Measure online behavior and give subscribers what they want

Pay attention to online behavior and give subscribers what they want

By Sheldon Gilbert, founder and CEO, Proclivity Systems

In their perpetual quests to grow and maintain their customer bases, circulation marketers artfully mix advertising, direct marketing and online marketing to drive subscriptions. Advertising and direct marketing are usually carefully planned, due to the greater costs associated with these tactics. Unfortunately, the low cost of e-mail marketing sometimes causes online campaigns to be put together more haphazardly.

E-mail marketing is an easy and cost-effective way to grow and retain a publication’s subscription base, but it can also hurt as much as it helps. Certain tactics, such as blast e-mails to an entire list, can potentially abuse prospective and current customers — especially if the blasts are about an offer that a large portion of subscribers are not interested in.

The dangers of long-term e-mail abuse are two-fold. If circulation marketers consistently send offers that their subscribers are not interested in, potential customers may tune out, and current customers may drop their subscription. Recouping these lost subscribers comes at a high cost.

In addition, there is also an opportunity cost to each non-optimized e-mail campaign. Instead of sending one offer to the entire list of current or prospective customers, circulation marketers could be sending multiple, alternative offers to highly targeted lists that generate even more ROI. The question is, how can marketers identify which recipients are most likely to respond to which offers?

The answer lies in marrying subscribers’ online behaviors to e-mail marketing campaigns. Behaviors such as search terms, articles read, RSS feed subscriptions and click-through rates all give valuable insight into the actions that subscribers or registrants have taken on a publication’s Web site in relation to what offers they were presented and at what times. These ‘micro-behaviors’ can easily be leveraged by circulation marketing professionals to create highly targeted, effective e-mail campaigns.

By paying attention to how their subscribers and registered users interact with a publication’s Web site, circulation marketers will enjoy greater ROI on their e-mail campaigns and avoid turning off their current subscribers with irrelevant offers.


Sheldon Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Proclivity Systems. For more information on Sheldon Gilbert and Proclivity Systems, visit

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