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31. 07. 2015

How Online Magazines Can Monetize Using Inbound Methodology

Online magazines are very popular in niche markets. Subscribers and advertisers make good use of this product and it’s a great opportunity for them to find each other and do business together. However, online magazines struggle with different aspects of their business when it comes to lead generation and CPL (cost per lead) increase. The thing is they want to deliver high quality leads to their advertisers, but can’t really make out which of their readers/subscribers fall into that category. Naturally, the CPL tends to decrease as advertisers won’t pay more for leads that may be good or bad.


To find high quality leads, all the data has to be analyzed manually, which takes too much time and effort and often requires outsourced resources, since the writers and publishers are mostly unable to do everything themselves. This in turn increases the costs for the business, which again leads to problems.

Another issue that many companies face, is the cost of acquisition per audience member and their lifetime value to the business. With no clear picture of leads and customers, it’s very hard to calculate the ROI of the audience that’s added to the database. The whole data on audience members is mostly spread out on different platforms like emails software/apps , newsletters, website, forms, surveys, etc. Again, its very time consuming to analyze all of this data yourself in small amount of time, which brings us back to high costs. So, how do we solve these problems?

Evaluating Subscriber Behavior

Subscriber behavior has changed a lot recently. People now pay more attention to what they actually dedicate their money to, irregardless of the cost of the actual product. To increase the number of subscribers, you need to provide more value in return for the money they pay you.

To reach the right readers at the right time and place, you must understand how they find you, what they are searching for, why they choose you over the competitors and what triggers their subscription decision. This is one of the two fundamental pillars of inbound marketing: you need to understand their buyer’s journey, from the first moment they land at your website to the minute they choose to become your subscriber.

How Can Inbound Methodology Help

Inbound methodology, when used together with an inbound marketing platform, can help you find a solution of the problems mentioned above and more. First, generating leads with inbound methodology automatically makes them more qualified than those acquired by banner ads posted on your magazine. Because inbound is all about bringing the customer to you by providing value and education to him/her, is exactly why you can be sure that your leads, or the leads you generate for your clients, are going to be of higher quality than before, straight up.

Using an inbound marketing platform will eliminate all the problems with deciphering lead lifecycle stage: is it a good lead, a bad lead, MQL, SQL, etc.? Also gathering all the lead data in one single place is very good for analysis and saves you lots of time. With each new lead you acquire, whether for yourself or your client, the more information you have about that lead, the better you will understand if he/she is valuable or not. If you know the lead is valuable, you can increase your CPL significantly.

There are many other uses to the data. For example, having the data available on each one of your readers can be great if you want to target a specific client or advertiser. Imagine you are a health magazine and you have 500 readers that are interested in cosmetic surgery. You also have an advertiser that is an expert in his/her niche and provides cosmetic surgical services. Instead of wasting time and trying to figure out how to generate money, you can call the surgical company and tell them that you have 500 leads for their business. And because you already know that these people are interested in the topic, you don’t need to conduct any more research or do surveys, place banner ads or CTAs, you can just email those 500 hundred people and get super high open rates and click rates.

With the implementation of Inbound methodology, you can also increase website traffic. Publishing quality content in different forms like articles, ebooks, educational video, podcasts, etc. is an excellent way to increase traffic to your website, while also ensureing you get quality visitors, not just random people who come to your site without knowing what it is and leaving it afterwards. This is important, since if you are keeping track of your website traffic, you may see the numbers grow, but actually most of the visitors provide zero value to you or your clients.

Listen to Your Advertisers

If you want to increase your revenue, it’s important to make the distinction of what you write about in your magazine. You can choose to write content that will bring you more clients, which is a good thing if you think about it, but it doesn’t really help generate more money.

Your client’s success is a key metric for monetization. The more leads and customers your client generates with your help, the more revenue you get from them. In other words, you earn more money, if your client earns more money. If we look at the matter from this perspective, it makes sense to create content, which is relevant for your client, and with the help of inbound implementation of SEO, keywords and quality content, this task becomes much easier. Listen to your advertisers and discuss with them any content ideas they might want to develop and create valuable and educational content for their buyer personas.

Increase Advertiser Revenue

Supporting the point mentioned above, if you want to make more money with your online media business, you have to pay attention to advertiser/client revenue. Actually, just paying attention isn’t going to be enough to cut it, you have to put advertiser revenue before your own and start working in that direction.

Creating valuable, high quality content for your clients’ buyer personas and mapping their buyer’s journey on your website correctly and successfully delivering the leads to your advertiser is what you should be aiming for. There will be no more need for paid ads and banners flashing all around your website.

Inbound methodology will take time, dedication, constant analytics and tweaking, but in the end will help reduce the lead acquisition costs for yourself by a lot, while also increase CPL that you offer to your advertisers, since they will be of high quality.

At the end of the day inbound methodology gives you the opportunity to provide value to your readers and at the same time decrease costs and increase your revenues. 

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Pavel Aramyan
Content manager at Incredo. I am a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and generates content for an inbound agency. I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if its everything at once
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