Circulation Professionals Share Online Acquisition Strategies

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NEW YORK -- A panel of three circulation professionals shared strategies for acquiring subscribers online in a session here yesterday during The Circulation Management Conference & Expo at the Hilton.

While the other participants spoke about what they do online in regard to their own publications, Rachel Greenfield, president of RGA LLC, offered general tips for gaining subscribers online.

Things to remember on the Web according to Greenfield include: ensuring that your brand image is consistent online and offline; working on gaining customers on your own site before partnering with other sites; making your site easy to navigate; asking for the subscription and offering several opportunities to subscribe within the site.

She also said, "Test, test, test." Some things Greenfield said should be tested were the location of the subscribe button, online premiums, payment offers, personalization, combination offers and timing.

Heather Luongo, assistant director of online partnerships at Time Inc., said her firm forges online partnerships internally and externally to acquire subscribers online through several kinds of pop-ups, thank-you page cross-sells and other methods.

Her advice was to choose partners with a strong affinity with your publication and to pay partners on a cost-per-acquisition basis only.

Unlike most publications, Harvard Business Review does not offer free content on its Web site and does not ever discount its subscription rate.

"We offer a premium product at a premium price," said Jefferson Flanders, vice president of consumer marketing at Harvard Business School Publishing.

Online marketing consistent with the publication's mission has made it successful in obtaining subscribers online, he said.

Content-based promotions and e-mail acquisition tests have helped build its online subscriptions, Flanders said.

Barrie Atkin, president of Atkin Associates, moderated the panel.

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