“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
Jens Henneberg is EVP and editorial director of Bonnier Publications in Denmark. He'll be speaking at the 41st FIPP World Congress, taking place from 9-11 October in London.21st Sep 2017 FIPP News
Francesco Marconi is the strategy manager and automation co-lead at the Associated Press in USA. He'll be speaking at the 41st FIPP World Congress, taking place from 9-11 October in London.18th Sep 2017 FIPP News
Ma-li Yang is president and editor-in-chief of Global Views Magazine in Chinese Taipei. She'll be speaking at the 41st FIPP World Congress, taking place from 9-11 October in London.18th Sep 2017 FIPP News
Mike Federle is president and chief operating officer of Forbes Media. He'll be speaking at the 41st FIPP World Congress, taking place from 9-11 October in London.11th Sep 2017 FIPP News
While the rise of digital has led many publishers to reduce their print offering, Dennis Publishing has continued to invest. Kerin O’Connor, chief executive of The Week at Dennis, explains how it’s found success with a print version of The Week for children – and what it can teach the industry about the future of print…18th Sep 2017 Features
As one of Europe’s leading publishing houses, Gruner + Jahr has been through a period of major transition. Julia Jäkel, CEO, sets out how the business has managed that, and outlines the path for the future…18th Sep 2017 Features
Harvard Business Review last week launched their new bot on Facebook Messenger, building on their success with a similar bot on Slack. The aim is to increase the number people having regular, frequent interactions with HBR to ultimately have them subscribe and/or up loyalty.21st Sep 2017 Features
Respect should be the overarching principle when publishers create native content, says Carla Faria, director of content at The Foundry, Time Inc. UK’s dedicated unit to deliver content-led marketing solutions on behalf of their commercial partners.13th Sep 2017 Features
Ebner Media in Germany employs and implements technology to mix and merge content with ecommerce. It’s been key in the company’s transformation from a print-centric publisher to a content and services company. Dominik Grau, chief content officer, has been driving the content-to-commerce strategy.14th Sep 2017 Features
Visit our Youtube channelFIND OUT MORE
FIPP newsletters allow you to keep up with industry trends, research, training and events across the worldFIND OUT MORE
Get global coverage of your launches, company news and innovationsFIND OUT MORE
What’s happening now, what’s coming next