- Convert anonymous site visitors to registered users.
- Invite those readers to donate and support its mission of providing high-quality local reporting affordably to its market.
- Generate valuable audience insights and engagement metrics to inform ongoing product and brand development strategies.
Sentinel Colorado does not regard user registration as a strategy but instead as a mechanism to create deeper relationships with its readers in order to fulfill its mission of providing relevant news and information and fund high quality journalism. Accordingly, it needed to deploy a simple, frictionless registration process that allowed a reader to easily create an account and then proceed on to their article views.
What once was a painstaking, lengthy, and costly process to install a registration and access control system onto a publisher's website can now be configured and operational in a few hours while delivering immediate results thanks to BlueLena’s partnership with Pico and other technologies it deploys to support clients.
Sentinel Colorado is an independently-owned, award-winning daily news site based in Denver that also publishes a free weekly newspaper. Its site traffic averages between 100,000 unique visitors each month, and it offers a portfolio of email newsletters to its registration database, which prior to our launch consisted of around 4,000 members.
Sentinel Colorado had never experimented with a paid digital content strategy, so they were eager to determine whether a registration wall would generate meaningful results. Given their limited resources, they needed a strategic and collaborative partner to project manage the program design, setup, implementation, execution and ongoing management of not only the technology but also of their marketing, creative, and messaging strategy. They turned to BlueLena, which deployed Pico’s Smart Signup technology to convert anonymous site visitors to known readers and set the stage for engagement, monetization, and growth.
Pico’s Smart Signup tool features one-click registration and login methods via Google, Facebook or user-submitted email address, which then instantaneously creates a user profile that allows readers to manage their newsletter schedules and payment preferences. Pico's site tracking code captures user engagement data that can be used to create audience segments based on content tags and categories, which Sentinel Colorado has begun to use to gain deeper insight into the interests of key audience segments to inform their content strategies.
Pico also provides a real-time integration directly with Mailchimp that BlueLena has configured to engage with customers through a complete onboarding series that welcomes the reader, encourages them to activate all user benefits, and reinforces the journalistic mission of Sentinel Colorado while inviting them to make a voluntary donation.
In the two months since launch, Sentinel Colorado's registration database has added nearly 2,500 new registered users, which represents a 62% growth rate. More importantly the engagement data it has compiled is informing immediate opportunities with audience, product and revenue growth strategies. This is achieved by connecting the registration data from Pico with Google Analytics and creating a comprehensive audience dashboard (via Tableau) that displays key insights across a range of demographics, engagement, geographic, device and referral source data, among other criteria.
BlueLena clients are routinely capturing registrations for 6-8% of site traffic and payment conversion rates as high as 25-27%.
A version of this case study was originally published by BlueLena on their blog.