When it comes to selling subscriptions to institutions there are several key factors to consider; the quality of the product, the pricing of the product and how to spread the word about the product. A strong marketing strategy can go a long way in securing subscriptions which will continue to renew year in, year out, providing a consistent and welcome revenue stream to publishers.
In this symbiotic relationship, the publisher brings the food and wine (content); and Exact Editions provide the dinner plate (online platform), the cutlery (search functionality, usage statistics, etc) and the table service (technical support for libraries). We use our industry experience to assess the best price bracket for the title and create dedicated marketing campaigns to attract new subscribers. This strategy works well, made evident by the 25% rise in sales during the 2017–2018 financial year; however, we are always seeking to improve and have found that a dual-approach made in tandem with the publisher is extremely powerful.
Why is that the case? Publishers can talk with their existing customers with a forwardness and potency which is difficult to replicate as a third party platform. This largely stems from the brand strength of the magazine. Librarians will be aware of The Times Literary Supplement, Geographical and Creative Review and also know that Exact Editions offer a reliable, cutting-edge platform with excellent customer service. It is inevitable that some academics and librarians will head to the publisher’s site to check for the availability of institutional subscriptions, which is why it is essential to clearly advertise on both sites, see below for an example.
There is a clear correlation between the strongest performing magazines in the institutional market and the willingness of publishers to flex their muscles of influence. Banipal, Neural and The Wire were among the top performers during the 2017–2018 purchasing period.
Banipal — 25% increase
Neural — 40% increase
The Wire — 15% increase, not including perpetual access sales
They each acquired numerous new institutional subscribers who will now be a continuous stream of revenue through renewals. The common thread between these magazines (who massively differ in terms of content) is that they actively approach their contacts in the academic sphere such as contributors and print subscribers. Alongside this, they make the option clear on their websites and collaborate with us on marketing campaigns.
For more on this, see our case study on The Wire: http://static.exacteditions.com/casestudies/the-wire-case-study.pdf
What else can publishers do to drum up sales? Think about the copy on your dedicated institutional pages. Is it tailored to the institutional market? Could you contact influential people/academics to get testimonials for the magazine? Even better could you have someone write a review for the site? — see the example below.
Finally, another source of revenue which should be considered by all publishers is the desire for Perpetual Access in academic libraries. To briefly explain, a set budget will be allocated for serials and this is usually very tight, meaning librarians have to think carefully before committing to a magazine. There is, however, often a pool of money set aside which librarians will use to buy resources in perpetuity. This is a potentially very lucrative opportunity for publishers, as proven by The Wire who made several high-value sales at the start of 2018. If you would be interested in hearing more about this, do get in touch.
We hope this gives publishers food for thought and we are always available to chat via firstname.lastname@example.org