How to double your email list in 6 months with a metered paywall

An Easy Win

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of building your email list. It’s a gateway to paid subscriptions: readers on your email list are ten times more likely to become subscribers.

So, it’s always exciting to see a publisher come up with a clever and effective way of doubling their email list.

We direct your attention to The Pilot.

A Countdown

The Pilot is an online, local news source for Moore County, North Carolina. They cover everything for nearby residents: crime watch, business news, education announcements, lost pet posts. In the last year, they launched a new metered paywall and began to take full advantage of it.

They offer readers ten free articles a month. They even provide you with a handy little countdown.

But only the first three are free. After that, you’re asked to create an account or log in.

The account creation is easy and doesn’t require you to provide any payment info: just your basic stats and an email address.

After that, it continues your countdown.

When you’ve reached the limit, the pop-up gives you a heads-up that your meter has run out and the article text gives you your options:

Very little fuss, very low cost, but the tactic works.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

The Pilot has chosen to gently usher readers down the sales pipeline, first tempting them with free articles, then creating a a sense of continuity with the countdown and the free email registration. Finally, there’s the satisfaction of a bargain when they see how low the price to continue would be.

It’s very effective. In the six months after the launch of the paywall and the introduction of the free article countdown…

The Pilot saw its email list double, growing from 20,000 to 40,000.

And remember, each of those 20,000 new members is now 10x more likely to become a paid subscriber down the road. 

That’s a winning strategy for sure.

Want to learn more about how a metered paywall can boost your paid subscriptions? Let’s talk.

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