5 ways publishers can keep subscribers engaged

Publishing is an ever-evolving landscape. And one that can be quite unpredictable to gauge.

The UK publishing industry is one of the largest in the world. Generating £6billion per year and accounting for almost 10% of UK creative industry employment.

That makes it one of the largest publishing industries in the world.

But with the increase in consumption of online media. And the rise of Gen Z as internet users. The publishing industry has been through a process of significant change.

The industry is no longer dominated by newspapers and large publications. And the definition of a publisher is now open to interpretation.

Content is now consumed in endless different forms. And is being created at a rapid rate. Not just by publishers, but by businesses, influencers, bloggers, and vloggers.

Meaning the publishing industry has a lot of competition to face. So maintaining engagement is absolutely key.

To help publishers out, here are 5 proven ways that the industry can keep their subscribers happy and engaged.

Welcome emails

If you’re familiar with our advice and content, you’ll know we’re big advocates of welcome campaigns.

That’s because welcome emails typically see 4x greater open rates than general bulk campaigns, 5x greater click-through rates, and 8 x more revenue per email.

And that’s not a surprise. Because welcome emails are sent at the point when a recipient is the most engaged with your publishing brand. When they have just registered, signed up to your newsletter, or made a purchase. And are keen to hear more from you.

The welcome email or series of emails is a make-or-break moment for keeping subscribers engaged. Meaning there’s little room for error.

So make sure your welcome emails are eye-catching, personalised, and include truly useful information such as what recipients can expect from your brand, and relevant contact details.


Personalisation is key to keeping subscribers engaged.

After all, personalised emails receive a 50% better open rate. And 74% of marketers say targeted personalisation increases customer engagement rates.

There are lots of options for personalising emails based on demographic, behavioural, and purchase data.

This could be as simple as using a first name in an email subject line or body copy. Through to sending related news, content, and products relevant to previous browsing and purchasing history.

However, if you don’t have the data or automation capabilities for such levels of personalisation, worry not. Instead, you could segment your emails based on preferences. This could include the type of news or content a recipient has requested to receive, for example.


Publishers are experts when it comes to storytelling. Something that should also be reflected in their emails.

Because great stories are key to keeping people reading.

Storytelling offers publishers a way to engage with their contacts in a more human way, as opposed to automated. It adds brand personality to emails, and can provide an enticing reason for recipients to click through.

So publishers shouldn’t just focus on product promotions, news roundups, and triggered emails. Instead, they should include full stories directly within their emails.

This could be an engaging piece of news, content and book reviews, or specialist interviews.

And these stories don’t just have to be written. Publishers can enhance their storytelling by using graphics, video, and audio.

Re-engagement campaigns

If you’ve tried all of the above and some of your recipients just aren’t engaging. Then it’s time for a targeted re-engagement campaign.

45% of recipients who receive re-engagement emails go on to read subsequent messages. Making them a great way to spark interest in your less-engaged subscribers.

Re-engagement campaigns should be personalised and targeted to ensure the highest possible engagement levels with these subscribers. So make every word and image count.

There are lots of different options when it comes to these types of campaigns. You could entice them back with a free gift or discount code, offer company or product updates, ask them for their feedback, or simply tell the recipient that you miss them.

Source – The Essence of Email

Preference centres

300.4 billion emails were sent and received every day in 2020. So it’s not surprising that recipients can feel a little overwhelmed by their inbox.

This can of course lead to recipients clicking that dreaded unsubscribe button.

In fact, 78% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because brands were sending too many emails.

But when a recipient chooses to unsubscribe, it doesn’t always mean they never want to hear from you again. Sometimes they just want to hear from you a little less. Or maybe there are certain topics that they’re just not interested in.

So publishers should give recipients the option to choose the frequency and type of emails that they actually want to receive. Such as promotional, educational, and news.

Are you in the publishing industry?

If you’re part of the publishing industry and want to make sure that your subscribers are kept engaged, then get in touch.

Our expert team are always on hand to offer advice and guidance.

Meet the author

Komal Helyer

VP Marketing