We tried it out… The Athletic – “New Subscriber” onboarding

Par Alizée Le Gac, le 2 June 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. Third of our series after Libération (France) and the Financial Times, the example of The Athletic (US).

Day 0 – Welcome message

…in French! coming with a recap of the order.


The copy above reads: Welcome to The Athletic, From now on, you’re a member of the sports media which has the biggest growth in Canada and the USA. As a subscriber, you’ll have access to our daily coverage of your favourite teams, our morning newsletters, our members only forums, our five-star apps for as long as you stay a member. We might also give you exclusive advantages such as price cut tickets. We’re committed to developing sports journalism and couldn’t achieve this aim without you. Here’s the recap of the order.

Day 0 – “Get the most out of your subscription”

Day 1 – “Download the app”

… while stressing the included features of the said app.
























































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