6 actionable ways to manage your audience growth costs
Last updated: August 4, 2023
Your publication’s audience and subscription numbers are flatlining and you’re feeling the heat. Time to launch a splashy new rebrand, start a podcast and hire a new Head of AI just for good measure.
All good, except now your budget’s ballooning out of control, you have less money to fund all those new ideas in your head… oh, and your audience numbers are still flat.
Sound familiar? You’re in the right place. Read on for seven actionable ways to keep your audience development costs under control — without sacrificing your growth goals.
Streamline your tech stack: Boost efficiency, unify data & retain talent! Get expert tips now:
6 ways to manage your audience growth costs
1. Review your strategy and audience data
As shown by Mark Zuckerberg’s bad bet on the metaverse, even the most successful businesses fall victim to shiny object syndrome — and lose billions in the process. But with best practices and “thought leadership” spreading like wildfire, how can you separate viral trends from viable strategies?
Go back to your audience data: The more you know your audience, the less likely you are to overinvest in the latest chatbot or VR tool.
So before making any big spends, review your audience data to see what’s working, what can be improved, and where your audience spend will stretch the furthest. For best results, you’ll want to create a single customer view for everyone in your audience.
This will help you answer a lot of pivotal questions, including:
- How is each person interacting with you across every channel?
- What website pages are most popular among your audience as a whole (and with individual segments)? How are your landing pages performing?
- What steps do subscribers take across your various marketing channels before making a purchase? Are they most likely to convert from your newsletter, from on-site personalizations, from content meters, or a combination of the three?
- How is your newsletter performing, both overall and among key audience segments? Are you segmenting your audience by demographics, behaviors, and/or purchasing history?
- What topics are they most interested in?
- What industries, job titles and locations are they from? Is there variation between different brands in your portfolio?
- What referral sources and content creators are most likely to pull them in? Which ones yield the most subscriptions?
- How are your upselling and cross-promotion strategies performing? If you’re using website personalizations and email to promote these offers, which channels are most successful? Do your personalizations perform better as standard modals, or are exit-intent or scroll-trigger pop-ups more successful?
- What is your subscribers’ average lifetime value?
OK, great, now how do you establish that single customer view? That depends on how you’re collecting audience data. If it’s spread across multiple different software, you might meet with stakeholders from your subscriptions, advertising, editorial and leadership teams for recommendations.
Or you’ll need to get reports from each of these teams and coalesce them into one place. And from there, it’s a whole lot of time, manpower, and back-and-forth with the data scientists before you can even get the numbers, let alone act on them. (And we’re trying to save money here, not add to the bill.)
But with a customer data platform, you can collect audience data from every marketing channel and store it in one place. This makes it much easier to get a single view of everyone in your audience – from first-time website visitors to long-time subscribers — and prioritize your audience marketing spend.
2. Prioritize your highly engaged audience
With customer acquisition costs on the rise and competition getting tighter, your customer relationships are more important than ever.
Their commitment to a monthly payment is essentially a statement of loyalty to your brand. To keep them invested for the long term, and reduce your need for new revenue, look for ways to reward that loyalty.
Not only do loyal customers have higher ROI than their counterparts, but loyalty programs themselves can also provide useful customer insights. Use these to target similar audiences and you’ll build a great foundation of repeat, sustainable business.
If you have a CDP, you can use a variety of filters to identify your most highly engaged audience. Then reward their loyalty with special access to newsletters and events, sponsorships bundles, first looks at new publications and targeted cross-promotions and upsells.
3. Multiply your reach with joint partnerships
Say that you’re about to hire a new director of audience development. It’s a huge investment — and the wrong choice could cost thousands. Rather than sifting through the wild, you turn to trusted colleagues and mentors for recommendations.
The same logic holds for joint partnerships. When you host a webinar, put out a podcast or co-write a whitepaper with a partner, you get to market to that partner’s audience. Before you even get started, you’re doubling or even tripling your potential audience size.
Joint partnerships aren’t just about getting more eyes, though. Because you’re partnering with someone that they already trust, the people you reach are more likely to trust you, and give you their business, as well.
