Monday, February 15, 2010

The Response Meter

What Can Controlled Circulators Do To Help Revenue?

With more and more companies shutting down their print publications in favor of a strictly digital or online presence, circulators are being asked to promote their company’s products in a variety of new and different ways. In some cases, they’re even asking subscribers to pay up front for products that were once given on a complementary basis. As the shift away from print to online continues, I dare to ask what controlled circulation professionals can do to help drive revenue both directly and indirectly.

The BPA Worldwide/Audit Bureau of Circulation Statement was, and in some cases, still is a vital tool for publishers to generate advertising both on the print and online side of the equation. But with the continuing shift to online media and a limited amount of advertising dollars out there, publishers want even more information about their audiences. Circulation managers and directors need to know the ins and outs of web analytics and how to supply relevant online data about their magazine’s and company’s enewsletters, websites and products. The number of visits, hits, page views and unique visits is just the tip of the iceberg. Lead generation from online ads is crucial. Sales people and their advertisers want to see web traffic to their online ads, but also want demographic information about the people who have clicked on those same ads.

With advertising dollars down, publishers and CEO’s are looking outside the box to find new revenue streams. Whether it’s creating marketing services for their clients (or potential clients), or offering products connected with their industry, publishing and media companies are calling on their circulation and marketing teams to help promote those new paid products and initiatives. Along with online promotion of those services, circulators need to work closely with their fulfillment houses, to not only track subscriber and payment information, but have a fulfillment website that offers one-stop shopping for subscribers and potential buyers.

While social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are good ways to help a company’s brand awareness and possibly generate leads, they are still not a tried-and-true method of obtaining new subscriptions.

Many publishing and media companies are looking to derive more revenue by upgrading from free to paid content from their digital magazines, websites and enewsletters. The switch from free-to-paid poses a lot of challenges. Do you charge for all content or just some? How often do you update information? Will there be audio and video associated with the content? These are just some of the questions, publishers and executives need to solve. If not thought out properly, companies run the risk of losing their subscribers as well as current and potential advertisers.

In these tough times, circulators need to work with their sales, editorial and marketing teams and not be afraid to offer detailed information about subscriber activity and trends that they are seeing across all products. Greater analysis of both print and online data will be crucial in helping upper management make important revenue making decisions going forward.

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