ArkLaMiss Circulation Conference Upcoming

This year’s conference will be held at the Ameristar in Vicksburg on November 4th and 5th.

Becky Chandler and Jimmy Clark from The Vicksburg Post are this year’s program chairs and they have already started on the right foot.

Becky and Jimmy negotiated a hotel room rate of $39.99 per night.  WOW! 

Two breakfast buffet vouchers per hotel room will be issued as well as each attendee will receive lunch buffet vouchers for Thursday and Friday.  Double WOW!

Programming is being developed for dailies AND community newspapers. 

The ever popular Hot Ideas Session will be on Friday morning.

Please mark your calendars - space will be limited.  Registration details will be sent in September.

If you have any topics you would like to see presented on the program please contact LPA (800)701-8753 or email:  mitch@lapress.com or contact Becky Chandler at (601) 636-4545 or email:  bchandler@vicksburgpost.com.


 

How do you spell R-E-T-E-N-T-I-O-N

Over the last decade many circulation departments became so consumed with subscriber acquisition they missed seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.  We all got a real eye-opener with the enactment of the federal Do-Not-Call legislation.

The FTC’s restrictions on telemarketing cost us a relatively inexpensive quick fix for numbers building, which was replaced with more costly acquisition strategies, including kiosk and crew sales.  It is no secret those starts carry a premium price, so what will we do to retain them?

Remember: For every subscriber lost, it takes two sales to show a circulation gain and it always costs less to keep a current subscriber than to acquire a new one.  For savvy circulators, retention is back with a vengeance.

So how do you spell retention at your newspaper?  Here is one way:

R - Readers.  Our customers are the life blood of our business.  Without them there is no reason to exist as a company.  We embrace them and do everything (within reason) to meet their needs.

E - Everyone.  Retention in everybody’s job, from the switchboard or front desk upstream to the publisher.  We always look for ways to say yes to our customers.

T - Touch your customers frequently with positive interactions.  Start at the point of sale with a sincere thank-you that reinforces the buying decision.  Follow up with a welcome letter or “user’s manual” on how to get the most from the paper.  Prepare customer-friendly invoices and positively market the value of your newspaper.  Handle all inquiries promptly and professionally in a positive manner.

E - Empower your staff to save each at-risk customer.  Remember those acquisition costs?  Would you rather pay $30-$40 for a new customer or spend $5-$20 to save one?

N - Nurture your subscribers through customer rewards or loyalty programs that value long-term subscriptions.  We offer various levels of gifts with each renewal to say thanks.  Design programs that move readers from occasional single copy buyers to full-time, seven-day newspaper junkies.

T - Tirelessly pursue service excellence.  It is the foundation of any retention program.  If service is poor, you will never succeed at retention.  We compensate carriers for exceeding service standards and as a result, experience complaint ratios well below accepted industry norms.

I - Identify the reasons customers are saying good-bye and fix them promptly.  A fix might be as simple as delaying when you put the paper on-line for free or as complicated as redesigning the paper to be more user friendly.  Whatever the problem, just fix it.  Never accept “no time to read” as a valid stop reason … there’s always more to that story and you can’t fix what you don’t know about.

O - Obsess on retention.  There is no higher-value activity than keeping our present customers.  Ensure everyone in the organization understands their value.

N - Never give up on a  lapsed customer.  We must become more like magazines with their retention marketing.  There are no better prospects than former subscribers, so dig through those stop files and call or write those potential customers starting today, until they say yes again.

Gary Anderson is circulation Director at The Frederick (Md.) News-Post


Offer multiple year subscription rates

The more subscribers that you can lock up for a long period of time, the better.

That is why you should offer an option for a two or three year subscription.

Very few dailies have much success with this option because the price tag is too high, even with a discount.  But two and three-year subscriptions are a viable and popular offer for weekly and semi-weekly papers.

My pricing formula: for a two-year subscription  -  take the total cost of two one-year subscriptions, and deduct 10%.

For a three-year subscription  - take the total cost of three one-year subscriptions, and deduct 15%.

For example, let’s say we have a weekly with an annual subscription rate of $26 per year.

Two years  - $52 x 90% = $46.80 (round to ($47).

Three years  - $78 x 85% = $66.30 (round to $67).

Neb. Press Assoc. Bulletin