Cross-Channel Marketing Strategies for News Publishers

Cross-channel marketing pays for itself, as long as you’re using the right strategies and techniques.

Cross-channel marketing isn’t just for the retail and ecommerce industries. News publishers can use the same strategies to drive up their subscription rates and more effectively engage their core audiences.

According to a new study of media marketing efforts by Iterable, a growth marketing platform, the majority of news publishers are missing the mark when it comes to using cross-channel marketing. A solid 20% of news outlets aren’t taking advantage of cross-channel messaging at all. Of the 80% of publishers that are taking advantage, only 13% are using the latest web push notifications to engage with readers. Just one quarter of these publishers are sending three or more push notifications each day.

What Is Cross-Channel Marketing?

Cross-channel marketing is not a new strategy, although the news industry has only started catching on in the past few years. Given how connected today’s consumers are, it only makes sense that marketers would want to engage audiences across multiple platforms. Cross-channel marketing means offering a seamless experience across multiple channels, including websites, email, social media, text or SMS, and voice technology.

Cross-channel has traditionally been used in consumer-facing industries, such as retail and ecommerce. A basic example is the common retail practice of emailing shoppers coupons for specific products based on their search histories on the retailer’s website or mobile apps. Businesses are guiding their customers through the purchasing funnel and providing seamless brand experiences.

The fundamentals stay the same in the news publishing world, even if the specific techniques look a little different. Email, mobile, and web push notifications are at the core. It’s not uncommon for news publishers to relate to consumers through social media and other digital communication channels, as well. Many news outlets, including The New York Times and CNN, even offer ways for consumers to control their own experiences with the news.

When publishers use cross-channel communication, they give their readers more ways to control how they experience the news, and that should ideally leave readers feeling empowered, informed, and ready to sign up for paid subscriptions.

Why Aren’t More Publishers Using Cross-Channel Marketing?

In Iterable’s study, researchers found that news publishers often face “technological limitations,” making it difficult to take full advantage of cross-channel marketing. Even those publications that do communicate with subscribers across multiple channels are having trouble taking their strategies to the next level by personalizing the messaging for individual readers. Online publishers that take a DIY approach to website management tend to have the hardest time integrating cross-channel marketing strategies into their workflows. Publishers that work with web development firms are more likely to communicate with readers across multiple digital platforms.

Among all of the strategies that publishers have at their fingertips, lifecycle marketing is one of the least utilized. According to Iterable’s research, welcome campaigns, promotional campaigns, and cart abandonment campaigns account for less than 10% of all emails sent to readers in the news media industry.

Cross-channel marketing makes the most sense for publishers with paywalls and subscription programs. As more publishers add paywalls to their websites, it stands to reason that these marketing strategies will grow in popularity, as well.

How Can News Publishers Get Involved?

Here are three examples of ways that news publishers can—and should—use cross-channel marketing to connect with their readers and drive subscriber counts.

1. Newsletters – Publishers should create and curate newsletters based on their readers’ unique interests and news consumption habits.

2. Welcome Campaigns – Welcome campaigns are an underutilized marketing tool in the media industry. Welcome emails generate 5x more clicks than standard marketing campaigns, so failing to send these messages is a missed opportunity.

3. Utilizing ESPs – Publishers can lean on their email service providers to add more personalization and data integration into their email marketing campaigns.

Has your publication tried cross-channel marketing yet? To learn more about integrating these techniques into your existing email marketing and social media strategies, contact us here at Web Publisher PRO.