The magazine industry is in a position where the potential for growth is left to be seen by how it adjusts to the ever-changing culture of commerce. Renewing subscriptions has long been an integral part of the success of magazines and other publications. But with fewer physical copies appearing on newsstands for readers to pick up and become loyal subscribers to, the strategies of growing that audience are in need of a change.
More readers are choosing to consume their information through tablets and smartphones and pay with a debit card, which shakes up the tradition of waiting for them to fill out a subscription slip they find in the centerfold of a monthly issue. Here are some tips, some tried and true and others fresh and new, on how to encourage subscription renewals in 2015:
1. Add merchandise
Whether it be a sports team, a band or a professional wrestler, consumers like to show their support of their favorite brands. If publishers are looking for readers to feel more attached to their publications, and, as a result, become subscription holders, they should consider providing them with merchandise. Offering new and recurring subscribers things that they can use in their everyday lives, such as T-shirts and coffee mugs, will give them an opportunity to show that they’re part of an exclusive group and could even serve as a means to advertise.
2. Promote content only accessible by subscribers
At the end of the day, readers turn to magazines to access information. In order to convert readers who only pick up issues on occasion into regular subscribers, certain information should be limited. Dedicated consumers will still be aware that the content exists, but will only have a sample of it and be left wanting to find out more. The goal is that they’ll then register for a subscription to satisfy their curiosity.
3. Include auto-renewals
It’s become more commonplace in recent years, but there are still magazines that look for readers to re-subscribe once or twice a year. This system makes more work for the reader, who may be a fan of the publication, but not want to go through the trouble of repeating the subscription. Instead, offering subscribers an option to pay a month at a time could be seen as much more convenient, especially if the subscription is charged directly to their account once a month through auto-renewals. It takes little to no effort from them and could lead to long-term subscriptions.
4. Include a ‘from readers’ section
Allowing readers to contribute to publications makes them feel like a part of the overall community. Whether it be through comments in an online space or in a “From Readers” section of a magazine, readers take pride knowing their thoughts and opinions are valued. If a publication were to make this opportunity exclusive to subscribers, it may encourage more to consider it so their voices can be heard. But the publication should devote enough time and space to the section for readers to believe that there’s a chance their contribution will be featured.
5. Have a strong social media presence
A lot of publications are just as well-known for their social media presence as they are for their actual content, if not more. Being able to market to today’s content consumer through multiple platforms increases the audience, which should increase the overall number of subscribers. Social media is a great way to promote all aspects of publications, ranging from content to discounts on subscription prices.