Debates about the future of publishing rage on. But no one is confronting the major issue: todayâ€™s publishing MDs are no longer fit for purpose.
The skills required now depend on monetizing the internet, print and new media opportunities. Most pretend to know that, but canâ€™t do it.
Capturing business through these three platforms takes more than editorial format and distribution know-how. The new common requirement is knowledge of direct marketing.
Unless a publishing MD understands how to offer an integrated Internet, new media and print product â€“ and make money from all, he or she wonâ€™t survive. Only direct marketers know how to do that.
Here are five examples:
1. Building lists: most website sign-up forms fail to give an incentive for signing up! The words â€˜join nowâ€™, â€˜create an accountâ€™ or â€˜sign up for free newsletterâ€™ are not very exciting or appealing, are they? Most websites donâ€™t have a DM strategy for capturing names. Most website donâ€™t have an integrated marketing model.
All MDs should know how to capture names
2. Selling to your list: once you have a customer itâ€™s easy to look after them. An autoresponder programme keeps you in contact. A good one costs around $150 a month. There should be a dedicated person working on creative contacting using editorial content, up-grading, up-selling and renewing subscribers. Because your existing audience is where the money is and you increase lifetime values by offering extra products.
All MDs should know about increasing lifetime values
3. Classified ads: most successful internet and new media ads on Facebook and Google sell products through classified advertisements. Classified advertisements are usually the most cost effective way to build new customers and revenue. They are cheap to test and you can get classified ads to work for you quickly.
All MDs should know about classified advertising
4. Email promotions: the top performing websites use regular email promotions to build business from the names they capture. Long copy emails pull way more business than short copy. Yet most of the messages sent out are short on copy and look more like colour leaflets than a personal message. These colour â€˜templatesâ€™ are used because most email marketing providers offer them free of charge, and anyway â€“ they look nice. Yes, but they donâ€™t pull as much response. Good long copy works best because people in the market for your product want to know all about it.
All MDs should know about good copywriting
5. Print issues: many readers want a print product to read. Publishers must learn how to reach them and offer them mailed issues. Many potential customers do not go to newsagents, and most niche publications cannot be found there anyway. You need to reach these people through direct marketing â€“ itâ€™s the only way.
All MDs should know about direct marketing
It is no longer sufficient to relegate these responsibilities to a â€˜marketing departmentâ€™. If marketing is now so important, so integral to success (and everyone agrees it is), then why does a â€˜marketing departmentâ€™ even exist? Why does the â€˜marketing directorâ€™ have to beg for funds?
The marketing people should be running the company.
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As publishers ourselves, we live or die by results. If a promotion doesn’t work, we lose money. If it works we record the results and use it on our own, and our clientsâ€™ websites and publications.
Every issue of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter carries examples of successful marketing.
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