Small plant blossoms to indicate audience retention and growth

How The Post and Courier is Investing in Marketing to Grow and Retain Audiences

The Post and Courier is always looking for innovative ways to reach new audiences to deliver the news that matters most to South Carolinians. With an ever-evolving digital transformation and rapid expansion across the state, we’re leading the charge in several ways.

First, The Post and Courier is investing in reporters to expand coverage across current markets in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, North Augusta, Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head, as well as new markets in Florence and Rock Hill. In addition, The Post and Courier is building a new state-of-the-art printing facility that offers modern and efficient printing to serve our readers and commercial print customers. But behind the scenes, as a versatile multi-media company, we’ve also been investing in our marketing to ensure quality journalism and to meet the needs of local businesses that want to reach our valued audiences.

“Most people might consider The Post and Courier as a legacy media company that has covered Charleston for 200+ years, but really as we transform toward a future in digital and grow our audiences across the state, we really consider ourselves as a 200+-year-old start-up,” said Chris Zoeller, Chief Opportunity and Marketing Officer.

“And to achieve these efforts, we know we need to invest in building a team that can focus on a variety of marketing initiatives to grow and retain our audience. Our readers trust our journalism and advertisers want to be aligned with our readers.”


Paid Digital and Print Audience Growth

As part of the strategy, Claire Linney, a long-time The Post and Courier employee, was named Audience Director, where her main responsibility is to grow paid digital and print audiences. 

“I love being a part of our creative and fun team! We are a fast-paced, idea-generating group and it’s a great culture to be a part of,” said Linney. “I find it rewarding to be a part of a team that is collectively working together to support our community with impactful news.”

Previously, as Associate Director of Audience Growth and Acquisition, Linney focused on a growth plan for print subscriptions and adequately used the resources available to her. For example, Linney and her team were able to sell over 100 print subscriptions at Summerville’s annual Flowertown Festival, which shows there are several new opportunities for subscriber growth.

“I am looking forward to being a part of our overall subscription growth, we are on a positive trajectory, and looking forward to being a part of the growth to come,” said Linney.

Also a part of the acquisition team is Digital Marketing Manager, Kelly Krammes. Krammes comes to The Post and Courier from the TV news side of the industry and has over a decade of experience marketing to local audiences and sharing the important work journalists are doing in these areas.  

“The Post and Courier is a storied brand with an excellent reputation in South Carolina and beyond,” said Krammes. “I’m a passionate consumer of news and am proud to work for a brand that is well-known in the industry for providing impactful journalism.”

“It’s our responsibility to make data-driven decisions to best serve the readers and subscribers who invite The Post and Courier into their homes via our digital and print products, while also reaching new audiences. I’m thrilled to join this team of collaborative marketers as we continue to make strategic decisions by honing in on the information we have about our consumers, and news consumers in general, to keep our digital marketing approach agile and relevant.”


Subscriber Acquisition and Retention

But what happens after a new subscriber is acquired? Retention Marketing Manager, Mary Fox, comes in to help onboard and retain new subscribers to make sure they are getting all of the content and benefits of being a Post and Courier subscriber.

In her former role as Subscriber and Donor Engagement Specialist, Fox worked closely with the rest of the digital marketing team to acquire subscribers but saw a gap where new subscribers did not receive the same attention as potential subscribers. 

My strengths are experimenting with different tools and resources to build engagement—and therefore, retention—through messaging our subscribers as well as fundraising campaigns,” Fox said. “I’m happiest trying new things or trying things in a new way to build our retention efforts. I like researching what other companies are doing outside of media/newspapers to see how we can implement that at The Post and Courier. I also am super driven to achieve the goals of keeping subscribers engaged and building our fundraising to benefit future special reporting projects.”

This growth in acquisition and retention extends to the rest of the team as well, with a complete team of seven marketing professionals in the Digital Marketing Department, including Linney, Krammes, Fox, two Newsletter Editors, a Subscriber and Donor Engagement Specialist, and Marketing Coordinator.

Each of these professionals has several ideas for data-driven, creative campaigns to continue branding and marketing The Post and Courier across the state, and to continue to reach new audiences with the quality journalism that is known to come from the reporters at The Post and Courier.

