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Magazines amp up email campaigns

Reaching out to readers on a deeper level has long been a goal of all traditional mediums, especially in the last couple of years. While some attempts at connecting with audiences have involved providing news on a more local level, other experiments have varied widely.

Employing the capabilities of digital, some national magazines have increasingly turned to email to reach out. These email newsletters give titles the opportunity to extend their brand while offering readers an extra and more immediate service.

Although email newsletters have been in existence for some time, this practice seemed to increase in 2010 and 2011, noted Rebecca Bredholt, managing editor of magazine content at Vocus Media Research Group.

Titles getting into the email outreach game include National Geographic, which sends emails containing “best of” photography to subscribers. Food & Wine sends out recipes and tips on pairing foods with wines, while Better Homes & Gardens emails tips on redecorating. Meanwhile, InStyle emails a “Look of the Day,” detailing how to look like a hot celebrity. “The purpose is keeping their brand in the reader’s mind as the go-to source for information about their areas of expertise. If you just Google ‘wine pairing,’ you won’t necessarily end up on Food + Wine’s website. These emails bring traffic to the site regarding these topics,” she said.

According to Bredholt, Reed Business has found that website visitors linking from emails typically stay on the site longer. “They’ve been tracking this information since 2006. Advertisers care about reader loyalty, so being successful at this tactic usually results in more advertising dollars,” she said.

Meanwhile, email isn’t the only communications means available. Texting has also had its uses for magazines, but has typically been outside the realm of editorial. In August 2011, Self magazine launched its Diet Tapper service, in which text messages are sent encouraging subscribers to eat healthy. It comes with a price however, at $2.99 a month. Meanwhile, Elle Girl magazine has sent out messages promotional in nature and had a 14 percent increase in purchaser intent, noted Bredholt. “I think the use of texting has been more advertising/sales-oriented content than the email campaigns that are more editorial in nature,” she said.

Given the varied niches and readerships, not all titles would benefit from email marketing, noted Bredholt. But for those magazines already doing the campaigns, it’s worth it. “On a personal level, the cooking emails have definitely hooked me,” she said.

— Katrina M. Mendolera



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