Since implementing a plan to contact customers after they started new subscriptions, the Telegraph Herald has noted an increase in customer satisfaction and retention.
What should you say to a new subscriber? Well, for starters, how about “thank you?”
Mike Newland, circulation and operations director at the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa, USA, implemented an automated subscriber management e-mail programme in 2013. E-mails are timed based on a subscriber’s start or expire date, and messages are versioned based on subscriber’s delivery method (carrier vs. motor route), frequency of delivery, payment method, and rate code information.
These e-mail campaigns are in addition to subscriber touchpoints made through other communication channels. “It’s important that we connect with new subscribers as soon as possible to establish a positive relationship and let them know that we care about their readership,” Newland said.
One day following a scheduled delivery start date, new subscribers receive a “welcome e-mail” that thanks them for subscribing to the Telegraph Herald. The e-mails are personalised and provide the subscriber with the date they should have started receiving delivery of their newspaper.
It also provides a link to an online “verify delivery” form, where subscribers can confirm delivery, report non-delivery, and/or provide comments or questions.
When subscribers submit the online verify delivery form indicating they did not receive delivery as scheduled — or provide comments or questions — an e-mail is immediately sent to customer service staff at the Telegraph Herald for appropriate follow up.
Newland reported: “Following up in a timely manner and addressing the issues that are important to subscribers is key to long-term customer satisfaction and retention. Our subscriber management e-mail campaigns ensure that we are contacting the right customer at the right time with the right message.”
The new subscriber e-mail also features a link to a “Reader’s Guide” PDF, which provides information to help new subscribers get the most from their new subscription. New subscribers also receive information on how to contact the Telegraph Herald’s customer service department by e-mail and phone, including call center hours of operation. All welcome e-mails are sent from the company’s publisher.
Welcome e-mail messages are versioned based on the new subscriber’s payment method and frequency of delivery. Subscribers that are not on an auto-pay programme are provided with a link to sign up for auto pay. The link and subscription options vary based on the subscriber’s frequency of delivery with new subscribers only allowed to renew with auto pay at their current frequency of delivery or upgrade to a higher frequency of delivery.
“Messages are truly one-to-one,” Newland said. “We even pass through available information to our online forms so subscribers don’t have to fill out their contact information that we already have on hand. The easier we make it for subscribers, the better the results we achieve.”
The Telegraph Herald’s new subscriber welcome e-mail campaign has been running since December 2013. Over the past two years, 43% of subscribers have been tracked opening the new subscriber welcome e-mail with 27% clicking though to the online verify delivery form and 21% completing the form.
“E-mail is one of the channels we use to help subscribers get the most out of their subscription to the Telegraph Herald. Our e-mail campaigns are automated so they don’t consume staff time, which helps us get the most out of our available resources,” Newland concluded.
What should you say to a new subscriber? The Telegraph Herald said “thank you” and more!
Scott Stines is president of mass2one™ in Hiawatha, Iowa, USA. He may be reached at email@example.com. This post is part of the Bottom-Line Marketing blog at INMA.org.
The “Bottom-Line Marketing” blog aims to bring together the principles behind marketing with the real-world experiences of newspapers transitioning to newsmedia companies. Our bloggers are some of the leading marketers at the world’s leading newsmedia companies today, most with experiences with packaged goods and brands such as McDonald's and Disney. They will aim to show how marketing – often under-utilised in the news industry – improves the bottom line (even a baby's bottom).