A Controlled Engagement

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Institutional Investor is a monthly paid-controlled publication which is 95% controlled. With online access available only to paid subscribers, the limitations of a monthly publication cycle and re-qualification for controlled subscription beginning in month eight, the challenge was to engage subscribers to increase retention rates.

With product being delivered just once a month (and no editorial e-mails available) we needed a tool to engage our controlled subscribers. With no controlled marketing presence on the site (so as not to impede paid subscriptions), controlled subscribers had no direct way to communicate with us; so when they moved, changed jobs or wanted to switch to digital they had no clear means of letting us know. In February 2007 II Extra was born.

II Extra is a complimentary e-newsletter, e-mailed free each month (just before the magazine hits desks) to current controlled subscribers of Institutional Investor magazine who have opted-in to receive e-mail communication from us. 

There are two editions of II Extra, for separate international and domestic audiences. Content includes early-release stories from the upcoming edition of Institutional Investor magazine and extra content from our sister publication Alpha. II Extra is a PDF, between eight and 14 pages in length, which is hosted online at www.iimagazine.com. Subscribers to Institutional Investor magazine receive an e-mail each month containing a link to open up the PDF; a reminder e-mail follows three days later to people who didn't open the first e-mail.

With online content protected by digital rights management, the PDF option was chosen to avoid unlocking specific articles, or having to create stubs. The PDF format also enables II Extra to include advertising (house ads and add-ons for print/web advertisers), promote internal events and include external promotions as part of lucrative barter deals.  Events such as anniversaries, major editorial releases and digital tips can also be promoted. Most importantly, a mailbox is available for enquiries along with a customer service section.

As a communication device II Extra has been a phenomenal success, with all manner of enquiries being handled – mostly related to change of contact details — resulting in the increased retention rates we sought: up 10% internationally and 8% domestically. A non-controlled version was subsequently created, going out to paid subscribers, Web registrants and prospects as an add-on for subscribers and as a marketing tool for prospects.

Christina Vasiliadis is the circulation director at Institutional Investor. You may contact her at cvasiliadis@institutionalinvestor.com.

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