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Retention: eight top tips

Estimates vary as to exactly how much, but everyone knows that it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. That is one of the reasons a focus on retention is so important.

By James Evelegh

Retention: eight top tips

In the world of subscriptions, it’s all about retention. That’s what delivers high lifetime value and is where the profits come from.

‘Subscriber retention’ was the subject of our latest subs special (sponsored), just published in the September / October issue of InPublishing magazine. (Not seen it? Join our mailing list and you’ll be given a link to the digital edition.)

Over the course of twenty plus pages, leading experts on subs retention gave us their insights on how publishers can improve their retention rates.

I have picked out eight bits of good advice:

  1. Be quick. The minute a new subscriber joins, they need urgent attention. Access needs to be granted to digital assets immediately and they need confirmation about the subscription they’ve taken out. Importantly, they need to feel good about the purchase they’ve just made.
  2. Communicate regularly during the subscription period. Not too much – that gets irritating – but not so little that they wonder if they’ve been forgotten about. A planned series of communications is vital.
  3. Create simple and frictionless processes. Everything you ask your subscriber to do should be simple, intuitive and frictionless. No one needs hassle. An easy-to-use self-service portal can help deliver this.
  4. Allocate sufficient resource to retention. A successful retention strategy needs to be well-thought through, implemented and constantly reviewed. It won’t happen by magic; it needs resources.
  5. Encourage usage. Subscribers who engage regularly with your title are the ones most likely to renew. Strategies to increase usage and to spot disengaged subscribers are essential.
  6. Personalise all communications. Don’t look at your subscriber base as a homogenous blob who can all be communicated with in exactly the same way. Segment your subscriber file in intelligent ways and tailor your comms accordingly.
  7. Have a plan for cancellations and lapses. People lapse, people cancel. The important thing is to find out why and learn from that, but also to have a set of actions in place to try and turn them around.
  8. Maximise the number of subscribers on auto-renew. They renew in higher numbers and the cost-per-renewal is lower. What more is there to say?

For more on the above and other insights, do check out the special feature. If you follow the advice on offer, I can guarantee that your retention rate will go up.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.