Migrating subscribers’ pricing whilst minimising churn through intelligent use of email for News UK
The Times needed to deliver a campaign to migrate their 175,000 subscribers (both print and digital) onto a different subscription price, which frequently results in customer churn. The message had to be delivered with tact and sensitivity in order to reduce calls, churn and deterioration of brand perception. Our challenge was to use data coupled with content to ensure that subscribers remained loyal despite an increase in cost wherever possible.
It was clear that to ensure the News UK price migration campaign achieved its aims, a robust testing strategy needed to be deployed in advance to establish which messages and formats would land best with the readership. Both qualitative and quantitative research was undertaken with a group of existing subscribers to build hypotheses and to provide insights that fed into the development of pre-price migration messaging, ultimately aiming to prevent as much churn as possible.
Seven comms journeys were developed and tested with participants split randomly into seven groups, each receiving different comms via email. These tests found that overall feeling towards subscription was positive and that key metrics (e.g. satisfaction) were not hugely affected by the price migration. Testing also identified that a brand-led approach was to be favoured over an upsell approach to justify the price increase, as a brand-led approach was found to reinforce trust and make subscribers feel valued.
Testing demonstrated that this approach was strengthened with an email notifying subscribers about Times products, as these concentrated on the high quality of journalism, provided a better justification for the price increase and showed News UK’s determination to stay ahead of the competition. Testing also enabled us to recommend including a commitment to improve reading experience within the notification email as an extra justification for the price increase.
Not only did this campaign add 8,600 new subscribers, it far exceeded expectations, demonstrating the value of our testing strategy. Churn from digital migration was an impressive 31 percent lower than the expected 22 percent and print migration churn was 39 percent lower than the predicted 8.5 percent.
Getting the tone and content of each email to subscribers exactly right before send was key in generating higher than average open rates, with 52 percent of emails being opened. The resultant increase in print and digital subscriptions coupled with higher retention had a very real and beneficial effect on the bottom line for News UK.