So you have to do less work (and spend less money) to convert them into leads and subscribers. From a cost-benefit perspective, joint partnerships are a no-brainer.
Secure valuable partnerships — and amplify your reach — with these tips:
- Find partners with complementary, but not identical, audiences. You won’t benefit from a partnership if you’re marketing to people that already in your database. So, with the help of that audience data you got in step one, look for partners that can contribute valuable new leads without overlapping too much with your existing audience. (For example: If you’re at a career-focused digital publication, you might consider productivity software companies or workplace wellness providers for a joint partnership.)
- Give them first-party data: When pitching potential partners, tell them what kind of data you can provide about your audience. This will help your partner evaluate the opportunity and maximize their ROI from participating with you, making it more likely that you’ll start and maintain the relationship.
- Make it as easy as possible to participate. Clearly outline the process in your initial pitch, including any required prepwork or marketing. Consider including a promotional kit in your outreach that includes pre-written social and email copy, as well as graphics, etc.
4. Firm up your payment funnel
Setting up auto-renewals isn’t as splashy as starting a podcast. We know.
But there’s nothing worse than losing a potential subscriber because they didn’t receive their first issue on time — or losing a long-time subscriber because their credit card expired.
This way, you can query your subscriber base for people whose credit cards will expire in the next 30 days, then add them to an email series reminding them to update their payment information — and do it all in one place. On Omeda’s audience management platform, you can automate most of this process — then move onto engaging the rest of your subscribers.
5. Repurpose your content
Media organizations of all kinds need to do more with less. Adapting your long-form content for other short-form channels is the most cost-effective way to do this. Not only are you producing content more quickly, but you’re also ensuring it reaches your entire audience, regardless of what platform they’re using. Some easy ways to repurpose your content include:
- Turn webinars and event sessions into blog posts.
- Convert slides from your webinars or event sessions into SlideShares, then share on LinkedIn or other social platforms.
- Post video snippets from event sessions on social media.
- Share pieces of proprietary research as infographics or standalone graphics.
- Update existing content with new data and research, then recirculate on your various marketing channels.
- Convert “how-to” blog posts into instructional videos, or vice versa.
- Extract quotes from webinars, interviews, and/or blog posts, then share them as standalone graphics or tweets.
Bonus: This also ensures that your messaging and branding is cohesive across every channel, which can otherwise be difficult to achieve in a fast-paced, remote-first work environment. It also gives you more engagement data, with which you can continue to optimize your content strategy for each channel (and generate new leads).
6. Consider an end-to-end audience marketing platform
From social media, email and advertising to data unification and subscription management, it takes a lot of tech to understand, engage and monetize your audience. More than ever, managing your audience development costs means managing your MarTech spend.
Choose well and you’ll unlock key insights quickly enough to make data-driven, cost-effective business decisions. Choose wrong and you’ll waste your budget on solutions that make it harder, not easier, to reach your audience.
This usually happens when you use too many solutions. Your audience data gets spread across 10+ different tools, each of which have different owners, naming conventions, formatting, integrations, etc.
So to get that all-important single customer view, you need to spend precious time unifying, validating all that data. Then you need to create a single profile for each person (e.g., combine Mary Smith’s website analytics data with her email activity) and check for duplicates.
That’s hours of work before you even reach out to a new reader. All that busywork costs precious time and labor — and makes it harder to give your audience what they need quickly enough to make an impact.
That’s where Omeda comes in: We’re an end-to-end audience marketing platform that helps you harness your data for maximum impact by combining a customer data platform, email marketing tool, and subscription management platform into one platform. Here’s what customers have said about us on Capterra:
“We consolidated everything into a single technology stack on the Omeda platform. Our audience database members grew by 37%. We had 56% efficiency in email operations which is staggering for a small team. And we had 100% redeployment of our database and development IT resources allocated to true development projects to grow our business. Guess what folks, that’s what I call true growth, scale and efficiency in operations.”
Want to learn more? Book a demo below.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to get our latest articles sent directly to your inbox.