Amid the sweltering heat of an Atlanta Labor Day outdoor book fair, most people would do anything to keep cool, and one area newspaper decided to capitalize on that using a plan that combined audience engagement with popsicles. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution offers a print edition as well as an online edition, but it wasn’t seeing the number of online accounts created that it wanted, so the newspaper set up a booth at the Labor Day book fair with the intent of drawing in new subscribers by giving away free popsicles to those who signed up. The plan worked perfectly, and the newspaper saw a rise in subscriptions.
Why This Worked
Aside from the obvious escape from the heat, this plan worked because it enticed new subscribers through audience engagement. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution went directly to the audience and offered them a value proposition that included something that the audience wanted. Basically, instead of waiting for subscribers to come to them, they went to the subscribers. In any industry, this tactic can be used to promote a brand and/or its products and services, but only if it’s carried out properly.
Offer Something of Value
In the case of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, they offered something of real value, a cold popsicle on a hot summer day, in order to entice passersby to sign up. This means that if your company attempts to use audience engagement to get consumers to act, you’ll need to provide something of real value. Many times, companies think that offering t-shirts and hats will encourage action, but this rarely works. Most people already have enough shirts and hats, so that doesn’t really offer something of value. Instead, you might follow the newspaper’s lead and offer a cup of warm cocoa this winter to people who take the action that you want them to take. Likewise, if you’re a publisher, you could offer a free book to people who take action.
Engaging the Audience
Likewise, as mentioned, the other important piece of the puzzle in audience engagement is just that: engaging the audience. This means going to where your audience is and interacting with them. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution went to a book fair, but a publisher could also go to trade association meetings or work with book stores to promote a service. Likewise, a publisher could also work with a public library to hold an event where it would give out something of value in return for taking action.
The key in all of this, however, is to think critically about how you target your audience for engagement. It won’t do your company any good if you’re participating in audience engagement by giving away free gardening supplies at a motorcycle rally. Sure, there are plenty of bikers who garden, but this is not the core audience you want to engage. With a little bit of planning and research, you’ll be more successful in audience engagement through strategic marketing.