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This year’s RJI Tech Showcase demonstrated some of the newest innovative media technology resources. One such resource is a new digital membership/customer subscription acquisition service developed and tested by Reynolds Fellow Matt Sokoloff during his fellowship.

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    Although a large number of consumers prefer shopping online, only about one percent of newspaper subscriptions come from online sales, said Matt Sokoloff, who recently wrapped up a fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Matt SokoloffAlthough a large number of consumers prefer shopping online, only about one percent of newspaper subscriptions come from online sales, said Matt Sokoloff, who recently wrapped up a fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

“That’s not consistent with most shops that have an online store and a brick and mortar store,” said Sokoloff. “We should and can be doing more.”

According to Sokoloff, typically about seven to 12 percent of major retailers’ revenue comes from online sales.

LureWanting to come up with a potential solution, Sokoloff and his fellowship team are using the latest e-commerce marketing technology to help news organizations sell more digital subscriptions through a new membership capture platform — Lure.

Sokoloff said newspapers are much like e-commerce companies when their main source of revenue comes from selling a product online. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of revenues typically ends up in a newspapers’ online marketing campaign, he said. Companies such as Netflix, Pandora and Hulu spend about 25 percent of their revenue on marketing and customer acquisition.

Lure shopping cart“When you’re an e-commerce company you have to start acting like one,” he said.

Newspapers have been able to attract existing customers to subscribe online but haven’t drawn in as many new customers.

Sokoloff said news companies have to start implementing the tactics that have proven to work for e-commerce sites, which includes customer acquisition marketing. Customer acquisition is something news publishers have been doing for many years in the offline world.

Lure connections“We have circulation VPs who know exactly how to place a newspaper stand in a grocery store to increase single copy sales,” said Sokoloff. “We know exactly the messaging to send to someone in a direct mail piece to increase subscriptions we need to be doing the exact same thing online.”

Working with newspapers

Lure networkSokoloff and his team are working with a couple of metro newspapers in the U.S. to help them acquire new subscribers. They have been using a handful of strategies they created as part of Lure Membership Services.

  1. Targeted acquisition: Allows newspapers to reach non-paid users through online display ad campaigns.
  2. Smart prospecting: Allows newspapers to target people who are similar to current subscribers.
  3. Cart abandonment: Helps newspapers reach out to those who started a purchase but didn’t finish it.
  4. Complete digital tracking: Tracks email, online, video, social media and ad campaigns to see what is resulting in paid subscriptions.

For more information, contact Sokoloff at matt@luremembership.com or watch a video of his presentation during RJI’s Tech Showcase.

Jennifer Nelson  
   
Senior Information Specialist



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