return Home

Moving your audience beyond subscriptions – advice from Dow Jones

Craig Barnwell, head of customer knowledge at Dow Jones, demonstrated how to move an audience to become members from just subscribers at the FIPP World Congress today in Toronto.

Craig Barnwell  ()

“The difference?” He explained: “It’s a relationship, not a transaction,” suggesting magazines should make more than one point of contact with their subscribers a year when they ask for money.

To engage new subscribers Barnwell said he would aim for ten points of contact in the first month. “Don’t force it, but deliver your message persistently.” 

The membership should be “a point of pride,” he said. “Think about it like a club where everyone feels comfortable. Where they all share a common attitude and values.”

Twenty years ago, he said, you could look at somebody reading a newspaper and know a little bit right away about what kind of person they were. With digital, you lose that brand presence – so you have to fight harder to spread your brand.

It’s a challenge to engage audiences today. “We’re all competing for the attention of people who don’t want to give us their attention,” he said.

In particular, it’s Millennials. “We don’t understand them,” he said. “Or how we’re supposed to get them to pay for things.”

But monetising the relationship is key in turning the subscription into a membership. “The product has to be valuable to customers and the value should outweigh the cost,” he said.

Regarding premium content, Barnwell says you have to release some free content to make the paid content seem more worth it.

To combat the challenges, Barnwell focuses on putting the customer first. He said, “they are the only constant we have.”

You have to show you value them, he said. “You can bring in volumes easily, charge US$1 for a month, but you won’t bring in the right people that way. You want to bring in the right people.”

The right people are the ones who are going to stay around.

On average, people check their smart phones 100 times a day, he said. We have about an eight-second attention span.

“If you don’t build the relationship from subscriber to membership, some one else will.”

More like this

Zinio president: Publishers need to think beyond apps

Tom Bureau on the power of special interest

Small magazines make big splashes

  • What to expect as Hearst Magazines' new Airbnbmag hits the streets Chief content officer Joanna Coles discusses the premiere edition of Airbnbmag, its celebration of global community and the future of travel. 22nd May 2017 MagWorld
  • Eight lessons from Cosmopolitan on publishing to Snapchat Discover One of the lessons for Cosmopolitan following the brand’s wildly successful launch on Snapchat Discover just short of 2.5 years ago was that “you have to dig beyond analytics to find out what [users] are saying about your editions and what they really care about”. 22nd May 2017 MagWorld
  • Inside The Business of Fashion In the space of only a decade, The Business of Fashion has grown from a blog to multi-channel business servicing a global professional community in the millions through a website, newsletters, social media, print magazine and membership programme, with clear, diversified revenue model and each stream contributing meaningfully to the overall top line. 23rd May 2017 MagWorld
  • The Immediate Media Co story: from starting up to being acquired by Burda Earlier this month at the PPA Festival, Barry Mcllheney of the UK Publishers Association sat down with Immediate Media Co’s CEO, Tom Bureau, who talked about the journey from starting Immediate to being acquired by German-based publisher, Hubert Burda.  24th May 2017 MagWorld
  • How a 2015 FIPP Rising Stars award winner continues to make her mark Since 2015 when she was one of FIPP and UPM’s three first ever Rising Stars in Global Media winners, Francesca Wilson’s career has followed a rapid upward trajectory. Here she shares what she’s doing now, advice for others making their mark on media, and why Rising Stars is an opportunity for her peers (and top bosses to recognise the work of valuable employees). 19th May 2017 Rising Stars
Go to Full Site