 

About Our Team 

Claire Linney, Audience DirectorClaire Linney, Audience Director

Audience Director, Claire Linney, has been with The Post and Courier for nearly a decade and through this experience has a strong grasp on the holistic approach of the paper in acquisition and retention. Linney enjoys looking at the big picture and the overall goal of the business, and in this position works closely with the digital marketing team to reach their goals.

 

Kelly Krammes, Digital Marketing ManagerKelly Krammes, Digital Marketing Manager

Digital Marketing Manager, Kelly Krammes, comes to The Post and Courier with a decade of experience in news marketing, working at 11Alive News, the NBC affiliate in Atlanta. Her main goals in this position are to create avenues to reach new audiences to be able to share The Post and Courier with these audiences.

 

Mary Fox, Retention Marketing ManagerMary Fox, Retention Marketing Manager

Retention Marketing Manager, Mary Fox, has been with The Post and Courier for almost two years and in that time has created and refined several acquisition and retention campaigns for subscribers and donors to the organization. In this role, Fox has created several retention strategies, including an onboarding series for new subscribers, subscriber-only contests and events, and reaching out to these audiences whenever there is breaking news.

Partner Success 360: Southern Eagle Distributing

Partner Success 360: Southern Eagle Distributing

Fun. Creative. Iconic.

These are just a few ways partners describe campaigns with The Post and Courier.

The Post and Courier has been engaging with Southern Eagle Distributors for the past decade through advertising, marketing, and events. If you have had or heard of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Heineken, Truly, or even Natural Light (to name a few) and you live or just visited the Charleston area, you have had the pleasure of interacting with a Southern Eagle brand. 

Southern Eagle, the child company of Southern Crown Partners, is a local Anheuser-Busch distributor who helps with the distribution of popular beer as well as Lowcountry and Georgia craft beer and other beverages. 

“It’s been a great partnership,” Luke Cooper, Marketing Manager for Southern Eagle partner New Belgium Brewing explains. “Linking up with y’all [The Post and Courier] is getting our reach out there even better.”

Just like The Post and Courier, Southern Eagle has made a name of themselves in the Charleston area. Commonhouse Aleworks, New Realm Brewing, Rusty Bull Brewing, and Palmetto Brewing are just a few of the Southern Eagle brands that make it to the Sunday Funday brewery stops here in Charleston.

“What I have enjoyed the most is being able to work on such fun, creative concepts,” Southern Crown Partners Marketing Manager Katie Thompson boasts.

When Southern Eagle approached The Post and Courier with a challenge to market their latest beer, New Belgium’s Dominga Mimosa Sour, we knew we had to incorporate the “Sunday Funday” mindset to Southern Eagle’s next campaign. 

“We really tried to go above and beyond, and not just do your cookie-cutter advertising that everyone else does. We really want it to be something unique and something that we’re proud of, and I knew and trusted that, if I had a vision that The Post and Courier could help me bring it to life,” Thompson tells us about developing campaigns with The Post and Courier team.

From the desire to promote the Dominga Mimosa Sour, The Charleston Brunch Guide was born. This guide allows for restaurants across the Lowcountry to submit their brunch listing for free. New Belgium, Southern Eagle’s brand, is displayed on all Brunch Guide promotional items – the guide itself, social media ads, The Post and Courier website‘s banner ads, and even print ads in The Post and Courier paper. This sponsorship, which started with the goal of promoting a new beer, now reaches our entire audience and database.

This is one of the many ways The Post and Courier partners with businesses. We know the importance of staying with your brand and vision while incorporating our knowledge, our audience built on trust, and our expertise to develop a plan that not only works but is successful.

“Just bounce off ideas. What do you think about this, and what do you think about that. It was a lot of great communication,” Luke Cooper says while explaining how concepts come to life.

Luke Cooper is no stranger to bouncing ideas around to create a great campaign. New Belgium was the beer sponsor for Bicycle Across South Carolina in 2020.

“Supporting the community and being active, and getting out and meeting people, and working with iconic companies like Post and Courier,” Cooper tell us about partnering with events like BASC.

Concepts collaborating BASC and New Belgium included media advertising, social media, newsletters to our subscriber database, live stream mentions, posters, inclusion on the BASC site, banner ads, blogs, a Happy Hour tent at the event, Photo Booth sponsorship, and so much more. Check out the full extent of their partnership here!

