An Essential Process

Time and experience (and even a formal study or two) have proven that growing your email list is an indispensable part of growing your subscriptions. Readers who join your email list are 10x more likely to become subscribers.

It follows that building that email list should take a more proactive approach than adding a pop-up email invitation and then moving on to other things.

Tea Journey Magazine has found a new approach that has not only doubled their email registrations, it has increased their paid subscriptions as well.

Creating A Free Level

Tea Journey is a publication dedicated to tea enthusiasts. It publishes regular issues dedicated to the enjoyment, benefits, and origins of tea.

Most of their content is long-form articles, so they felt justified in tightening their paywall meter to just one article.

Then, rather than immediately demand a paid subscription to access more content, Tea Journey introduced a free level of membership.

After viewing 1 free article, here is what their subscription nag looks like:

That free level offers three premium articles each month in return for creating a simple member profile.

That member profile, of course, includes an email address.

Amazing Results

Tea Journey’s free level has had a remarkable impact on its email list.

Prior to the introduction of the free level, about 40% of Tea Journey’s MailChimp contacts came from a standard website pop-up registration form.

Now, subscribers (free and paid) have taken pride of place, with 71% of email contacts coming from members.

The pop-up form has dropped to 25%, with the embedded form at the bottom of each article ending the list at 3% (And as of now the pop-up form has been removed).

The most amazing thing is that the free level is also generating more paid subscriptions. Even in the early days of the new level, a small uptick in new subscribers has been seen, with the long-term projections even more promising. 

Building A Relationship

The Tea Journey free membership level works because it is building a relationship with the customer. Rather than requesting a paid subscription after one free article, Tea Journey is offering a lesser commitment in the free level. After all, who gets married after the first date?

The free level members then become part of a gentle cycle of email wooing: newsletters with new content to explore and an invitation to step up that commitment. Content first, then payment later, when they’re more assured of the value of their membership.

And by the time they reach that point, it’s easy for customers to take the next step. They’ve already registered all the necessary personal information. All they have to do next is add their payment info. This approach breaks subscribing into 2 smaller steps and reduces the friction of paying.

By gradually working its way into the reader’s life, Tea Journey is smoothing out customer interactions and transactions.

A Valuable New Approach

The final hidden bonus is, of course, that a free level is incredibly easy to promote. Three free articles for no additional cost? It’s an easy win.

And that strategy is building Tea Journey’s email list and paid subscriptions alike.

Interested in finding better ways of growing your email and subscription registrations? Let’s talk