"Since we launched on Audience+ less than two months ago, we've had over 450 users sign up," said Jesus Sanchez, Publisher and editor of The Eastsider LA. "The cost per subscriber is very attractive compared to what we're paying to advertise on social media to get leads."
The Eastsider LA is a free, digital-only, publication and website that focuses on hyperlocal news in the Los Angeles area. "We tie together neighborhoods we feel have commonalities and similarities. Since we aren't charging anything to our readers, we ask them to register and sign up for our newsletter instead."
"The biggest advantage of having a registration wall is capturing the people who are really interested and making sure you don't lose that connection with them."
Promoting newsletters, expanding audience
To maintain that connection with readers, Sanchez created a broader strategy focused on email as the primary delivery method for news and stories. His team started aggressively promoting the "Daily Digest" email newsletter on their site and through social media ad buys.
"Newsletters blend the website and social media at the same time, and there is a certain rhythm to the emails that we like," Sanchez said. "We know that newsletter subscribers tend to be our most loyal readers, and the most likely to donate or purchase a paid subscription."
Sanchez was initially unsure if BLOX Digital's new dynamic metering system would be appropriate for his publication.
"Audience+ is a very sophisticated system, I thought it might be too much for a free, digital-only news site," Sanchez said. "But then I read one of your other case studies about a client primarily using it to encourage newsletter signups. And that's what I wanted to do!"
Growing membership with a registration wall
"TheEastsiderLA.com was able to set up a membership model with registrations using Audience+," said Ali Bettinson, project manager for BLOX Digital. "We worked with Jesus to optimize the offer messaging, make some minor tweaks, and he was off to the races!"
The site uses an effective, one-page registration wall that asks for a username, email, and password. Once users are signed in, they can freely access articles, videos, and more without being prompted again. Registered users are automatically added to The Eastsider's newsletter list in BLOX Email Reach.
Visitors to the site are allowed five views before being prompted to register or sign in. This allows traffic flow from social media and targets more loyal readers. "We're not driving traffic away."
Keeping the message clear and focused
Letting existing readers know about the new registration wall before the changes were implemented was crucial. It was also important to Sanchez that the messaging on the popup clearly communicated the value of signing up.
"The wording is key! We need to make it clear that our readers aren't going to be charged for this," Sanchez said. "We do require them to sign up for the newsletter. But we've refined the wording and made it very to-the-point and basic. Readers can sign up rather quickly."
According to Sanchez, the BLOX Digital team made implementing Audience+ easy. "These are people I trust," Sanchez said. "They are responsive, that's very true. And BLOX Digital improves and refines products even after they are released. That's very important to me.
"I have a higher confidence that whatever is being introduced by BLOX Digital plays well with the rest of our BLOX CMS website. Before—when we used WordPress—there was always a conflict when we introduced a new plugin. But I'm very happy with our Audience+ registration wall. So far, so good!"