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You need not be big to win at subscriptions

The FIPP World Media Congress is running, virtually, of course, throughout September. James Evelegh logged into one of this week’s sessions, on subs…

By James Evelegh

You need not be big to win at subscriptions
FIPP CEO James Hewes, speaking from the Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames, welcoming delegates to this year's virtual FIPP World Media Congress.

That was the title of one of the FIPP Congress sessions this week, presented by Jan Moberg and Svein-Erik Hole of Norwegian B2B publisher TU Media.

Three years ago, they had zero digital subscribers and now they have 13.5k. The company had no track record in subs and still doesn’t employ a dedicated subs manager, although that is about to change.

So, based on what Jan and Svein-Erik told us, here are my nine tips for building subs from scratch:

  1. Know the real value of your content and establish its key differentiator. Without one, you can’t sell subs.
  2. Articulate what your promise to subscribers will be. It will need to be compelling and you will need to meet / exceed it, always.
  3. Get your editorial team onboard. They are your primary marketing tool. Put simply, you need to make sure what they write, people want to read, so their enthusiastic buy-in is essential.
  4. Build a paywall and put your most valuable content behind it. TU started slowly with two articles a day. In hindsight, they think they should have been more aggressive.
  5. Keep open access to non-premium content. This is your shop window and TU still leave large amounts of content open.
  6. Conduct detailed and continuous analysis of conversions. What types of content covert best? What styles of content / headline convert best? Without this knowledge, you are working in the dark.
  7. Establish habit-forming behaviours. Once you are embedded into your subscribers’ daily routines, you are in an incredibly strong position. TU publishes a popular daily cartoon.
  8. Give subscribers the VIP treatment. Make them feel special. Give them extra, exclusive content, invite them to things, get their feedback, let them influence your future editorial direction.
  9. Know your metrics – Lifetime value is the most important KPI and should drive all aspects of your subs strategy.

(The FIPP World Media Congress is running, virtually, 2-30 September.)