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Re: FW: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web

To:     "" <>, "" <>
Subject:     Re: FW: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web
From:     Bill Robins <>
Date:     Thu, 14 May 1998 18:30:18 -0400
CC:     Mitch Arnowitz <>, Nancy Swanson <>, Terry Steichen <>
References:     <>

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts, it has been really exciting
to gain so much insightful feedback.  To give some additional
information, in hopes of inspiring more ideas and solutions.  

Our client is focused on news, politics, and culture.  They have been on
the web for close to two years, and although a print version exists, it
is not the focus.  The current subscription number is above 20,000 paid

Site licenses, "community," and off-line acquisition are three threads
that have emerged that I am interested in discussing further.  

Thus far, site licenses have posed a challenge for us.  One hypothesis
is that I do not envision a business being as interested in a site
license to our publication, as they might be in a site license for a
publication like, WSJ or Business Week.  We are in the midst of
approaching universities, regarding site licenses; does anyone know of
any precedence for site licenses and universities? 

In terms of community, there is a discussion space on the magazine;
however, it is not as fruitful as they would hope.  One idea we are
considering as adding classified ads to the pages; WSJ / Economist etc.
(in print) seem to be very successful with this concept.  

The off-line acquisition channels have caused internal debate.  One side
of the argument says that there is a disconnect between mediums, and as
a result we should not advertise on radio or in print.  However the
other side says that, we know geographically that the subscribers are
clustered, what their editorial affinity is, and that studies indicate
heavy internet usage is in addition to heavy media consumption, not in
place of it.  This suggests to me that a targeted NPR campaign would be
a logical execution.  What is the reaction?  Do you think we can do this
alone, or should we do it in conjunction with a metro campaign (in DC)
or a direct mail campaign?

I look forward to your thoughts on these topics.



Tom Billington wrote:
>   Here are two ways to generate revenue for publications.  Just a little
> background:  I worked for eight years at Phillips Publishing and Reader's
> Digest, the world's largest newsletter and magazine publisher respectively.
> 1.  SITE LICENSES.  Some newsletter publishers, particularly in the
> business-to-business space, have found site licenses to be effective.  Site
> licenses are effective for a publisher because the distribution costs are
> very low and the price that can be charged to a single large company is
> often very high, sometimes above $100,000.  That company would then
> distribute the publication to its employees.  The problem is that it takes
> a while for the companies to pay up, since the sum required for the service
> is so high.  This longer-than-usual pay-up period sometimes makes
> publishers nervous.  But overall, once the large companies get over the
> nervousness of large up-front payments, this business model can work well.
> 2.  EDITORIAL.  This second point hits at how do you get subscribers.  This
> is an indirect answer to Bill's question.  The way to sell an existing
> publication- most effectively online or offline is to target very closely
> the essential needs of the customers, meet those information needs and then
> promote that you're meeting those needs.  This may sound obvious, but it's
> important.  In business-to-business newsletters, the audiences typically
> are much smaller than in consumer publications.  So most of the major
> players know each other, talk and schmooze.  If your newsletter can create
> a "buzz" with exclusive information that really provides essential
> information for an executive about trends, competitors, acquisitions, that
> person is bound to subscribe.  The technology becomes secondary, because
> the executive is really interested in the content, whether it be online or
> offline. Since the renewals are the lifeblood of newsletters, as Linda
> points out so well, the editorial really must sell itself.
>   FYI:  I will be speaking about the "Seven Steps to Breakthrough
> Newsletters" on May 31 at the Newsletter Publishers Association conference
> and will touch on some of these issues later this month there.
>   Hope this adds the discussion, Bill, Linda and Amy...
>   Thanks.
> Tom Billington, Advisor
> The Potomac KnowledgeWay's Netpreneur Program
> 1801 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 550
> Reston, VA  20191
> 703/620-8971, ext. 118
> -----Original Message-----
> From:   Linda Kolker []
> Sent:   Wednesday, May 13, 1998 10:36 AM
> To:
> Subject:        Re: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web
> I've had many years' experiencing in working with publishers to get new
> customers. Here is an idea or two for you to think about. Traditional
> newsletter publishers rely 100% on direct mail as their new business
> generator. And they are finding it harder and harder to make direct mail
> work. The economics are a killer. Controlled-circulation (advertising
> supported) pubs who switch to the paid-subscription model have a tough row
> to hoe. List rental is absolutely the key, and the offer has to be well
> structured. And then you have to do renewals--the real money is in the back
> end, the renewals. The newsletter publishers who have been my clients
> started with products on paper and have gone to the Internet subsequently,
> offering a licensing model to subscribers who prefer electronic delivery.
> Most publishers who have a website drive readers to it by promoting the URL
> in the print publications they send out. The Net is also terrific as an
> archive available on a paid basis.
> Motley Fool has been experimenting with print, and may provide an
> instructive model as a business that started out e-based and moved into
> paper subsequently.
> I know this just scratches the surface--it's a complex issue.
> Linda Kolker
> At 09:05 PM 5/12/98 -0400, wrote:
> >AM-
> >
> >NetResponse is an internet consulting and development agency.  One of
> >our clients is in the midst of planning an aggressive customer
> >acquisition campaign.  The client is a web based publication, which
> >recently migrated to a subscription model.
> >
> >Thus far, banner ads have not been a cost effective channel.  I was
> >wondering what experiences, thoughts, or recommendations people had in
> >regards to alternative customer acquisition vehicles.
> >
> >We are looking at list rental for direct email, text ads on email lists,
> >and sponsorships, as well as testing off line advertising mechanisms
> >(direct mail, print, and local NPR).
> >
> >Thank you-
> >Bill Robins
> >
> ____________
> LeapFrog Solutions

Re: FW: AM: Customer Acquisition via the Web, Melissa MacKinnon @ superSonic BOOM

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