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Monday, October 26, 2009

Will you pay for an online newspaper subscription?

I am actually not going to enter the debate over whether newspapers should or should not charge for access to their online material. In the end, some will, while others will not.

Online subscriptions will provide revenue for some newspaper companies. The restriction of access will cause some newspapers financial grief.

What I will say is this, if the management of a newspaper company is too preoccupied with this decision of whether to charge or not, they will fail.

Why will people pay for information from one source versus another? Content and reputation. Otherwise known as their brand. If we know the brand of the news source represents the very best information, and what they provide enhances our lives, we will pay. But if your paper is just kicking out basic information that was covered by a dozen other sources, you lose.

Rather than debating "do we charge, or don't we," it is time to evaluate how your media source is different and what value can you provide the readers that they cannot get elsewhere. When you have a valuable, trusted brand, you can more easily find your income.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Did I ask to be spammed?

There are a lot of ways to connect with your customers, they can be a fan on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, or even the classic opt-in to receive email updates. The important thing is knowing what to do with those customers once you have them. How do you communicate with them, how often, what do you say? These are even more important than the campaigns to attract the customers to opt-in to your marketing efforts. Not only because of "unfollows" and unsubscribing, but the long-term damage to your brand.

Open your email anytime and it is sure to have a message or two that you simply do not find useful. All too often though, there are companies sending messages that make you ask, "did I ask to be spammed?" I like to have updates from the brands I use, it is helpful, helps me remember what is going on, and hopefully provides monetary benefits to being one of the customers who is on the list.

Take a look at the messages you are sending your customers. Ask yourself honestly, does the content represent a significant value to them, or to you? Most of the time we will find that the message is more about us than the customer. This will often result in the customer feeling we are just providing spam.

You may not see that perception from the number of lost fans or customers leaving your mailing list. Many will just ignore, delete without reading, or hit the "mark as spam" button on their email program. So it is always important to remember who keeps you in business and put yourself in their shoes. Your brand reputation depends on it.