Publishers need to engage consumers through digital – and they need to make money from them. But how do they do that? Could mobile and, in particular, Payforit m-payments hold the key? Juan Ageitos, Senior Marketing Manager, mGage thinks it might just be
The steady decline of the publishing industry has been well documented over the past few years. The rise of the internet, mobile and social media have created an environment where people want news and content at all times, but are more reluctant to pay for it. And, as more eyeballs shift towards digital technologies, advertising revenues for traditional publishers has dwindled.
While some publishers such as Buzzfeed, Gawker and Huffington Post have thrived in the new business environment, many others have struggled to embrace technology and grow their readerships.
The customer disconnect
Overlooking the issue of declining revenue from advertising or sales for a moment, one of the biggest challenges the publishing industry faces is the disconnect they have with their customers.
Most end users of the more traditional publishers buy their daily newspaper from the local store, or buy hard copies of their books from their favourite retailers. Even though many customers are fiercely loyal towards publishers, particularly in the case of newspapers and magazines, it’s the retailers and shopkeepers who hold the relationships with the customers, not the publishers.
So how do publishers go about forging meaningful relationships with their customers? Mobile messaging is the key.
Mobile, the key to engagement
The important first step for publishers is getting to know their customers directly. But the challenge is customers don’t want to be part of the digital publishing revolution. For them the physical product is part of the appeal and as such they don’t wish to communicate with publishers via email or be pushed down the route of a digital subscription.
However, that’s not to say you can’t use digital devices or mobiles to get to know them. SMS is the ideal way to engage with these customers on mobile, as it is quick, effective, and more personal than email. Using SMS to get to know your customers has valuable implications for publishers. It not only gives them a way to communicate directly with their customers, it increases engagement and reduces acquisition costs.
Getting the customer’s details
The key is obtaining their numbers is to provide a genuine value or incentive for your customers to give you their personal data.
Think about providing a special offer or competition for your customers. For example, you could run a special promotion for your customers, where if they text a short code they can receive a free product or service. You could take this concept even further, and give your customers an incentive to share the promotion with their friends.
The classic example of this is Uber, when you share you Uber promo code with a friend and they sign up, you get £10 off. Similarly, you could run a competition to give away a major prize where the entry mechanism consists of entering the draw by sending your details via SMS.
Payforit holds the key
Embracing mobile doesn’t need to be a push towards digital publications. Publishers must embrace mobile to improve their customer experience, particularly when it comes to acquiring new subscribers.
Lets face it, the user experience of subscribing to a newspaper or magazine is not great. Customers either have to use a coupon that’s always too small to fill in all the details, or they have to go online, which is something they were trying to avoid in the first place. The process of paying, especially using offline methods, is quite daunting too. Not many people feel comfortable mailing in a piece that has your credit card details on it.
Publishers can adopt services such as Payforit to make the payment and subscription process much quicker and easier, to overcome these payment and subscription barriers. With Payforit, it becomes possible for a publisher to set up a subscription service where a person could SMS their address, and their desired subscription to a short code, and that would be it. The customer gets their publication with just a few taps, and it is charged to their mobile phone bill at the end of the month. Much quicker and simpler than signing up using a computer.
For the publishers, it creates a simple and painless process for customers to engage with publishers, streamlines the process and decreases the acquisition costs for new subscriptions. And given most people carry their phones with them all the time, the window publishers have to acquire new customers would grow exponentially.
Our research has shown that 46% of users would be more likely to purchase products or services on their mobile if they didn’t have to provide card or address details and could instead pay in two clicks.
With the publishing industry looking for new ways at recapturing its user base and establishing direct relationships with its customers, mobile messaging must play a vital role. With a high open rate and ability to resonate with audiences regardless of their their technical savvy, mobile messaging perfect tool to improve customer experience and relationships. And, with the broader adoption of Payforit, mobile messaging has the potential to dramatically improve the customer acquisition and retention process. It could even be the industry’s saviour.