We tried it out… – “New Subscriber” onboarding

Par Alizée Le Gac, le 21 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 media 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 media. 

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. Eighth of our series after Libération, the Financial Times, The Athletic, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Economist:  

Day 0 – Welcome email

This first message from the editorial director welcomes us and tells us about the value proposition of the publication (less topics covered but covered with more depth).


This welcome note comes with an invitation to the reader to commit themselves by giving feedback and suggesting new ideas.

Day 0 – First newsletter

On the day of our subscription we already receive our first newsletter entitled ‘Coronavirus Update’.

Day 1 – Promotional email

We are already in the mailing list of the marketing team which suggests us to offer a subscription to our mother for Mother’s day. Yet we haven’t had time to try out the subscription for ourself.

Day 2 – Second newsletter

The next day we receive our second newsletter ‘News update of the day’.

Day 10 – Managing our subscription

Ten days after having subscribed, the team of gets back to us and advises us on how to make the most of our subscription, stressing the main touchpoints: how to manage the subscriptions to the newsletters, how to make sure emails are not considered spam and how to set the progressive web app on the homepage of your smartphone. 


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