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

Par Alizée Le Gac, le 17 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. Seventh of our series after Libération, the Financial Times, The Athletic, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Economist.

Day 0 – Confirmation of your order and first onsite onboarding

The first confirmation of subscription is done directly on the website through a recap of the order.  

Then we are led to 1/ download the app;

2/ subscribe to newsletters (some are already included with our subscription);

and 3/ read the best articles of the latest issue.

A short video acts as a reminder of the promise of the media (“mind-stretching and globally curious”).

Then we are encouraged to follow The Economist on social media and contact them directly if we happen to have any questions. 

Day 0 – Welcome email

We immediately receive a welcome email in addition to the onsite onboarding which includes 1/ a thank-you message;

2/ a recap of the order;

and 3/ contact details and links towards the different accounts of the newspaper on social media.

Day 0 – First newsletter

The same day we receive a newsletter with the highlights of the latest issue.


Day 1 – Second newsletter

The next day we get another newsletter this time with the best articles of the day.

Day 2 – Welcome email from the editor in chief

Two days after the subscription, we receive a welcome note from the editor in chief. The message details once more the content of the subscription as well as the promise and values of The Economist.

Once again, we are encouraged to download the app…

… and a link invites us yet again to “enjoy our subscription to the fullest”.

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