Overview of this campaign
Tagesspiegel is Berlin’s biggest newspaper. Five years ago Tagesspiegel’s editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt started ‘Tagesspiegel Checkpoint’: Every morning at 6 am, it informs about Berlin's politics, economy and society. Whether it's chaos in traffic, housing market madness or the beautiful anecdotes of this city – the Checkpoint is always close at hand. The newsletter quickly became a tremendous success among Berliners with 100.000 highly loyal readers who will send hundreds of emails every week with their input to our editors. It also became a must-read for everyone involved in local politics.
Since its launch the newsletter has been successfully monetized with advertising. While the absolute number of readers is lower than for any news site, we knew that we have a highly loyal readership. Reader surveys showed us that the Checkpoint has the highest customer satisfaction among all of our products. In 2019 we therefore decided to introduce a digital subscription scheme.
The challenge: There is no paid newsletter in Germany and our news site Tagesspiegel.de is still free (we will introduce a paywall in 2020). Also our competitors in Berlin are still free. We decided to base the strategy on two pillars: (i) exclusive content and (ii) leveraging the community. For pillar (i) exclusive content we decided to split the newsletter into a free version which is shorter and a subscriber version with all relevant information from Berlin’s politics and service information. Additionally we introduced a subscriber-only weekend edition of the newsletter and a website with archive and interactive maps. For pilar (ii) we started community events for subscribers and emphasized the idea of support. “Berlin needs good journalism” became one of our key-claims.
Results for this campaign
What are the success factors and what did we learn?
People trust people: We put our editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt and his team in the centre of our marketing campaign. You will see Lorenz on the landingpage, it is Lorenz who signs the marketing emails and it will be the editors who explain the new subscription and why it is worthwhile to signup
Community events: We started a running group, talks with politicians and exclusive cinema screenings for our readers to meet other readers and our editors.
Fair pricing: The subscription costs 6,99 € per month or 5 € per month for annual subscribers (60 € in total). ? of the people take the annual subscription.
Humour: We created stickers and banners with funny lines and insider jokes for Berliners (e.g. “At least good journalism is still affordable in Berlin” which makes a reference to the rising rental prices. We communicate the price in reference to typical products from Berlin “5 € per month, this is cheaper than a Kebab at Mustafa’s”)
Persistence: There is hardly any week without a campaign. One week you can win tickets to a football match when you sign up, the next week new subscribers get a Checkpoint branded coffee cup. When “Fridays for Future” was in Berlin, we started a special offer “Sign up and we compensate 300 KG CO2”
Support: In AB-tests we realized that “support journalism for Berlin” was the best converting line. We emphasized this idea in all our marketing materials