Boost Circulation With These Digital Marketing Tips!

As a niche magazine publisher, you know your audience. But is your website a subscription-driver? What are some ways to boost circulation?

We interviewed Rebecca Sterner, a digital marketing expert and publishing industry veteran, about digital marketing guidelines for publishers who want to increase their subscriber base.

Niche Media: What’s the most important part of a digital marketing strategy?

Rebecca: “To me, the most critical part of any digital strategy is having a clear direction and buy-in from the top.  If everyone understands the goal – to sell more subscriptions, increase natural search, deliver ad impressions, whatever – it’s so much easier for the team to reach them.  And since digital strategy requires the breaking down of the old traditional silos of advertising, editorial, circulation, production, it becomes even more critical for management to model and encourage a collaborative, risk-taking atmosphere.

Niche Media: Can you give us some real-world examples of publishers who have boosted subscriptions and revenues successfully online?

Rebecca: Lots and lots of good work out there.  August Home Publishing has done a great job of integrating sales of their subscriptions, video products and other ancillary products, especially their woodworking title.  Cook’s Illustrated has done a good job placing a value on their content and giving away just the right amount—and using that content to tempt people to subscribe.

If it takes more than one click from your home page to a subscription landing page, that’s too many.  I have actually seen publishers who require more than a dozen clicks to finally get to a subscription page, including requiring visitors to the website to register before they can order.”

Niche Media: What are some best practices in the digital marketing space?

Rebecca: “When it comes to “best practices” in digital marketing, common sense prevails.  Really pay attention to the user experience and have people outside the office test your promotions. 

  • Strong benefits in the subject line sell better.
  • Landing pages that are pre-populated and just ask for the order and don’t have extraneous information do better than landing pages that don’t.
  • Emails with one central sales message instead of multiple sales messages work better.

These are all things we learned in direct mail a long time ago—it proves that good marketing is good marketing, regardless of which medium it occurs.”

Niche media companies can increase their digital marketing effectiveness by getting buy-in from the top on down, creating a user-friendly website and by having clarified, easy-to-understand messaging. It’s also important to always stay tuned in to what’s working and what’s coming up next on the digital marketing horizon.



Rebecca Sterner  More about Rebecca: Rebecca Sterner is a publishing industry consultant specializing in circulation and audience development and helps publishers become more profitable, sell more subscriptions, and build more effective organizations.



Diana headshot photoAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former sales director and corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast…who sometimes gets carried away.


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