In a nutshell

Welcome to our latest subs special, this time looking at all aspects of new subscriber acquisition. All of the insights and opinions come from leading suppliers to the publishing sector and from senior management at UK publishing companies.

By James Evelegh

In a nutshell

Our ‘new subscriber acquisition’ special feature consists of five separate sections:

Key stages

Key performance areas

Organisational structure

In a nutshell

Suppliers Spotlight

We asked our contributors to distil their best advice regarding new subscriber acquisition into a few words:

  • “All roads lead to a website so you should be all over the data and the customer journey, testing and optimising, if you want to improve subscriber acquisition.” Jo Adams, marketing director, New Scientist
  • “Acquisition is the easy bit! Focus on optimising the customer experience at every touchpoint, design feedback loops, learn and iterate.” Angus Chenevix Trench, managing director,
  • “Trust hard numbers over everything else, especially opinions, and that means testing and experimenting.” David Coveney, director, interconnect
  • “Campaigns, planned in advance with realistic KPIs will typically perform with a better ROI than those without.” Mike Halstead, managing director, HH&S
  • “Simplify the technology and also the processes that create friction for customer acquisition teams to leverage data.” Jonathan Harris, founder & CEO, Sub(x)
  • “It’s a numbers game, so send your captivating content to as many as possible, often, and use datawalls / paywalls to encourage them to subscribe, always keeping in mind the long game.” Dan Heffernan, vice president, sales, marketing & product planning, AdvantageCS
  • “Get close and remain as close to your audience as possible. Figure out what they most need to grow and win at their business and then deliver that day in and day out.” Markus Karlsson, CEO & founder, Affino
  • “New subscriber acquisition must be a mixture of many approaches. It is dependent on the title and the audience and what works best for each. The key is to know your market and recruit staff who are inquisitive and ready to try different techniques.” Tracy Larner, head of subscriptions, William Reed Business Media
  • “Anything that makes the customer journey as simple and stress-free as possible. Good (and bad) experiences get passed on to other potential subscribers, so a system geared towards removing any roadblocks to sign-up is key.” Alan Leech, founder & chief architect, CRM Australia
  • “Quality content over back office admin. Give the admin to a software system! :-) Find the right one that works for you.” Patrick Lidstone, managing director, The Engine Shed
  • “Be aggressive in strategies to get traffic to the paywall and subscribe page. Users will rarely subscribe unless you ask them to – as Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.” Graham McDougall, head of audience management, DC Thomson Media
  • “Ensure your content is of the highest quality… and then make sure your customers know it is! Quality is paramount. Deliver something they are not receiving elsewhere. Don’t be scared to charge a sensible amount of money, even if you’re above your competitor’s price point (just BE better than them!). People are willing to pay a premium for something they have been shown the value in time and time again.” Louise McHale, marketing director, ESco
  • “Create a data-driven subscription acquisition strategy focused on maximising total reader revenue.” Michael Mendoza, founder & chief innovation officer, Lineup Systems
  • “My advice would be to understand your different customer segments based on their needs; find out what the main value proposition is that you can offer them, create a simple registration and payment process, track every step of the customer journey, and iterate accordingly.” Andrew Morris, director of client relations, Pelcro
  • “Be curious about your opportunities; this is the first time in my life where human interaction and previously iron clad habits have been broken. Be excited about the chance to break the shackles of efficiency and try at least one new idea in 2022.” Romano Sidoli, head of magazine relations, NewsTeam Group
  • “Produce a quality publication of value to your desired demographic; the content is king to attract (and retain) subscribers.” Duncan Taylor, joint managing director, Air Business Subscriptions
  • “Always understand your new subscriber cost per acquisition numbers in relation to the future recurring revenue lifetime value you anticipate creating.” Julian Thorne, chief customer officer, Dennis
  • “Invest in your newsletters and your subscriptions will be well rewarded.” Anthony White, head of UK publisher development, Passendo
  • “Stop thinking about subscribers and start thinking about paying users.” Dominic Young, CEO & founder, Axate

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.