Building Loyalty in a Digital Landscape
Beginning on the journey of user engagement is a good place to start (we talked about this in our last post); but after the fact, how do you build loyalty with your audience? The kind of connection where it’s mutually beneficial and there is joy in each interaction?
In this article, we will walk you through a few of our suggestions on building brand loyalty and the next possible steps you can take after starting to engage your audience. Inspiring your readers to take you as their main source and influence, whether it’s creative, informative, literary or otherwise, is grown by developing trust through each interaction.
We hope some of the path markers below can kick-start some further ideas for you. Acknowledging the different milestones in your customer journey and learning from each interaction is what will drive you forward and empower you to keep adapting to and growing your audience.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS THROUGH CRM
Customer Relationship Management is about opening up the discourse between you and your audience. It has been shown that properly integrating CRM can on average increase revenue by 61% per salesperson and save marketing budgets at least $75,000 per annum. The insights provided from CRM draw a line between marketing and customer service, where the former entices you to the overall idea and ethos of the brand while the latter shows your value in each consumer’s voice. This influences retention, conversion and valuable targeting information for advertisers.
Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, was able to build a subscriber list of 250,000 and influence a revenue of $32 million through advertisements and subscriptions. One of their key strategies is involving each journalist in CRM so they know which articles are driving traffic, conversions and subscriptions. This fine-tunes the content that is being released, influencing more engagement and gives each publisher the power of insights in order to do so.
Using CRM gives the ability to fish out the individual from the audience pool and curate their future experiences with even more detail, developing a reliable experience for each reader where they feel connected to your community.
INVESTING IN THE RIGHT TOPICS
Investing in the right content means having the information to back it up. The importance here is keeping in touch with the data that is in fluctuation based on both internal and external influences. A study in fall of 2014 done by Newscred showed that 62% of millennials feel that online content drives their loyalty to a brand. Creating audience-aware content is one key part to driving conversions that will separate you from other brand voices out there.
Targeting the general demographic of your audience will not provide the personal experience that influences loyalty conversion. With companies like Amazon and Netflix setting high standards of audience understanding through Machine Learning and Personalization, we see this as the direction great content is going. In our previous post we had highlighted the impact choosing your content wisely can have on readers, using a case study of TV Soap Operas in comparison to Feature Films. Through the key insights and data we produced, it was evident that though you may choose a topic based on its current relevance, it may not have the same success with your own audience.
Looking back over your audience’s historic topic performances is key in planning for your upcoming content. Having insights on your audience is a powerful tool for feedback and information that comes with digital publishing, and it can be taken full advantage of to boost your content engagement.
DRIVING SUBSCRIPTIONS EXTERNALLY
Digital media is flourishing in our current climate, with e-paper publishing revenue at $3.01 billion in 2016 and expected to double by 2022. With that little note of positivity, it’s evident that audiences are willing to pay for content that they value.
Influencing subscriptions is a multifaceted topic. The audience journey to conversions has different routes based on each individual’s way of engaging online. For instance, before finding your content they may have already encountered a Twitter post, Ad campaign or newsletter which lead them to you. As a result of these different journeys, the more you spread your reach and learn from the insights provided, the more you can drive subscriptions.
After recent changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, a previously prominent channel for driving subscriptions and traffic, publisher’s have been developing new ways to interact with the platform including Facebook Groups at the forefront. The Times of London has started groups surrounding different points of interest for readers, including First Edition for book enthusiasts, Screen Time for cinephiles and 52 | 48 for discussing Brexit, which has gained an engagement rate of 89% percent per day with over 1,300 members involved. As well as this Facebook is putting it’s own emphasis on groups, developing a dashboard which includes insights, member requests and other features for admins.
Experimenting with different platforms and expanding your reach is great way to drive subscriptions. This means you’re developing a presence in different locations where people communicate online, and seeing which of those communities are successful for retention through insights. You won’t know where your future audience companions are until you’ve reached out to different locations to find them.
Recently digital publishing has been going through a variety of changes, in particular with its political landscape. There is a new-found emphasis on reliable news sources and quality media, and it’s due to this demand that paywall can be a important value factor in your audience journey. As well as this, paywalls are a good way of negating relying on variable ad revenue and for times when readers are blocking ads.
With Google retracting their “First Click Policy” at the end of 2017 the details of how yours functions can be catered to what works for you, introducing paywall to your content doesn’t have to be an across the board cap on what readers can access . Though this is not a new idea, paywalls are having a resurgence with publishers like the New York times reducing their free articles to five to drive subscriptions, and the aforementioned Aftonbladet producing more in-depth reports and content for subscribers, otherwise providing a less detailed version for general consumption.
When thinking about the specifics of your Paywall, take into consideration your individual audience and what kind of structure would work for them. This could take a period of time trialing different types of paywall, perhaps putting a cap on 10 free articles a month, or only releasing specialised content about certain subjects, whatever you choose make sure you trial a few different variations before you lock-down your preferred strategy.
YOU DO YOU
Though using the above tools can be a huge help, it’s the learning from and the experimenting with these techniques that will make the difference. Your brand has its own individual identity with a equally unique reader base, and what has the most impact won’t always be the same.
Using a CRM solution will be beneficial if you are keen to improve reader KPIs, and choosing the right topic doesn’t mean changing your writing or content quality as a journalist, but rather being more informed about what aspects of your work readers enjoy discussing the most.
Using the technical tools available to you, in parallel with the creative work you produce, is similar to navigating the digital landscape with the right map. Though it won’t show you all aspects of what you will experience or how to deal with every situation, it will give you a solid guide to work off and help inform which direction will prove the most successful.