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Mutant Digital Offspring: Why Are Publishers' Newsletter Promotions So Lame?

Mutant Digital Offspring: Why Are Publishers' Newsletter Promotions So Lame?

By: E. Eadward Tree

OK, my digital friends, you can stop snickering now.

My post last month about how some of my fellow print dinosaurs are marketing their magazines set some tongues wagging on the digital side of Magazine Media Land. But in the Stupid Marketing Olympics, direct-mail pieces that look like something out of the Pleistocene Era can’t compete with a type of promotion that’s become common on publishers’ websites.

Several times a week, it seems, I follow a link to a website I’ve never visited, only to be greeted by a huge ad asking me to sign up for the publisher’s newsletter.

If I’m on my smartphone, the promotion obnoxiously blocks my ability to see the article. If I try to close the ad, chances are 1 in 3 nothing will happen when I click on the “X” and 1 in 4 I’ll be taken to the newsletter’s sign-up page. And the odds are about 50-50 that I’ll just abandon the site – no newsletter sign-up, no paid ad impressions, no repeat visits.

Fellow publishers, let me ask a couple of impertinent question: How many people sign up for your newsletters without actually having seen any of your articles? And wouldn’t newcomers to your site be more likely to sign up if the newsletter promotion were served to them after they had a chance to see how great your content is?