Subscriber retention is an underdeveloped opportunity for most of us. At the Albuquerque Journal, we are focusing intently in this area.

Currently, we are developing two ideas with retention in mind: 

  1. A membership vs. subscription model.

  2. Measuring (and initiating) engagement with our readers.

Membership: The word “subscription” suggests one thing — home delivery of a printed newspaper. The term “membership” is relationship based and is more descriptive of the many benefits you’ll receive.

Besides home delivery, as a member, you also receive much more, including: Web access, the digital replica (eJournal), our new rewards programme, newsletters, breaking news alerts, special discounts, and more.

We now find ourselves constantly thinking of new ways to add value for our subscribers. 

Engagement: The more our members engage with us, the more we increase the opportunity for retention. Currently, we are developing an engagement scale.

There are 10 points to be reached. A member is scored, one point for using online customer service, one point for regularly downloading the eJournal, one point for being on EZPay, another point for entering a contest, etc.

By measuring their interaction with us, we can intentionally prompt each member through these activities.

Our newest source for engagement is through our Journal Rewards App. The programme provides members 20% off goods and services with businesses such as IHop, Jiffy Lube, and many smaller local favourites. 

We launched the programme on December 1, 2014. In the first month, we have had more than 3,200 downloads (printed cards are also available for members without a smartphone). 

The new app has many features. The search feature is set up to help members navigate and locate nearby offers based on current location. They can search for nearby deals, deals by category, by business name or basic search words. The map feature includes step-by-step navigation to the business. You can call or visit their Web site from within the app.

The app also records real-time transactional data of the member’s location, time, date, and amount spent. It’s easy to track your savings and leave feedback. We are able to give members a summary of their savings, i.e., “Congratulations, you’ve used Journal Rewards 22 times and saved US$159.56!” This will be a valuable message for us to provide on renewal invoices. 

The app is free to download, but only members can access the discounts by logging in with their newspaper online credentials tied to our circulation system. 

Journal Rewards is WIN, WIN, WIN. The new programme provides promotional and advertising benefits to the business partners. The newspaper is providing a dynamic and low-cost rewards programme to all its members. Most importantly, our members receive something very tangible — savings — they can only get with their newspaper membership.