We tried it out… – “New Subscriber” onboarding

Par Alizée Le Gac, le 1 July 2020

What does it mean to welcome a customer? Imagine welcoming a guest at a party. You wouldn’t say to them: ‘Here is the entry code to the building. Now sort it out for yourself.’ You’d probably say: ‘Great that you came! So pleased to see you again. I’m going to introduce you to Lucy who works in the same sector as you. Marc’s son will attend the same secondary school as your son from next year onwards. By the way, do you still like Margarita cocktails? Nice, come inside the kitchen, on the right, I’ll make you one!” 

So, welcoming subscribers means making them feel welcomed and remind them of the content they have paid for. This is done factually, of course, (access to this and that) but also in a witty way and while reasserting your mission and your values.

We tried out onboarding scenarios of 11 important newspapers worldwide focusing on the first 15 days after subscription as well as on the email channel.


Please be aware that:

We subscribed between the end of April and the beginning of May 2020 to the publications we are analysing. So in the time lapse between our subscription and your reading, publishers might have changed elements of their onboarding.

Some publishers can offer personalised scenarios according to the location of users and other criteria of segmentation. The experience we’re sharing is the one of our consultant based in Geneva and therefore isn’t necessarily representative of the “overall” strategy of a publication. 

Lastly, we aim at writing these articles in the most neutral fashion possible. Thus, we will neither voice our opinion nor make recommendations on marketing practices.


Each week, we will publish another onboarding experience. Fifth of our series after Libération (France), the Financial Times, The Athletic and The New York Times:

Day 0 – Registering on the website 

The registration is done directly on the home page. No need to fill out your name, bank card or address… just the email is enough.


Day 0 – Confirmation on the website

A click later, the registration is done and the confirmation of registration is immediately displayed. A paragraph reminds us of the frequency of sends of the newsletter while a message (already) suggests us to extend the free trial by inviting friends to register as well.


Day 0 – Welcome email from the chief editor 

The message explains the promise of the publication, its values and gives first advice on how to enjoy the free trial period. 


Day 0 – First newsletter

The first newsletter is directly received without having to wait for the newsletter of the next day.


Day+1 – At the end of the second newsletter

Only two newsletters after, the paid offer is highlighted and the reader gets a reminder of the business model of the publication : a subscription-only newsletter. 


Day+4 – At the beginning of the third newsletter

The reader gets a reminder of the offer allowing them to extend the free trial by inviting friends.


Day+4 – Email from customer support 

The customer support team wants to make sure the emails do arrive to the main inbox and that the free trial goes well.


Day+5 – Email from the editor in chief

The editor in chief gives us advice to make the most of our trial period.
















That’s all for the onboarding scenario of as a new subscriber!