Trade publications are embracing social media and engaging readers on multiple fronts. However, getting followers, fans, and blog readers is only part of the challenge. How do you convert these followers, fans, and readers into paying subscribers of your trade publication?
Start by ensuring that your website communicates professionalism. That doesn’t mean you can’t be warm and welcoming, but it does mean that your site’s design and content should say, ”We’re professionals in a trade. You’re professionals in this trade, too. We want to help you be a more successful and influential professional, and here’s how.” Within that overarching theme, there are numerous things you can do to help nudge your visitors and social followers toward subscribing to your publication. Here are five of them.
1. Cover The ”Givens”
There are a few important concepts that you neglect at your peril. The first is content quality. Without high quality, original content, you’re sunk. The other things things that visitors to your website should be able to take for granted are:
- That they can get to know you
- That they will quickly come to like you
- That they can trust you
Cover these things and you set the stage for conversion from visitor to subscriber.
2. Make Content Easy to Find
Make your site’s free and paid content easy to discover with an easy-to-navigate web design and properly-labeled content. Don’t hide your subscription options in the depths of your site, but make them prominent. Put subscription links in several places on your site without bombarding readers with them. You could put a subscription link at the bottom of each blog post, for example, in addition to having one prominently placed on your site’s sidebar. Don’t make visitors have to search for the proper link to click when they’re ready to subscribe.
3. Make Subscribing Easy
Once a site visitor chooses to subscribe to your trade publication, make the purchase process simple. Have a dedicated landing page for subscribing. Set your price point right and make the purchase process as convenient as possible. Think about it: people have countless options (legal and otherwise) for downloading music from the web, yet iTunes is tremendously popular. One reason iTunes has experienced great success is that it’s convenient, reliable, safe and reasonably priced. Your purchase process should be all those things as well.
4. Be Social and Cross-Promote Judiciously
While you don’t want all your Tweets and Facebook posts to be calls for social media followers to subscribe, you should periodically include this type of Tweet or post. Social media should be primarily about engaging customers and potential customers. One of the surest ways to get people to stop following you on social media is to saturate your social media postings with calls to subscribe, which is a one-way engagement. Your social media strategy is how you focus on the importance of your network. People on social media want to engage, and when you do this it’s fine to periodically remind followers of your publication and provide convenient links for subscribing.
5. Use Guest Blogging to Your Advantage
Contributing guest blog posts to related, but non-competing websites is a great way to extend your reach and increase exposure. The blog owners themselves will benefit from this because relevant guest posts tend to get increased attention on blogs. Ask the blog owner for a brief byline at the end of your guest post, and with it include a link back to your site. It’s best if your guest blog post is original content rather than something you’ve recycled from your blog. That way, you can promote the post on your own website as well.
The techniques mentioned above can increase the number of followers and site visitors who take the next step and subscribe to your trade publication. Just keep in mind that it all depends on your site’s dedication to professionalism and providing high quality, original content. Without those two things, you won’t convert fans to subscribers.