Why Customer Retention Matters for Digital Publishers: The Key to Sustainable Growth and Success

As a digital publisher, it's easy to get caught up in the cycle of constantly seeking new subscribers. But customer retention is just as important (if not more so) than finding new customers. Retention strategies focus on keeping your current customers engaged and happy, which can ultimately lead to increased revenue and growth for your business.

Why Retention is Important ?

While attracting new subscribers to your digital publication is important, retaining existing customers is just as crucial. Here are a few reasons why:

Cost-effectiveness: Acquiring new customers can be significantly more expensive than retaining existing ones. According to a study by Bain & Company, attracting a new customer costs seven times more than retaining an existing one. By focusing on retention, you can save money on acquisition costs and potentially increase your profit margins.

Customer lifetime value: The longer a customer subscribes to your publication, the more valuable they become. They're more likely to purchase additional products or services from you, and their loyalty can help drive word-of-mouth referrals. By retaining customers, you can increase their lifetime value and contribute to the long-term success of your business.

Competition: In the digital publishing industry, there's a lot of competition for subscribers. By focusing on retention, you can differentiate your publication from others and build a loyal customer base that will stick with you through thick and thin.

Retention strategies

Retention strategies for digital publishers can be broken down into several key areas, each requiring a unique approach. Here's a closer look at some of the specific tactics you can use to retain subscribers:


Personalisation is all about tailoring your content to each subscriber's unique interests and needs. This can include things like:

  • Using subscriber data to recommend relevant content or products
  • Segmenting your audience based on factors like age, location, or interests
  • Creating personalised email newsletters or push notifications
  • Offering personalised content experiences, such as curated reading lists

To implement a successful personalisation strategy, you must invest in tools like analytics software, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and marketing automation software. These tools will help you collect and analyse subscriber data, create targeted campaigns, and measure the success of your personalisation efforts.


Engaging your subscribers is crucial for retention. You want to create an experience that keeps them coming back for more. Here are a few tactics you can use to boost engagement:

  • Create interactive content, such as quizzes, polls, or surveys
  • Encourage subscribers to participate in discussions or forums
  • Offer incentives for engagement, such as contests or giveaways
  • Send personalised messages or offers based on subscriber behaviour or interests
  • Use social media to build a community around your publication

By focusing on engagement, you can create a sense of loyalty and community among your subscribers, leading to long-term retention.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a proven retention strategy that can incentivise subscribers to stick around for the long haul. Here are a few examples of loyalty programs for digital publishers:

  • Offering discounts or rewards for long-term subscribers
  • Providing access to exclusive content or features for premium subscribers
  • Creating a referral program that rewards subscribers for bringing in new customers

By providing tangible benefits to loyal subscribers, you can increase their sense of value and commitment to your publication.

Customer Service

Good customer service is crucial for retaining subscribers. When customers feel heard and valued, they're more likely to stick around. Here are a few customer service strategies to consider:

  • Respond promptly to inquiries or complaints
  • Offer helpful resources, such as FAQ pages or tutorials
  • Provide multiple channels for customer support, such as email, phone, or chat
  • Go above and beyond to meet the needs of your subscribers

Creating a positive customer experience can build trust and loyalty among your subscribers.

Upselling and Cross-Selling 

Once you've established a relationship with a subscriber, you can consider upselling them to additional products or services. For digital publishers, this might include:

  • Offering a premium subscription tier with additional features or content
  • Selling merchandise related to your publication, such as t-shirts or mugs
  • Providing access to events or webinars related to your publication

By offering these additional products or services, you can increase the lifetime value of each subscriber and boost your overall revenue.

Still not convinced that customer retention should be a priority for your digital publication? Here are a few statistics that might change your mind:

  • According to a study by Invesp, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. The same study found that acquiring a new customer is up to seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
  • A study by Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
  • According to a report by Adobe, returning customers spend up to 67% more than new customers. The same report found that returning customers are more likely to refer new customers to your publication.

In conclusion, customer retention is a critical component of success for digital publishers. By focusing on retention strategies such as personalisation, engagement, loyalty programs, good customer service, and upselling, you can improve your customer lifetime value, increase profits, and differentiate yourself from the competition. So, pay attention to your current subscribers.


About Evolok

Evolok helps online publishers increase their revenues and drive audience engagement using Evolok’s end-to-end SaaS solution, which provides paywalls, subscription management, user segmentation and identity management.  Evolok delivers a selective ecosystem to drive user engagement and mobilization. Evolok helps its clients increase readership and revenue by engaging and personalizing content, protecting valuable content through paywalls, utilizing login and social data to incrementally know customers and finally targeting products and pricing to boost subscriptions.

If you need any help with your subscription journey or you are thinking of migrating your publishing business to the subscription business model contact us today. 

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