Audience Engagement: Easing Your Audience Into Conversion, And Nurturing the Relationship For Retention

raised_hand_engagement

There are various ways of engaging audiences through your content, from getting them to visit and browse your website, to actually making a purchase, and so much in between. There are also multiple reasons why engagement is important not only in the beginning of your relationship with the reader but also after they complete a transaction. 

The initial goal of engagement is to entice the user to make a purchase or to convert them into a paying customer. After that, engagement is just as important, if not more so, in order to maintain the relationship and retain the user as a recurring customer. 

Conversion

Getting in front of your audience isn’t enough. Once you’ve reached your target audience it’s critical to create opportunities for them to interact with you and your content and take steps to making your relationship more meaningful. It can’t simply be two options - buy or get out

Do everything you can to keep your readers coming back. Returning visitors will complete a purchase about 75% more than a new visitor would. 

Engagement chart 1

Source: Brilliance

Give your audience the opportunity to ease into the transaction by responding to their behavior, being easy to find and demonstrating value. Ways to do this include:

Optimize your coverage

 With user analytics at your fingertips, it’s easy to determine what content resonates with your audience, and what content leads to conversions. Take a look at your content coverage and optimize your strategy based on what your audience is telling you through conversions, like the Seattle Times and Business Insider have done

Communication and distribution

Don’t expect your audience to find you, get in front of them and open lines of communication through:

  • Personalized newsletters, with content relevant to the reader’s previous visits or any preferences they express in their journey. Take a look how The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. successfully prioritized newsletters and the frequency of communication in their strategy.
  • Connecting on social media so you can reach them via multiple channels. Organic connections obviously cost you a lot less and are more genuine.
  • Retargeting visitors to your website with relevant content. If you get them to come back, they will convert at a much higher rate.
  • Comments section at the bottom of your articles. It’s important to have a dialog with your audience (to a reasonable extent), rather than talking at them.
  • Making them part of the story through interviews, surveys and polls. It’s a way for the audience to contribute to the content, making it much more relevant to them, easier to relate to and engage with. 

Lower commitment offers

With subscriptions being the ultimate goal for most publishers, and with readers typically being unwilling to jump straight into a long term commitment, there is a need for lower commitment offers which ease the reader into subscribing. These offers can be seen as a form or engagement or, of course, a lower level conversion. The data across the LaterPay network shows that 13.2% of subscribers transact with a lower commitment purchase before becoming a long term subscriber. 

Engagement chart 2

Source: LaterPay 

* Data from publishers offering both subscriptions and at least one lower commitment model

** Data across all-time and all-regions 

Find out if LaterPay can be the right solution to help you convert your audience with lower commitment offers. Get in touch.

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Retention

You are only half way to success when you’ve finally converted a visitor into a customer/subscriber. It’s critical to actively engage your customers to ensure retention. 

High churn rates are a major pain point for many publishers today. The churn rates for subscription publishers are 10 percent or higher. “A churn rate of 10 percent a month effectively means you lose (the equivalent) of all of your customers every 10 months. Those businesses are not sustainable. Churn is a reaction to your value proposition after people have tried your service. If it is high, you have a problem with the service, not with your targeting.”  - David Pakman, Venrock

It’s proven to be much easier to retain a customer than attract a new one. So a retention strategy is something that every publisher needs to develop with as much (if not more) diligence  as for their acquisition strategy. Some engagement tactics to consider in developing and optimizing retention activities include:

Effective on-boarding

The period after the initial purchase is likely the time when the customer will engage the most - not coincidentally, this is also the period when churn rates are the highest. Make sure customers have a proper walk-through of what they signed up for and know how to access everything you have to offer. Now is the best opportunity for them to provide you with any information about their interests and preferences via surveys or filling out an account profile. Use this information to customize their experience and your communication with them.

Stay in constant and consistent contact

Apropos communication… regular communication is key to keeping your customers using your service. Make sure the content that is most relevant to them gets in front of them in a timely fashion and without them having to find it. Use different channels, as you did in the conversion stage, to reach your current customer. Use what you know about them to customize messaging and the content you suggest.

Build/maintain value

In addition to what they already expect and agreed to pay for, make sure you keep your subscribers informed about any new features, sections or areas of coverage you develop. Keep reminding them that their decision to subscribe to your publication was the right one and that they are getting a return on their investment. Make sure they are aware of any exclusive content you offer that they can’t find anywhere else and encourage usage throughout your relationship. 

Set pricing to incentivize renewals

Be less like traditional cable companies and more like Netflix. Cable companies are experiencing high churn rates and they are jacking up prices on renewals. Or is it the other way around - they are jacking up prices and in turn losing customers? Either way, your customers should not pay a higher price for their loyalty. Yes, Netflix raised prices across the board recently, but they didn’t just target renewals with the price increase. Additionally they added value with much more original content, which justified the monthly increase. It’s understood that we can’t exactly compare publishing to Netflix, however publishing gets lumped in the media subscription bucket, so there’s a need to stay competitive and have a healthy perspective on who we are competing against for eyeballs and dollars. 

The bottom line is that  low introductory rates and high renewal rates discourage loyalty and leave the customer feeling unappreciated. If you are planning to increase prices, it better come with value and not burden only your loyal customers. 

When you do experience churn, price breaks are one effective way to get customers to come back. If discounting is not in your strategy, it might be worth experimenting with lower commitment offers to attract your audience back to paying for your premium content. 

Find out if LaterPay can be the right solution to help you reduce churn with lower commitment offers. Get in touch.

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