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Building an audience for your digital magazine is a challenging and time-consuming pursuit. Taking that audience interest and converting it to paid subscriptions, harder still.

It requires significant resource investment - both human and financial - in marketing strategies that on the surface can appear incredibly complex and impossible to replicate. But, it doesn't always have to be that way. At YUDU, we're here to lend a helping hand.

We’ve put together a simple guide to demystify some of the technical jargon and make these marketing strategies more accessible. With the aim of removing the overwhelming feeling many small publishers, specialist publishers and even seasoned marketing professionals face when seeking to increase digital magazine subscriptions.

As always, we welcome feedback and are here to offer support and guidance. If you have any questions about the topics covered, please get in touch!

1: Free samples

The fastest way to grow your audience is to serve new readers with free content that engages and entices them to want more.

Each month, try picking some of your most exciting content from the latest edition to deliver as a free sample teaser. This is a great way to connect with potential subscribers and convert them into paying members.

This can be delivered as a complete article, or a partial content piece, ending in a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wanting more. Below are a few great examples from some of our customers, delivering free samples to help sell premium subscriptions or content. 

The best samples show the magazine in the best light - especially for digital content. Make sure you include rich media content, like video, audio, animation, image slideshows - anything you think will help engage the reader to come back for more.

These samples are also an important tool for remarketing. Adding remarketing tags - from search engines and social media platforms - to your samples lets you create an audience of potential subscribers. These prospective customers can be re-engaged with using personalised ads that appear as they browse your chosen social platforms and websites that form part of their partner display network.

YUDU help publishers by delivering digital magazines to the web and dedicated apps for iOS and Android. If you would like to find out more about delivering interactive samples to the web, please get in touch with the team.

2: Push Notifications

For subscribers of premium content, users want to be kept in the loop with the latest news stories or digital magazine releases. Push notifications are vital for keeping your audience engaged and sharing offers or incentives with new website visitors. There are two types of push notifications you can take advantage of when looking to increase subscriptions.

Mobile App Push Notifications

Mobile app push notifications are messages that pop up on a mobile device. They look like SMS messages and can be sent anytime, even when a user isn't in the app. They're a powerful way to capture attention, deliver a key message/incentive and drive action.

If you're considering an app for delivering your digital magazines, including push notification functionality will certainly help you engage readers and drive subscriptions. At YUDU, the digital magazine apps we build for our publishers give them the ability to send out custom push notifications to their installation base on both iOS and Android apps.

Web Push Notifications

Web push notifications are different to app push notifications. They are delivered via desktop or mobile web browsers, appearing as alert style messages. On desktop, they pop in from the top or bottom corner of the screen. While on mobile, depending on the operating system, they appear in near identical format to app push notifications.

To unlock the power of web push notifications, you need to install web push code on your website. Visitors can then subscribe to receive web push notifications about your digital magazine - delivering clickable messages sent by your website (or digital magazine) to their browser that work across all desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

3: Social Referrals & Social Sharing

At the height of the pandemic, e-commerce sites experienced hyper growth. One of the key drivers of this growth was social referrals.

Asking your readers to share content, and receive a reward or discount, is a smart approach. Your existing readers are likely to know people with a similar interest in the same subject. Your subscriber audience is your best sales advocate.

In our experience, the ability to share pages or set content from your digital magazine is a simple yet powerful tool to drive traffic. If the content is protected, you can divert them to either a free sample, to subscribe, or to purchase a one-off publication (depending on your magazine title, of course!)

4: Remarketing

Remarketing is a powerful strategy within PPC advertising to re-engage customers who’ve interacted with your magazine content.

Remarketing gives you another opportunity to connect with readers, build your audience and sell subscriptions - even after they leave your magazine, website or abandon the purchase of a subscription.

Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising deliver remarketing functionality as part of their platforms. Allowing you to add visitors to your digital magazine, sample content or website to a set audience using third party cookies.

You can then retarget these visitors with personalised adverts across the millions of websites opting into Google and Microsoft's respective display networks.

Build segmented lists to target readers throughout the subscription sign-up phase

An effective strategy within remarketing is to create segmented lists based on what stage a reader is at within the buying phase of a subscription. This will let you optimise and better target individuals for increased conversion.

Within remarketing, you can build individual lists based on the unique pages a customer has visited. Combining these lists, you can create customised audiences which you can target with highly personalised advertising.

Below are three common combinations to segment users and target them in different stages of the buying cycle:

  • All visitors who visited your website or sample, but not the subscription form
  • All visitors who visited the subscription form, but didn’t see the form completion page
  • All visitors who saw the order form completion page

Use dynamic remarketing for hyper relevant advertising

Dynamic remarketing is the most effective way to advertise and re-engage past visitors of your magazine content. By combining your content feed, custom tags, and responsive display ads you create a dynamic advert that will display the magazine subscription, or sample articles the reader has been browsing.

Think of it as shopping for clothes online - to have that same pair of shoes follow you around the internet wearing down your resolve until you finally return and complete the purchase.

5: Drive traffic from search engines

Once you've published your latest online magazine it can be crawled and indexed in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yandex and Baidu.

The first step in driving relevant search traffic to your digital magazine lies in selecting the right keywords to target. Investing time in keyword research allows you to uncover, include, and optimise for the most relevant high volume search terms. Effective keyword research can also be used to inform naming conventions for your key magazine topics, including terms that correlate with increased conversion.

To run an effective keyword strategy, have a look at these tools:

Optimising your metadata

Adding meta tags to the HTML content of your digital magazines is crucial in describing your content to search engines.

Of equal importance, the title tag and meta description will influence how your result is displayed in search engine results. A well optimised title and description will act as a powerful advert for your digital magazine landing pages - helping to deliver increased click-through rates resulting in more traffic from search engines.

A quick trip to will offer you a comprehensive view of metadata you need to optimise for your digital magazine.

Add Schema markup for search result rich snippets offers a shared vocabulary you can add to the HTML markup of your digital magazines. This markup ensures your content can be better understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo!

Also referred to as structured data, Schema markup helps improve your website's appearance in search engines. Allowing you to secure rich snippets in the search results.

Attaining rich snippets in Google can be incredibly beneficial. Ben Goodsell - a leading SEO consultant - reports a rich snippet feature page in Google increased resulting CTR by 300%.

We hope you found these ideas a great way to help you drive subscriptions for your magazine, if you would like to discuss any of the above in more detail, please get in touch with the team.