Enews, IBelieve Partner to Promote Online Christian Magazines

IBelieve.com, a Web site geared toward Christians, recently announced an agreement with enews.com that will offer the religious market a virtual newsstand of Christian magazines.

Enews, an online magazine subscription provider, has implemented and will host on its server an Internet-based Magazine Rack on iBelieve's Web site. IBelieve representatives said the Magazine Rack plans to feature more than 900 mostly Christian-focused print publications. The online newsstand aims to feature a broad range of publications, focusing on business and finance, children and family, and Christian living, among other topics.

IBelieve, Grand Rapids, MI, aims to offer its registered base of 540,000 members discounted mail subscriptions on the publications. Registered members will receive information about the subscription offers via any one of iBelieve's e-mail newsletters, iBelieve representatives said.

“We're trying to create a Christian lifestyle site for our members on the Internet,” said Jef Fite, president of iBelieve.com, who said an estimated 45 million U.S. Christians are online. “We want to offer our members not only Christian magazines but other magazines that may be relevant to the Christian market as well.”

Meanwhile, enews, Washington, builds so-called customized Web sites for its clients so that it “replicates the look and feel of the partner site with whom we're working,” said Bambi Kapp, director of strategic partnerships at enews.

“The consumer experience is one of staying on the site they always were on,” she added, “and it looks like added value to the consumer that the site is offering.”

Kapp also said that enews, as it usually does with its clients, plans to work with iBelieve to promote the new offers in its upcoming e-mail marketing campaigns.

IBelieve is set to market the subscription offers beginning in the next month or so via its seven monthly newsletters, in which the topics range from Christian music to Christian women's issues, Fite said. The company plans to feature the magazine subscriptions, along with its other product offerings, as part of its “commerce-oriented” e-mail newsletter, he said.

In addition, Fite reported, iBelieve is set to launch an e-mail marketing campaign dedicated to promoting the different publications. The e-mails will include a hyperlink to allow members to subscribe at the point of contact, he said.

Fite said that registered members, on average, subscribe to at least two newsletters, while 25 percent subscribe to all seven.

IBelieve has partnered with a number of e-mail marketing companies to gather targeted e-mail lists, Fite said. The company, which collects lists of about 100,000 e-mail addresses per partnership, plans to promote the subscription offers to these consumers as well.

Fite reported that iBelieve records about a 10 percent to 15 percent response rate from those outsourced lists.

“That's one of the things that's been encouraging to us,” Fite said. “We've been able to identify lists out there where people will typically provide information about themselves and say they want information about religion and Christianity.

“And we're feeling pretty good about being able to dialogue with these folks on a regular basis,” Fite added.

In addition to the e-mail campaigns, Fite said, iBelieve plans to promote the publication subscriptions on banner ads placed around the Web site and within some of the site's content.

Enews, which has a direct marketing group in its company, aims to help iBelieve on the creative and placement end of the marketing campaigns, Kapp said.

However, enews, which in some of its other partnerships has the right to market to consumers, will not “co-own” the subscribers in its agreement with iBelieve, Kapp said.

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