Inside The Information’s paywall strategy
Simon Owens examines how tech news site The Information gets readers to subscribe in a conversation with CEO Jessica Lessin.
Owens writes, “I asked Jessica what’s the leading conversion channel that entices someone into becoming a paid subscriber. Many publishers, for instance, have found that getting someone signed up for a newsletter will make them more likely to subscribe. ‘It’s our articles, it’s our scoops, it’s our features. Today it’s a story that gets inside the next generation of leadership at Amazon and reports on some of the lesser known executives who are really rising now that there’s this changing of the guard with Bezos preparing to step aside. Yesterday it would have been some scoop about something else, but it’s really our articles in general that bring new subscribers in.’
“Sometimes a major scoop will create its own momentum. ‘Big stories will pull in a lot of subscribers, and in addition to pulling them in directly, we’d see very elevated subscriber growth in the weeks following big stories as well. Sometimes it’s the actual piece, but sometimes that piece has this sort of halo effect, if you will, and people are finding us through different channels after that.’
“One peculiar thing I noticed when visiting The Information’s homepage is that you have to scroll down rather far before you encounter any headlines. Instead, it tries to get you to sign up for a newsletter. ‘Our reason for doing that is simply to build a direct relationship via email. So I think there are actually a lot of ways that readers decide to give us an email. Some might want to read a newsletter. We also unlock at least half of our stories that can be read in exchange for someone giving us their email. I think one of the great lessons in subscription funnel economics that we’ve certainly learned is the value of building that direct relationship via email, and then continuing that relationship with the reader over time.'”
Read more here.