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Tips and tricks for your digital magazine’s database

Team PaperLit

Any business seeking to take full advantage of the growth opportunities afforded by digital channels should have a database of contacts, customers, partners and, most of all, potential subscribers.

If you only have a system to collect subscribers, then you’re missing out on the many other people that are interested in becoming your paid subscriber but are still on the fence about taking that final step. It’s not unlikely that for every subscriber you have, there are at least five or ten other potential subscribers that are just waiting to be convinced to take that subscription offer. However, the unfortunate reality is that we can’t engage them unless we know them.

To help you get started on this untapped goldmine, let’s take a look at an action plan that you can implement, or at least propose in your next meeting.

Set up a segmented database and a system

To start, you need a place to store your contacts. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet or a sophisticated as a Customer Relationship Management software. There are free options for you to try online, so a simple search should do.

Then, you need a way to classify your contacts. Aside from partners or existing subscribers, you need to classify your potential subscribers into specific “reader profiles” or “personas” – these are fictional representations of your audience that you are interested in targeting. They should provide you with a guide on differentiating your marketing campaigns as well as help you improve your publication.

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At the very least, each profile will need to have some demographics, common preferences, reasons for subscribing (should give you clues as to why they subscribe to you), channels they frequent. These channels can be specific social media platforms, blogs, or even events (think about industry magazines and trade events, for example).

Build the infrastructure and design their journey

Next, you need a way to populate your magazine database and get those potential subscribers to your list of people to engage with.

The first is to get the low-hanging fruit. Put up a newsletter subscription popup or a mini-form across your website. Certainly, have it right in your home page. You can sell it to them like promising to give them access to promotions on your subscriptions while still receiving a free article or a condensed version of the issues every month.

You can also put it in the pricing or subscription page. When they are about to bounce from the page, then the subscribe box can be prompted to appear.

Ideally, there should be a way for the registrations to be automatically recorded in this database. Certain databases or CRMs are even advanced enough to automatically segment new contacts enrolled based on their activity history in your website or certain actions they did in your site (i.e., downloads or views of certain types of content etc).

Gated content

With the easy sells now covered, you can focus on getting those in the harder end of the spectrum. One proven way to be able to attract them to become a part of your magazine database is through gated content.

Gated content is free valuable content; it can be a downloadable white paper, ebook or report, or even a course or a video. However, before a user can access this piece of content, they are asked to provide some information and always, their email address.

They are also informed that they may receive emails in the future, but it will only be about topics that they are interested in and are most likely related to the same topic of the content that they are gaining access to.

Digital publications can do this for some limited time access to the current issue or for free access to old issues from three months back, or ability to access certain areas of your digital magazine app, for example. The point here is to provide the visitor with an attractive enough prize in exchange for allowing us to promote to them in the future.

Last step: nurturing

Finally, you’ll need to “nurture” your digital magazine database contacts into paid subscribers through marketing automation. You can send these email subscribers regular emails containing old articles, or snippets of your current issue. The point is to be able to slowly build trust with your potential subscribers until they are ready to become a paid subscriber.