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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - April 2022

How publishers can get better at the "welcome experience"

The number of things that publishers should and could optimize is pretty much endless, but one thing that is often overlooked is the welcome experience.

All of us are obviously sending out an email to people when they first subscribe, and it has the standard message of "welcome, as a subscriber, you can now read all the articles ... blah blah blah". I'm guilty of this too, and it's not exactly bad, but it could be made so much better.

The welcome experience should do four things. It should:

  1. Help people get started as a reader.
  2. Highlight and direct them to content relevant to that individual.
  3. Guide people in how to effectively use what you have to offer.
  4. Facilitate getting people to set up apps, newsletters, podcasts and other services that you provide.

But this isn't all. Did you know, for instance, that the welcome experience is also about how you create the flow from subscribing to continuing with what people wanted to do.

And, the welcome experience actually starts before people even subscribe because it's something that we should design as part of the subscription experience.

The reason for this is obvious. Creating a good welcome experience is a very effective way to increase the level of trust, loyalty, and satisfaction early on. These are all elements that will help keep people subscribed for longer. Specifically, it dramatically helps reduce the 'one month churn', when people cancel their subscription only one month after they subscribed.

So, let's talk about all of this in more detail.

12% uplift in retention rates

I want to start this off with an example. Let's take a look at Zeit Online, a German newspaper which has implemented several 'welcome experience tactics' and saw a 12% uplift in retention rates from free trials to full subscribers, which they attribute to 7,000 extra subscribers per year.

They are a part of this year's INMA Global Media Awards, included on the shortlist of finalists, and you can read their entry in full here.

Their problem was that, when people subscribed, there was a very quick drop-off in engagement rates.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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