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How to use online engagement tools to drive reader revenue

Online engagement tools are an important part of a digital publishers’ arsenal. Used to track and nurture your audience’s activity on your website, they can be a powerful way to understand how your audience navigates your website, engages with your content, and provide insights to help your sales process. 

Provider Viafoura has published a guide explaining the steps that you should take after choosing an online engagement tool. 

The guide, Now what? A complete guide of what to do after you get onsite engagement tools?, focuses on the strategies and techniques that digital publishers can use when building communities to drive engagement and reader revenue. 

Here are six of the tips that Viafoura suggests. Download the guide to read all 16 tips that Vaifoura suggests.

Define your audience engagement goals 

Viafoura explains that it is important to define your audience engagement goals. These could be: 

  • Driving advertising impressions by maximising pageviews
  • Reducing your website’s bounce rate and increasing the number of pages visited by a unique user 
  • Driving free or paid digital/print subscriptions, or other e-commerce activities. 

Your goal should determine the way you implement and measure your audience engagement. 

“Our industry experts strongly advise against using on-site engagement tools without a clear strategy and goal. Otherwise, the major benefits of these tools may slip away, right between your fingers,” the report states. 

If you are thinking about a paywall strategy, there are several types that you can implement. This article explains how to choose the right reader paywall for your brand

Plan your conversion strategy 

A conversion strategy should outline the type of conversion message that your audience receives, and clearly define the parameters around your paywall (if you have one). 

Vaifoura says that the most successful long-term conversion strategies are based on trial and error. 

“Bloomberg Media, for instance, has seen tremendous success with its conversion strategy in the past two years, which has tightened a paywall using 22 criteria. The media organization now credits two-thirds of their subscribers to website visits alone.” 

Build ways that your audience can interact with your brand 

Engagement tools can provide the opportunity for your audience to engage in conversations around your content and within community forums, providing a place where users can interact with you and establish relationships with other members of your audience. 

These aspects should be moderated and backed by community guidelines for your audience to follow. 

“By opening up your platforms to engagement, you’ll learn more about your users and improve how invested they are in your brand. However, the onus to protect these engaging spaces from trolls and toxic behavior falls on you,” Viafoura says. 

Here, Viafoura gives more tips on how to build a community based around trust and a unique relationship with your brand, 

Educate and re-engage your audience

It’s important to educate your audience on the ways that they can use and interact with your website, regardless of if they are a free or paid member of your audience. This can be done through an ‘onboarding’ process via a drip-feed email nurturing system, or via an FAQ webpage. 

You also need to earn your audience’s loyalty by continuously engaging with them. Social behaviour like commenting or participating in forums can drive loyalty, while email or desktop push notifications announcing new content also encourage return visits. 

“User engagement is a win-win. As you collect rich user data, to derive meaningful insights to help create better targeted and customized content experiences for readers, your readers get a value exchange. In exchange for providing important information, they get to engage with a community of likeminded individuals and access to thoughtful content.”

Track your online engagement tool metrics 

It takes more time and resources to attract new subscribers than it does to retain your current audience. Based on this, Viafoura suggests digging deep into your website’s audience data so that you can further refine the best strategies for your engagement goals. 

“Your engagement data will help you identify how well or poorly your content is being perceived by your audience. You can also re-engage inactive subscribers with personalised, special offers based on insights from your first-party data.” 

Promote your paywalled service 

For those with a paywall, Viafoura says that it is important to highlight why the paid subscription is valuable. Target highly engaged users with personalised subscription offers. 

“The segment most ready to pay for a subscription are those who consume more than five pages per month and spend on average 40 seconds or longer per page, per month,” the guide says. 

It’s also important to keep an eye out for drops in engagement so that you can send prompts or offers to disengaged members to remain engaged and to subscribe. 

You have paid subscribers? Now what? 

Viafoura goes into more detail around how to maintain engagement with your audience once they become a paid subscriber. 

To read more about this strategy, download the guide here: Now what? A complete guide of what to do after you get onsite engagement tools? 

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  1. You can also use a tool like Crazy Egg to watch how your visitors are actually interacting with your website as they’re reading,clicking, scrolling and otherwise engaging.

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