16 Tips For Attracting Digital Dollars
Finding ways to monetize content has always been the goal of publishers, but this quest has become more complex in recent years. Digital platforms present many possibilities for new revenue models, but also require investment and re-prioritization. The “digital-dimes-verus-print-dollars” conundrum has made it a challenge for many publishers to offset losses in print revenue or simply maximize return on investment (ROI) in digital. Publishing Executive asked several publishers to relate their paths to profitability in the digital landscape.
Ogden Publications is a consumer publisher, the brains behind Mother Earth News, Grit and Utne Reader, among others. Yet its digital monetization efforts are not grounded in subscriptions or advertising (though Ogden has been successful in promoting both). The most growth has come through data-driven targeting of audiences attracted to tailored content.
“Once we have a passionate audience for any topic, we’ve always been able to monetize it profitably through e-commerce via targeted marketing efforts,” says Ogden Publisher and Editorial Director Bryan Welch.
“The core of our business is, now as ever, our audience database and the detailed picture it paints of both general interests and very specific interests down to the level of the individual reader or viewer,” Welch says. “… We see the potential to expand that database, in our case, from our present 8 million actives to something like 50 million actives over the next few years.”
Website development has been key to the success of Ogden’s e-commerce efforts. “I think we overlook the Web now with all the talk about mobile and tablets,” Welch says. “Website development and the expansion of our website audiences has been our most successful investment in terms of ROI to date.”
Tools that allow website visitors to access free content, such as digital newsletters, in exchange for registrations build the audience. “As an example,” Welch says, “if you visit a page about milk goats, you may see a pop-up about a small-livestock newsletter. If you accept a free subscription, you’re opted in.”