Online news publishers are fighting back against drops in advertising revenue during the coronavirus pandemic by shoring up their subscription programs. Using advanced lead acquisition techniques, online news publishers are finding new ways to bring in subscribers during this financially turbulent time.
Smart investments in lead acquisition mean online publishers can grow their email lists without committing significant resources to online advertising and promotions. Many publishers are finding that the lead acquisition techniques used in other industries work equally well for media organizations. With the right A/B testing in place, they can more effectively pitch their newsletters and find better ways to talk about their publications to potential subscribers.
Top Lead Acquisition Techniques
Paid marketing on Facebook is common within the online publishing industry. Sponsored posts are an easy way to increase the number of people who see an article. Thanks to Facebook’s expansive targeting capabilities, online news publishers can get precise in who they’re paying to reach. For example, a publication could send out surveys to learn about the demographics of existing subscribers, and then mirror those demographics in future Facebook promotions.
Digital advertising on Facebook and other platforms is only one step in a multi-step process. Paid Facebook marketing can get articles in front of new readers, but there’s still a hurdle in getting people to sign up for paid subscriptions. Email newsletters are one way to overcome that obstacle, and they are an important part of lead acquisition for online news publishers.
You’ve probably seen newsletter signup overlays on publisher websites. These overlays often appear just as you’re about to scroll down a page or click away from the website. Publishers can also wait to approach visitors about signing up for their newsletters until the visitor has clicked through two or more articles on the site. Targeted lead acquisition strategies might involve creating segmented mailing lists, depending on the reader’s interests. So a visitor who has read sports articles would be encouraged to sign up for a sports-specific newsletter.
Retargeting is another option for publishers who care about the conversion funnel. Visitors who’ve clicked on a paid Facebook post but declined to sign-up for the publisher’s email can be retargeted. Through online advertising, publishers have the ability to identify likely subscribers based on demographics or interests. Readers who fit within certain parameters might see the publisher’s stories in their Facebook news feed with paid ads or other promotions.
Organic vs. Paid Strategies
Lead acquisition campaigns are one of the most popular ways for online news publishers to drive newsletter signups right now. But across the publishing industry, there’s also a concern that visitors who arrive through paid ads might not have the same value as those who arrive organically. Publishers who care about lead acquisition must also focus on organic strategies, and they should consider how the onboarding experience will differ for visitors coming in through the various channels.
Automated welcome emails are an important lead acquisition technique for online news publishers, as well. Segmented lists can make multi-part automated welcome emails more effective. For example, a visitor who signs up for a newsletter through Facebook would receive an initial email email that says, “Thanks for finding us on Facebook.” All new leads should be encouraged to participate in the publication by offering advice or insights into what topics they’d like the publication to cover. Interactive emails with surveys drive engagement and make visitors more likely to join paid membership programs.
While this post has focused primarily on Facebook and email newsletters for lead acquisition, there are plenty more lead acquisition tools for publishers to choose from. Survey your existing subscribers to find out which digital platforms they use most frequently, and then explore ways to find new readers through those platforms.
If you’d like to learn more about the best strategies for growing your subscription and membership programs, reach out to our team of digital publishing experts here at Web Publisher PRO.