5 Ideas for Digital Subscriber Retention

by Tim D'Avis Second Street

When looking at digital subscriptions, retention is vital. If you are unable to retain your paid subscribers, growth will be impossible.

Many media companies struggle with retention because they only run onboarding campaigns for one month. They send maybe five emails in those first 30 days and then nothing until it’s time for a subscription renewal reminder.

This is an issue as up to half of all cancelations occur within the first three months of a subscription. With most companies investing nearly 60% more time on customer engagement than consumer acquisition, these companies are focusing on only one month of the customer lifespan.

It’s Time to Change Your Strategy

To keep your audience engaged and coming back, you need to focus on the customer journey. You want to move them from being a casual audience member to a paid subscriber, to an advocate. It isn’t easy, and very few customers end up as advocates.

Here are five ideas to encourage and speed your audience through their customer journey.

Use Periodic Surveys

Ask for feedback from your audience and expand interest tagging data with surveys. You can use feedback surveys or net promoter score surveys. These can be a nice break in the pattern for your subscribers and give them a chance to be involved. You will also gain valuable insight with their feedback.

Survey email from Headspace


Have Some Fun

Run contests and interactive content to engage your audience. Send Birthday Club emails to help them celebrate, use quizzes and polls to learn more about them, and sweepstakes to thank them for being loyal subscribers!

Times Union Weekly News Quiz Email Invite

Offer Helpful Suggestions

Use email to provide helpful reminders for upgrades and usage alerts. Things like activation reminders, new newsletter offerings, and reminders to use perks are helpful for subscribers but also a chance to expand product awareness.

New York Times newsletters


Reinforce Your Value

Remind your audience of the value of their subscription. Utilize customer data profiles to send curated content of personalized suggestions.

New York Times email suggestions for you


Ask For Testimonials

Encourage your audience to tell their friends about (you/your newsletter). Invite them to share your content across platforms and purchase gift subscriptions.

Valley News Gift Subscription offer to subscribers

It’s important to continue retention-focused emails after the initial onboarding process. Look for opportunities to surprise and delight your customers. These will encourage deeper engagement and ongoing usage.

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