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New subscribers: Digital Marketing strategy for Publishers

Team PaperLit

In the publishing industry, what can help differentiate your offering is implementing new technologies and tactics that help you get closer to your audience.

1. Customer profiling, database and journeys

The start of any digital marketing strategy begins with understanding your customers. The first step is to build customer profiles that include their common demographics, browsing habits, content preferences – basically everything you need to be able to tailor your digital marketing campaigns.

These profiles are formed ideally through surveys or interviews but can also come from your customer-facing team. You should then have a subscriber management system and/or a customer relationship management solution (CRM). The point is to have a database system that covers both potential subscribers that you will focus your outreach campaigns to, and your existing subscriber base to whom you will continue to delight through your content, promotions, loyalty rewards and the like.

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With profiles and databases covered, you can then design customer journeys, or the path it takes for potential subscribers to find their way and be convinced into becoming a paid subscriber. It can be something like so:

Profile: DIY Gary > Organic Search for “easy DIY zen garden” > Clicks our free website blog on “10 Steps to Building an Easy DIY Zen Garden” > Pop-up DIY tips newsletter subscription > register in the CRM for marketing automation campaign

Engage your readers like never before. All the tactics to keep your leadership in the digital magazine era

2. Have something to offer digital audiences

With a deeper understanding of your subscribers and potential readers, you then need to have something to entice your digital audience. The best way is to offer a free glimpse into what you have to offer. Here are some ideas:

  • A blog section
  • Digests or clipped articles from current issues
  • Special reports or supplements
  • Free issue/subscription promotions
  • Limited access sections in the digital magazine app
  • Time-limited email series
  • Access to old issues

The challenge when implementing these is to provide enough value for your potential audience to not just have an idea of what they could obtain once they are full subscribers, but to not give them too much that your actual subscription becomes less worth it because of all the free content you are giving away.

You still need to create a clear distinction on the greater added value of your digital magazine subscription.



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A digital magazine allows you to reach your readers in the most convenient way for them. You don’t know where to start? Don’t worry and use the free resources that we’ve written for you!

3. Digital marketing activities to undertake

messenger app

Knowing your audience as well as some ideas on what to entice your digital audiences, you now have a better idea of what digital marketing activities you should implement.

The first task is to come up with a content strategy for your content marketing activities. For those who are unfamiliar, content marketing is a kind of marketing focused on using content production and distribution to attract audiences and entice them to become customers.

What do your readers think about podcasts? Perhaps your magazine is educational, so a free online course (either through an email course series or a video course) would be very effective in drawing audiences. Or maybe they really like long-form articles. These are the kinds of thoughts that will pop up when coming up with a content strategy.

You also need to decide on your marketing channels. For sure, you need to have a website and social media presence. The difference from publisher to publisher, magazine to magazine, is what are the keywords and topic areas to focus on through search engine optimisation and what social media platform to engage your audiences in.

Most likely, the website will serve as your delivery channel for your content such as blogs, landing pages for your promotions or to house forms that will collect your email newsletter subscriptions. Social media channels will be a way for you to engage with both current subscribers and promote your content to potential subscribers. For these two activities, you’ll be needing a social media marketing or management tool and a content management system.

Then, you have email marketing. Using the contacts you’ve gathered using your content and promotions as a magnet and your CRM as your database, you can schedule a chain of automated but tailored emails to these potential subscribers. Here, you’ll be looking for a marketing automation software solution.

Finally, you should also look at activities revolving around your digital magazine or publication app. Well-crafted and timely push notifications help ensure retention and continuous engagement of your readers. You should also consider your app store optimisation and advertising in your digital marketing activities.


content strategy

4. Data-driven strategy

So many digital marketing activities to keep track of! How can we ever stay on top of all of it? The answer is data, or more specifically, analytics. You have your grand strategy, but in the end, what drives you to move forward, adjust here and there, or completely abandon something is data.

Analytics will show you how effective each digital marketing action is. But that is as long as you are tracking them. To do this, you need analytics or business intelligence. What this provides is typically a dashboard where you can see in a glance the overall status of your marketing activities. This can be click rates from social media going into your website, conversion rates in your landing pages and page views. The sophisticated solutions even show you how each activity has contributed in delivering you new subscribers or customers.

Data analytics can be used not just in your marketing activities to potential subscribers, but it can also help you improve the quality of your digital magazine or publication over time. All you have to do is see the views, read time and engagements among your articles and patterns will soon emerge.

Digital magazines data can unveil your audience preferences through patterns and insights


5. The right technological partner

What does selecting the right digital publishing platform have to do with my marketing? – you may wonder.

Taking a big picture view of a publishing business, from an operational standpoint, all aspects of your business have to be in synchrony – not necessarily for it to function, but to be in its optimal, efficient state. If you have the right digital publishing platform, infrastructure and support team that has a stake in your success and is executing in line with your marketing goals, and if you have a winning marketing strategy in place, then it’s a recipe for success.

Paperlit, specialising in the digital publishing, understands the needs of a modern digital publishing organisation. That’s why it has a special enterprise tier service where Paperlit’s role becomes something closer to an outsourced service than a simple software supplier.