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Beyond the Paywall: How email series build loyalty

This week’s newsletter is all about the ✨magic✨ of automated emails.

Our Director of Learnings and Labs, Rachel Glickhouse, spoke to the #ThisIsTucson team about how the evergreen newsletter series they created in partnership with the Hub became a powerful tool for turning new Tucsonans — nearly 19,500 of them — into loyal readers and members (including her).

When Rachel and her husband moved to the area last year, she signed them both up for the #HowToTucson course. They learned what to expect from the wacky weather and the best taco spots, and ended up signing up for the weekly planner newsletter which they still use as a reference for things to do in the city.

Rachel also walks us through the two automated emails every newsroom should have — backed by a year’s worth of data — and the impact they could have on your organization’s revenue.

Happy reading!


Stacy Fernández
Marketing & Communications Manager

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: How the Hub Helped #ThisIsTucson Grow Loyal Readers with an Evergreen Newsletter

Written by Rachel Glickhouse

#ThisIsTucson is the digital lifestyle property of the Arizona Daily Star, a nearly 150-year-old newspaper. This new online brand was designed as a spinoff of the legacy publication to allow staff the opportunity to experiment with digital-first journalism, do community-focused stories, and develop digital products. #ThisIsTucson has been a proving ground for these digital experiments, including what’s become a successful newsletter course developed with the News Revenue Hub.

The team from #ThisIsTucson first joined the Hub to learn how to build a membership program to help fund the organization’s local lifestyle reporting. In their first year as clients, they developed the framework for a successful reader revenue program — but quickly realized they needed to develop more products to grow their audience.

When the Hub started working with the #ThisIsTucson team on product development, staffers weren’t sure what direction to take. Through our product development work together, they landed on an idea: in a place with a rapidly growing population of newcomers, why not create a series of emails to introduce people to the city – and the #ThisIsTucson brand? The result is a successful, popular product that the newsroom has leveraged to increase sign-ups to ongoing newsletters and steward readers to become paying members.

Read the full case study here.

🎉 The Hub is officially a Mailchimp partner 🎉

As one of the few organizations with this certification that means we are recognized experts in using Mailchimp to create successful, compelling campaigns and grow brands.

The Magic of Automated Emails

Written by Rachel Glickhouse

One key element of building a membership program is setting up automated emails. Sent to newsletter subscribers and members, these emails act as a way to steward readers toward becoming paying contributors and to encourage current members to renew or increase their donation.

The beauty of these emails is that they’re a one-and-done project: set them up and let them run, and they can provide a reliable, ongoing source of revenue. The Hub typically recommends two types of automated emails: a welcome series to introduce readers to the brand and the organization’s work, and a renewal series for existing members to ask them to donate again or increase their donation. While the renewal series is focused squarely on generating revenue, the welcome series is primarily intended to build loyalty and brand recognition – with the occasional donation ask.

We analyzed last year’s data for Hub organizations that run these automated emails, and here’s what we found.

  • Organizations with a renewal series earned a median of $11,703 in 2021 from these emails alone. These emails accounted for an average of 8% of total donations under $5,000 for these organizations.
  • Organizations with a welcome series earned a median of $2,635 in 2021 from these emails alone.
  • Organizations with both series earned a median of $15,075 in 2021 from these emails alone. Both sets of emails accounted for an average of 11% of total donations under $5,000 for these organizations.

If you’re a Hub client, we can help you create these series, set them up, and optimize them. Just ask your PM!

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