What core product?

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E-newsletters and webinars are opening up new ways to reach fresh audiences Not so long ago, the typical circulator was responsible for one print publication, and the audience tended to find the magazine on its own. Now, audience developers are dealing with a suite of products. Traditional ways of developing audiences are drying up, and such things as webinars and e-newsletters are becoming the backbone of new audience development. “We need to convert every touch point with the customer,” said Christine Oldenbrook, director of marketing and e-media at Bobit Business Media. “We can't keep using e-mail as our only promotion tool.” For many publishers, it no longer matters if a member of the audience actually subscribes to the core product. At Hanley-Wood Business Media, about half its e-newsletter readers don't subscribe to the related magazine, said Nick Cavnar, VP-circulation. At its publication Remodeling, the e-newsletter expands the total audience to more than 120,000 from the 80,000 qualified print subscribers. “What's most important to us is not that someone signs up for a specific product but that they register for at least one of our information sources and become part of our registered database,” Cavnar said. “Once someone is registered with demographic and contact information, you can decide which specific products to promote to them.” Consequently, Cavnar focuses on getting site visitors to register so the company can identify them and communicate with them going forward rather than trying to convert them into print subscribers. However, other companies see it as crucial that webinar attendees and e-newsletter subscribers sign up for the core product. “These are prospects that are already engaged with one of our products, so cross-selling our other products will have a much higher response,” Oldenbrook said. Kim Clothier, director of audience development at FMA Communications, said her company is always sure to include an opt-in to the e-newsletters on each of the core publication subscription forms. Conversely, there is always a button in the e-newsletter to subscribe to the core product. “On a quarterly basis, I do an e-mail promotion to those e-news subscribers not getting the core pub,” she said. “In addition to providing info briefs and advertising opportunities, the e-newsletters really help drive traffic to our Web site.” Tricia Syed, director of audience engagement and marketing strategy for Everything Channel, a division of United Business Media, said webinars are a critical part of building audiences today. “Webinars represent the current interests of the audience: If they register, we know there is an interest. If they attend, we know there is a serious interest; and, if they listen for an hour and ask questions, we know this is top of mind,” she said. So monitoring webinar activity is very valuable to gaining information about your audience, Syed said. That behavior, which can be seen in e-newsletter use as well, helps Everything Channel decide what it will create and promote. This process usually ends up generating new leads every time a webinar or e-newsletter goes out. Webinars at FMA are typically done purely for lead generation. “We sell the sponsorship, and in return they get the leads,” Clothier said. One of the problems of marketing webinars and e-newsletters is finding a way to attract those that are already part of your audience. Access Intelligence audience developers partner with other media companies, associations and industry-related businesses, said Sarah Garwood, director of audience development. Sometimes AI will exchange advertising space with the other entity. “This gets our message out to a relevant audience and those whom we may not usually capture with traditional internal marketing initiatives,” Garwood said. M
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