Before BASC and the Brunch Guide, The Post and Courier produced a free dining guide to promote local restaurants in the spring of 2020, when many were facing challenges.  This gave restaurants the opportunity to promote their take-out options, menus, and hours of operation.  Southern Eagle immediately jumped on the opportunity to support this dining guide.

In the first few days, we had over 100 restaurants add their information to the guide, and thousands of readers using the guide to support local restaurants.  We promoted the guide in social media, email, print, and in our covid-19 section, highlighting a Southern Eagle brand throughout (Budweiser).

In all instances, events or campaigns, The Post and Courier highlights their connection to the community in major ways. In many cases, Southern Eagle and The Post and Courier both had philanthropic visions that were able to come to life in campaigns.

“I couldn’t speak more highly of digital marketing, social media, but at the same time, I truly think there is a place and an audience for print. I think there is a place for local events, and being able to encompass all of that has been awesome,” says Thompson.

Real partners find real success. 

Begin your Partner 360 Success NOW.

 

 

 

 

The Post and Courier Team Gives Back On The Day of Caring

Trident United Way is a catalyst for measurable community transformation in in education, financial stability, and health in the Lowcountry. For 20 years, Trident United Way has hosted Days of Caring, the largest day of community service in the Tri-County area. Jeannine Nash, Administrative Assistant, recalls the first Days of Caring in 2001, when The Post and Courier volunteered to help at The Florence Crittenton House for at-risk young women. “It was a good feeling knowing that we were helping those in need, and I remember how appreciative they were of our help.” Since then, The Post and Courier employees have participated in Days of Caring each year, helping numerous non-profits and centers across The Lowcountry.

This year, The Post and Courier volunteered to help The Navigation Center. The Navigation Center serves individuals and families experiencing homelessness by connecting them to services and housing. We were tasked with repainting the building exterior. Our 16 volunteers picked up our brushes and paint buckets, and by the afternoon, the task was completed. The goal was to make all who come to the center feel welcome, and giving the exterior some love certainly made a difference. Matt Ojala, Deputy Director of The City of Charleston Department of Housing and Community Development, wrote a note when he saw the completed project:

“Thank you and your team for all your hard work today. You all did a tremendous job. When I swung back by The Navigation Center this afternoon everyone I spoke to were singing the praises of The Post and Courier.”

THANK YOU to all of our volunteers, including Jake Buck, Daniella Fisher, Andrew Fleet, Reid Griffin, Jocelyn Grzeszczak, Alex Kellner, Grace Lardear, Stephen Massar, Amos McCoy, Abby Prokop, Emilio Santana, Debbie Sledziona, Libby Stanford, Amy Sutton, Elizabeth Wassynger, and Shannon Warnecke!

 

 

***blog post written by Claire Linney

Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy For iOS 15

Apple’s iOS 15 email privacy updates are revolutionizing how email marketers pull data. Data allows us to figure out what’s working and what’s not. With the new updates, email open rates will be impacted in a big way. We talked about what this iOS email privacy update is, but how can you adjust Your Email Marketing Strategy to fit this new change?

One

With the unreliability of open rates, it’s time to revaluate which email marketing metrics you focus on. Opens and clicks no longer hold the power they once did. Email clicks hold more weight than they used to. Consider focusing on the conversion rate, list growth rate, overall ROI, click rate, and the number of emails being forwarded and shared.

  1. Conversion rate: the number of conversions (a specific action such as sales) divided by the total number of visitors
  2. List growth rate: the rate at which you’re gaining new subscribers versus contacts unsubscribing
  3. Overall ROI: the amount of money earned for every dollar invested in email marketing
  4. Click rate: the percentage of recipients who click a link in your email
  5. Forwarding/sharing: how often recipients forward or share an email, expanding campaign reach

At the end of the day, the most integral part of strategy is relying on metrics that drive your central business goals. Alignment is key.

Two

It’s time to revamp the triggers in your automated email series. Stray away from triggers related to open rates. Set triggers around whether someone clicks a certain link, time-focused triggers, date-focused triggers, and triggers driven by ecommerce, perhaps someone leaves a full cart at checkout.

Three

With MPP, you don’t know how many people are opening your emails. But, it’s critical that your emails are opened! Now is as good a time as ever to re-focus on engaging email subscribers.

Email subject lines are the first thing a consumer reads when deciding to open an email or click delete. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. If you were reading the email, what would make you click? 

