We tried it out… The Sydney Morning Herald – “New Subscriber” onboarding

Par Alizée Le Gac, le 6 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. Sixth of our series after Libération, the Financial Times, The Athletic, The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Day 0 – Confirmation of your order

The order was placed on the website and immediately a personalised thank-you message reads what to do next and reminds us of our subscription number.

Day 0 – Confirmation email and creation of your account 

The editor details per email the benefits of a subscription to their new customer: being able to save articles to read later, tracking their browsing history of articles, newsletters and comments they are reading or have read.

Day 0 – Creation of your password 

The creation of the password for your subscription account is made after the payment. This is probably done in order to make the subscription funnel easier. It is also interesting to note that, in a very short sentence, the publisher tells the reader to “remember to log in to each of [their] devices for unlimited access”!

Day 3- Welcoming note from the editor

… and details of the offer. They also invite the reader to subscribe to newsletters relative to Covid, for instance, or fill out a survey:

That’s all for the onboarding scenario of The Sydney Morning Herald as a new subscriber!