In 2015, Theresa launched the online digital version of her print magazine the Horsemanship Journal. She moved online as part of a strategy to expand brand awareness. By offering an online magazine version, she was able to improve her audience reach, generate leads and increase her revenue potential.
Initially, she cobbled together a number online tools to create the digital version. However, she soon discovered this wasn’t ideal because it required time and know-how to manage synching the various applications. Theresa found moving to SubHub’s all-in-one website platform turned out to be the best solution. It’s freed her to focus her energy on creating content, improving SEO and growing her business.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I have been the Editor/Owner of Horsemanship Journal since 2015. I had been a subscriber to the magazine for several years before that and found the articles helpful in increasing my understanding of horsemanship methods and learning about more compassionate methods of training horses. So, when the magazine was for sale, I jumped at the chance to be part of this movement.
Why did you decide to build a membership website?
When I took over the business, subscriptions were managed through PayPal, an Excel Spreadsheet, and all subscribers paid annually. There were very few articles on the website and no ability to put articles behind a paywall.
I wanted to provide online content for subscribers as well as free content to generate leads. I tried several options between 2015 and 2020. At one point, I had a website with a separate app to provide a paywall, a separate app to provide a digital version of the magazine, and a separate app to manage subscriptions. None of these apps talked to each other. I spent far too much time just administering these applications and trying to keep them in sync.
Why did you choose the SubHub platform? What are the platform features most important to you?
2020 allowed me to spend time looking at solutions enabling me to manage the business more effectively and give subscribers a better experience. SubHub was one of the few platforms that allowed me to sell physical products, manage subscribers, and have free and member-only content.
While the course feature isn’t something I needed immediately, it’s a good feature that I plan to utilise in the future.
How did you get your first members?
We already had subscribers, and the SubHub team helped me to move their accounts over to the platform.
What has been the most effective way to drive traffic to your website?
I’m not too fond of social media, but it’s hard to ignore its ability to reach potential and existing customers. Our target market is predominately a demographic that uses FaceBook and Instagram, so we concentrate on those platforms.
How have you grown your email list and how often do you send out email campaigns?
We use the homepage and social media to grow our email list. Our social media objective is to share content to get people to the website and the mailing list. Our open rate and engagement on email far outperform social media reach.
We send out a weekly email with the latest article and an article from our library. We achieve high open rates as the weekly email is content for our audience and doesn’t contain any sales copy.
What kind of content is most popular on your website? And how often do you post new content?
We aim to add a new weekly article to the website; some are free to read, and some are just for subscribers. We are fortunate that, as a magazine, we work with numerous highly regarded horse professionals who provide valuable information in print and on the website for our readers.
What advice do you have for anyone launching a membership website?
Don’t stitch together applications. Go for a complete solution like SubHub. Working on growing the business and providing value to your audience is essential, not reconciling spreadsheets!
Social media is a helpful tool, but don’t let it suck up all your time and energy. Build your mailing list instead.
How has the SubHub platform helped you to reach your goals?
I can now easily manage subscribers to ensure they get their print magazine and access to member-only content. This has freed time to publish content regularly, improve SEO, and consistently send member emails.
Complementing a print magazine with a digital version allows your readers to consume your content in new and different ways. Digital content is both interactive (like quizzes, videos) and also shareable. It provides your readers the opportunity to choose how they prefer to consume your content. By offering multiple touchpoints, your brand has the capacity to reach and inform a greater audience. Don’t let your content strategies go stale. Always look for new ways to engage and communicate with your readers.