A 2017 Recap of Revenue-Generating Ideas

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As we reflect fondly on 2017, here are 12 valuable tips (with the link to where they appeared), one from each month of SIPAlert Daily articles.

Work your unsubscribes. Amy Africa wrote that you should allow the user to change/update their email address, change their frequency and easily contact you. "You don't want to force users to answer a census-style survey with eleventy bazillion questions but three or four good questions is just fine. Remember, a good unsubscribe page will save about half the people from bailing."

Create a culture where engineers want to be. It doesn't exactly have to be engineers, but the message from Troy Young, president of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, was simple. "Make a real commitment to the value of technology that is consistent with the companies who are competing with you for talent." Look for multi-dimensional people. And enable them... "Everybody needs to be an expert and... collaborate."

For a website relaunch, understand customer needs. Develop personas, or representations, of typical website users. Ask questions such as: Who is this person? What is their age? What is their capability with technology? AHC Media knew that their audience needs easy access to their offerings. So instead of three sites and log-ins, their new site has a unified log-in so that customers can access the new components. 

"Reset and refresh your [event] campaigns every year," said Dan Hanover, VP, Access Intelligence. "We try to one up ourselves every year—there's always a better way of doing something. Resetting events gets attendees to come back. Changing out content is not enough to be considered an event refresh. We do a full identity reset for every event every 12 months. What worked last year? What can we do this year? We always want to improve." 

Serve the unserved. "The primary thing is, 'Who is unserved?'" said Anne Holland, co-founder of Marijuana Business Daily. "Who's hungry for what we're really good at doing? There was no financial information [in the marijuana industry], no legal or financial news service that was doing a good job. 'We can do that.'" 

"I ask my editors to speak at industry events," said Brian Cuthbert, group vice president for Diversified Communications. "They've got to get out of the office. It's an incredible branding and business development opportunity [to have them speak and meet with customers]. You've got to get them out there. The firsthand knowledge that they're going to get is incredible, and they can pass some of that knowledge to sales."

Create a place where you can bring people to brainstorm, said Elizabeth Petersen, chief people and strategy officer of Simplify Compliance. "Every person has ideas but they need to be coaxed... I have introverts and they need to be encouraged—having a structured agenda is a great way to get people talking." 

Be creative... with the copy. Involve readers. "Gone is the typical boring prose; in with messaging that takes on a conversational flair," Informa's Melissa Johnson wrote about marketing a new event. A sense of community, working together, and doing good were all recurring themes. "We're rewriting the next decade for food," one headline read. An email began "We're gathering good food's renegades." And another: "It's a do-and-show event: Share your experiences..." 

Build trust with sharper value propositions. "Transparency builds trust, and... trust can create opportunities for more favorable pricing—up to 8% extra for good corporate behavior." The study shows that people will pay more for environmentally friendly/socially minded brands. This has not come up as much yet with niche publishers, but it might be good to anticipate this sea change. 

Offer a lower initial price point. Brenton Flynn, publisher, Investing Daily, told a SIPA audience about not having success with a $700 product. So they went to a much lower buy-in of $60, and it worked. Some 20% of the people who paid $60 then bought that same $700 product, discounted to $600 after the buy-in. "Think about how you sequence your offers and price points," Flynn said. "That generated thousands of new subscribers for us." 

Always have incremental revenue activities for your events, Diane Arseneau of Zagora advised. "50% of your audience will buy a site visit or a workshop; if it doesn't work, you just cancel it... It's also a good time to test topics. If no one registers you have your answer. 

Supplement your subscription model: "Subscriptions are on the mind for every publisher as Facebook and Google continue to cannibalize ad dollars," writes Dheerja Kaur, head of product at theSkimm. She lists ways to add revenue such as premium content and special access. "Users pay to get special access to things like events, swag and behind-the scenes looks, generally transacting on brand loyalty and affinity.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…
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