lot of attention.
  3. Go beyond your primary market. Look for stories outside your sector or country, and cover those that matter to your current and prospective subscribers.

Last but not least, write and publish content often. There should be something new to read on your website at least once a day. Several times a day if you are a news company. Websites that publish rarely struggle to get truly engaged subscribers.

PERSONALIZATION AND INTELLIGENT ALGORITHMS

No one wants to be treated like a statistical number. You have to recognize your users and show them that you value their presence. It all starts with personalization. Thanks to modern marketing tools and intelligent algorithms, you can personalize almost everything, from product suggestions to articles and posts. Here, analyzing customer behavior is of paramount importance. Suppose your analytics platform shows that a particular user is interested in politics. In that case, you should recommend them similar texts (because it is likely that they will be interested in them, too).

See how that works using push notifications:

tagging-and-return-visits-publishing

DIVERSE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

You should be everywhere where your subscribers are – that’s how the omnichannel model could be summarized. With a presence in many communication channels, it’s much easier to stay in touch with your subscribers and provide them with what they need exactly when they need it. Today, basic communication channels comprise:

  • Social media
  • Web and mobile apps
  • E-mail marketing (newsletters)
  • Push notifications
  • Chats and chatbots
  • RSS feeds, etc.

Undoubtedly, social media is one of the most effective ways of building customer engagement. You can use these platforms to show customers more about your brand, its values, and its activity. If you operate in the digital media sector, you can use your channels to distribute the most important and interesting news, thus keeping customers engaged.

For example, see how The Toronto Star, the biggest newspaper in Canada, uses its Facebook profile to distribute important news. Pay attention to the activity this one post has generated within just eight hours:

publishing-digital-subscription

Additionally, think of mobile apps. They are quick and convenient to use. Everyone carries a smartphone in their pockets, and thanks to mobile push (push notifications distributed via mobile apps), you can stay in touch with subscribers who downloaded such an app. That's what The Wall Street Journal offers:

wall-street-journal-subscribers-engagement

INCENTIVES

More often than not, you will need to encourage your users to stay engaged. In today's dynamic world, they can simply forget about you. That's why you have to remind yourself from time to time, and incentives are just perfect for that. For example, you can provide your subscribers with:

  • Special time-limited offers
  • Discounts and vouchers
  • Promo codes
  • Access to VIP assets

People like to get something extra. If you provide them with attractive benefits from time to time, they will have a positive image of your brand, and that can encourage them to visit your website more often.

DON’T GO OVERBOARD

Lastly, we want to tell you about one thing you shouldn't do. You shouldn't wear out your subscribers. Sure, friendly notifications and discounts can work brilliantly, but it has to be balanced. Don't flood users with your ads and messages because they will leave you in no time. A reminder should be sent no more often than two times a week, depending on a particular user's activity (reminding yourself to a user who visits your website every day is unreasonable, to say the least).

Summary: Keep your subscribers engaged!

To sum up quickly, if you want to create a solid base of engaged subscribers, you should:

  1. Understand their needs and interests and respond to them (use analytics software for that)
  2. Create high-quality content that attracts attention
  3. Use diverse communication channels and stay in touch with your subscribers (but not too often!)
  4. Introduce additional incentives encouraging your target audience to visit your website more often

And if you’re looking for a technique that will help you stay in touch with subscribers, give web and mobile push a try. That’s what we offer here at PushPushGo. Take a look at our use cases in the publishing industry. Of course, that’s not a closed list. If you have a different idea, drop us a line and ask us for details. We are open to creating new, custom-made notifications according to your requirements!


Aleksandra Kozioł

Aleksandra Kozioł

Copywriter @PushPushGo

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