Marketing your iPad Magazine: Part 1
This two-part blog is about marketing your iPad-ready digimag. Like many things about the iPad, no one knows the best way to market your iPad-ready digimag. We are up to only 10 million iPad owners as of this date, which means we are still in early adopter stage. Marketing efforts are really in Beta form at the moment; nonetheless, let's go ahead and see what's out there.
Once you've created your iPad-ready digimag you're going to want to market it. Here's a few things you should know before you plunge in:
Apple is "Special"
First off, there are special problems the marketer using the iPad as a platform for her digital magazine faces. It's the Special Apple Problem. Simply put, Apple does not want to provide the name of the purchaser to the publisher and as any publisher worth her salt knows, the name is as valuable, perhaps more valuable, than the cash we get for any sale.
One way around this problem is by hooking up with a company that has agreements with Apple to sell subscriptions. Bn.com and Zinio are two such companies. On the minus side, they will take a cut of each subscription you sell. On the plus side, they also provide a "library" from which your magazine may be chosen, allowing for as close to the "virtual newsstand" as you can get.
Part of Marketing: Teach 'em How Fabulous it Is
Here are a few samples of what publishers are doing to teach readers what your iPad-ready digimag can do. Bonnier has proprietary iPad software—which you may soon be able to license, by the way—which teaches you with breathtaking visuals how to maximize your new purchase, while Zinio-owned Viv magazine uses an iconic "V" to indicate interactivity (see accompanying images from Popular Science and Viv).
Now that you've taught them HOW to play, you're ready to reach out and get some more readers. Here are some tips:
Email-probably your #1 best source for making sure that your launch is big and splashy and that new e-mail names on your list know of the existence of your new iPad digital magazine. What list, you ask? Here are some places you should look (prioritized):
1. Use your enewsletter and subscriber lists for starters
2. Put an ad in a companion publications' enewsletter within your company
3. Buy or trade space in someone else's newsletter with a strong affinity
4. Sometimes it may be worth it for you to rent names. We recommend you use dedicated eblasts to reach your prospect and let them know about your new product.
Here are some best practices for making a good simple email blast. (See accompanying image of a sample email blast; click on the photo to make it larger).
1. Use a reputable email service provider (you've probably got that worked out already)
2. Use an image
3. Test subject headers-audiences vary as to what they like
4. Use content-based copy
5. Test contests-some audiences really like them, others do not.
6. Ask the audience to share the link.
7. Send them to your social media if you have any.
Next Up: Now that your list is growing and your emails are kicking butt, time to use the web, your own iPad issue, social media and other push techniques to cost-effectively market your iPad-ready digimag.
M. Thea Selby is a Principal in Next Steps Marketing, a San Francisco boutique firm that solves audience-building challenges in creative, customized way using practical "call-to-action" marketing techniques where the return is clearly measurable by clicks, online sign-ups, responses to direct mail, orders from partners, or sales at newsstand.
She was the 2010 Women's Leadership Conference Chair, is a co-founder and board member of Exceptional Women in Publishing—a national organization dedicated to supporting women in and through the power of online and print media—and is the former CEO and Publisher of Light Green Media, a digital publishing company.