by: Adreana Young
In an effort to gain and retain newspaper subscribers, the Albuquerque Journal has come up with an innovative way to maintain subscriptions: The Journal Rewards app.
The free app offers member discounts on local businesses and restaurants, but only members subscribed to the Journal newspaper can access them, said vice president of circulation Joseph Leong.
“Journal Rewards is (a) win, win, win. The new program provides promotional and advertising benefits to the business partners. The newspaper is providing a dynamic and low-cost rewards program to all its members. Most importantly, our members receive something very tangible — savings — they can only get with their newspaper membership,” said Leong.
Currently, the Journal Rewards app program is partnered with 80 different businesses at 275 participating locations where members can use their Journal Rewards discount. The program has already attracted 3,200 members since the app launched in December 2014. Leong said he expects the app’s growth to continue.
“The app provides us real-time transactional data of the member’s usage,” he said. “Location, time, date, and amount saved are sent to a backend management database. We are able to give members a summary of their savings, (such as) “Congratulations, you’ve used Journal Rewards 22 times and saved $110,” and this will become a valuable message for the paper to provide on renewal invoices.
While the app is still fairly new to the Journal, Leong believes it will have a significant impact on the newspaper’s subscriber retention rate. He said that once the app gains a little history and traction the Journal will be able to see a correlation between a subscriber with no engagements versus a subscriber who uses the app regularly.
Moving forward, Leong believes constant communication with members will help maintain the positive momentum they are currently seeing. The app features a feedback link where members can tell the Journal about their experience.
Not only does Leong plan to communicate with their customers, the app will be getting new features as well. These include: feature merchant ads, featured subscriber ads, real subscribers writing about their monthly savings, and themed ads.
Leong said he believes other newspapers should try similar programs in order to stay current with the changing market.
“We all need to add value to our products and services in out-of-the-box ways,” he said.