Consider the contact sender’s name in the from section of your newsletters. This needs to be a name that consumers know and trust. Following subject lines, preheaders (words that show in an email preview) are an important email component. Preheaders are a great location for a call to action.

Four

Since we’re shifting from email open rates to click rates for measuring engagement, it’s important to create content that makes consumers click. As a general rule of thumb, don’t include your most valuable content in an email. Leave readers with a curiosity gap to click through to your website.

Five

To get the most out of your emails, add interactive elements to engage subscribers. Polls and surveys invite your consumer to contribute to the conversation.

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, know that there will be more changes to come. Being able to pivot and adapt your strategy over time is one the strongest tool in your email marketing toolkit.  

 

What the Apple iOS Email Privacy Update Means For Your Business

Apple’s iOS 15 email privacy updates are revolutionizing how email marketers pull data. Data allows us to figure out what’s working and what’s not. With the new updates, email open rates will be impacted in a big way.

There’s no need to panic, but it’s important to understand how the new update will influence your email marketing strategy. Apple’s privacy updates apply to their infamous Mail app and impact data regardless of your preferred email marketing platform. Open rates and location data are the main data sources affected.

Email Privacy Protection

As Apple cracks down on its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) options, consumers have the choice of withholding whether they do or don’t open their emails (open rates). For email marketers, this means we have less data to analyze the habits of our audience.

Announced in June 2021, Apple upgraded their privacy settings with the release of iOS 15, making it easier for iPhone users to regulate the use of their personal data. MPP protects data from third parties and hides IP addresses, preventing the linkage of online activity to determine a user’s location. This feature is active on Apple’s Mail app for the iPhone, iPad, Apple watch, and Mac computers, after users have opted in.

Previously, data was sent over from an email immediately when opened by the recipient. The data detailed whether the email was opened, on what device, and often the recipient’s location. The key takeaway, email open rates are no longer a reliable email performance metric.

Why It’s Important

Apple Mail is the default mail application for all Apple devices and accounts for 52% of all email opens, according to Litmus. Apple rolled out MPP for all Apple Mail users on September 20, 2021. Nine times out of 10, consumers will opt to protect their privacy.

Email features you may have relied on previously could be impacted due to inaccurate email open data. One example entails auto-sending a follow-up email to a recipient who didn’t open your initial email.

If 52% of your email list uses Apple Mail, it’s projected that 96% of them will elect to employ the MPP feature. Thus, half of your current email subscribers will skew email open rate data, making this an utterly unreliable metric. You can expect to see your open rates increase.

How Your Email Marketing Strategy Is Affected

Regardless of your preferred email platform, MPP will impact the email marketing industry as a whole. You can expect your email open rates to increase as a result of Apple automatically marking emails as opened on behalf of their users. But, open rates are no longer dependable as a key performance metric.

A click-to-open rate (CTOR) contrasts the number of unique clicks to unique opens, indicating an email’s effectiveness and ability to get consumers to click. CTOR is a result of email opens, so MPP will cause your CTOR rates to drop drastically. But, MPP won’t impact total clicks.

Previously, audience engagement was determined by how often recipients opened your emails. But, you’re likely to see an abnormally large surge of audience members with high engagement.

Open rates play a part in the segmentation of an email list, ranking subscribers from maximum to least engagement, again based on how often subscribers open emails. Rather than basing email segmentation off how often contacts open your emails, base it off of how often subscribers click links within your emails.

Some email platforms, HubSpot included, can set up an automated email series, which will trigger depending on whether or not a user opened an earlier email. Since Apple Mail records an artificial open rate, you may consider using an email click as a trigger in an automated email series.

Traditionally, A/B subject line testing functions on open rates when two versions of the same email are deployed to a small section of your contact list, complete with two differing subject lines. The subject line with the higher open rate is regarded as more effective, but it’s now unreliable with Apple’s MPP update. Consider basing A/B testing around click rates.

As privacy regulations increase, marketers will have less access to consumers’ personal data and habits. With artificial open rates, we won’t know the time an email was opened, the device an email was opened on, and the geographical location in which the email was opened.

Despite Apple’s MPP update, email continues to have the highest ROI, generating $42 for every $1 spent, out of all marketing channels. At the end of the day, the overarching goal of email marketing is to drive sales and increase the bottom line while targeting new customers and sustaining engagement with your current email list.