Q&A with marketer and author Anne Janzer
When it comes to winning subscribers, Anne Janzer is the expert. The author of Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn, she’s worked with over a hundred technology businesses, from industry giants to innovative start-ups, to help them articulate positioning and messaging in crowded markets.
Today Anne addresses 5 questions from marketers on the value of subscribers in content marketing.
Q. How can you gain blog subscribers through your content?
Anne: Start by delivering useful content that meets your target audience’s needs, and you’ll eventually build a base of subscribers. In most cases, this means that you should not try to be all things to all people.
If you speak to a wide range of people, allow subscribers the chance to opt-in to the topics of interest to them.
Then, of course, you need to make sure people know where and how to subscribe. Make it as easy and painless as possible, and offer something in return.
Remember, you are essentially “purchasing” their email and attention with your content, so make it good.
Q. How do you make used cars fun and interesting for consumers to make them loyal subscribers? (When people buy cars so infrequently?)
Anne: You probably cannot make used cars interesting to people who aren’t inherently interested in cars.
But you can find interesting and fun content for those people who love cars. It’s better to aim for a specific niche and serve their needs well.
Find ways to deliver interesting content to car enthusiasts – whether maintenance tips, strange facts about old models, or stories of people who collect or modify vehicles. The content doesn’t have directly cover purchasing a used car.
Q. What is the biggest turn-off in content marketing for potential subscribers?
Anne: Nobody enjoys being pitched all the time – if we did, we’d hang around used car lots. If you subscribe to someone’s email or program and then receive constant pitches to buy something, you’ll feel put upon and unsubscribe.
A subscription relationship is based on a sense of trust. This is true even of email subscriptions: your subscribers trust you enough to give you access to their email inboxes. Don’t abuse that trust by always trying to sell to the subscriber.
Q. Why would subscribers be more important than sales or actual leads?
Anne: A customer who buys from you but does not remain engaged is worth exactly the amount of that sale.
A subscriber who remains with you is like a loyal friend, and potentially has a value. If they buy from you, they may also provide feedback, or spread the word to other people. If you come out with additional products or services, they will be your first audience.
The subscriber is a long-term relationship; it takes work, but delivers benefits over a sustained period of time.
Q. Best way to convert subscribers to customers?
Anne: People tend to buy from people or organizations that they know and like. A subscription is a golden opportunity to create this kind of relationship with potential customers.
So, focus on delivering useful content to your subscribers again and again. When you have something to sell, they will be more receptive.
As Jay Baer says in his book Youtility, “If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.”
Thanks to Anne Janzer for tackling the tough questions about subscribers!
Want to learn more about subscription marketing?
Anne’s book Subscription Marketing is available now.
These 5 questions about subscribers are among the hundreds of questions participants ask in my content marketing workshops. Here are more workshop Qs & As:
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.