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Seven ways to establish reader loyalty and increase customer profitability

You know the
old adage, “It’s much less expensive to retain an existing customer than
acquire a new one?” Well, it’s never been truer than in today’s economy. It is
critical that publishers establish reader loyalty to retain their subscribers
and continue to find ways to increase the profitability of a customer. There
are innumerable ways to accomplish this, but below I’ve focused on seven ways
that you can boost subscriber loyalty and profitability.

One idea is to
send a pre-issue e-mail that summarizes the contents of the publication. These e-mails
get your subscribers excited about the content for a particular issue. The
e-mail can also contain a viral component, enabling subscribers to forward it
to others who might be interested in the issue’s topics.

Give readers a
“just because.” Subscribers want to know that you appreciate them, so give them
a freemium “just because” they are a valued customer. If you show them you
appreciate their loyalty, they will stay loyal.

To build even
more loyalty, build something else: a killer Web site. We live in a multichannel
world, so it is critical to offer your subscribers a killer site that solicits
interactivity. The site should also offer unique content that the reader does
not get from the magazine. Time is a
perfect example: The site is focused on reporting news, while the print
publication offers insight and analysis to the news.

Make relevant
product offers. Send subscribers product offers that are based on their
transactional history with your publication. You should also provide
cross-sell/combo offers. Getting your readers to subscribe to multiple titles
certainly increases profitability and loyalty. For example, I am a current Runner’s World subscriber and was
offered “The Complete Guide to Running” by Rodale, the publisher of the
magazine. Because it was relevant to me, I bought the book — which I’m sure was
extremely profitable to the publisher. In addition to the book I purchased and
the subscription to Runner’s World, I
also subscribe to Men’s Health,
which, in turn, offered me an exclusive subscription to Best Life — all of which were relevant and all of which I bought.

subscribers why they love you. Resell the benefits of the magazine in your
subscriber communications, and give them a forum to share that love. One way to
encourage that kind of sharing is to give subscribers the opportunity to give
the publication to others with a two-for-one gift offer.

Peter Stein is the director of
business development at Canterbury Graphics Strategic Marketing, a privately
held direct-marketing agency specializing in the strategy, design and
production of direct marketing campaigns. Reach him at [email protected].

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