This Guide will enable you to: Establish subscriber onboarding prioritiesUnderstand which tools and tactics can be used effectively for subscriber onboarding Institute thoughtful and effective onboarding systems that map to specific objectives and outcomes For any sustainable subscription or membership business, converting new paying customers is just one piece of the puzzle. Subscriber retention presents a very different challenge, and one with greater significance for the long-term viability of any subscription business. Successful subscription-based publishers understand that their efforts to retain subscribers must begin immediately after a purchase is completed, and that a critical first step in effective subscriber retention and churn mitigation is a robust and carefully considered onboarding strategy. What is subscriber onboarding? Onboarding is the process by which a new customer is initiated into a subscription or membership product: It\u2019s the experience they\u2019re met with in the moments, hours and weeks after their initial purchase is made. Why subscriber onboarding is important Effective onboarding experiences are crucial because it\u2019s during this initial period of exposure that subscriber expectations are set, immediate product engagement can be encouraged, and powerful early value perceptions are formed. Beginning a new subscriber relationship on the right foot and creating a strong first impression can have an outsized impact on that subscriber\u2019s long-term value perception, likelihood to renew and -- ultimately -- revenues for the publisher. Meanwhile, a lackluster onboarding process presents a significant liability, and can leave subscribers feeling confused by what they\u2019ve purchased, underwhelmed by the value of a product, or even duped and short-changed. Poor onboarding processes can also prove particularly costly with monthly and weekly subscription terms -- for which the window to communicate and deliver value is drastically shorter than quarterly or annual ones -- and can represent a wasted opportunity for publishers who offer free or discounted trials. Beyond boosting early engagement and value perception, thoughtful onboarding experiences can also help drive other parts of publishers\u2019 operations and businesses. They can be used to collect data on users and their preferences to help inform future content and product development, for example, or to help segment audiences for use in advertising and sponsorship sales. What subscriber onboarding seeks to accomplish Effective subscriber onboarding experiences typically seek to accomplish a handful of primary objectives: Deliver immediate value following a purchase. Minimizing \u201ctime to value\u201d helps positively reinforce a new subscriber\u2019s purchase decision and, in many instances, enables them to justify their purchase in a matter of minutes. Demonstrating a product\u2019s features and benefits effectively can also help to communicate ongoing\/future value.Educate subscribers, promote engagement and set expectations. New subscribers should be made familiar with how they can extract optimum value from a product, encouraged to take actions that enable them to do so, and made aware of what they can expect from the product in the future. Most importantly, publishers should ensure that new subscribers are using the product they paid for by promoting engagement with core content and features out of the gate.Collect data and learn about subscribers. Rather than bogging down and disrupting the checkout process with lengthy forms and data collection, any information and preferences beyond the essentials should typically be collected from subscribers after their purchase is complete. The onboarding process presents an opportunity to collect valuable first-party data that can help power and drive revenue for other parts of publishers\u2019 businesses.Establish lines of communication for questions, support and feedback. In addition to being thanked and welcomed by editors and\/or other key personnel, subscribers should be informed of how they can have any questions and concerns addressed. Publishers can also begin establishing a dialogue through which subscribers\u2019 feedback is solicited in order to better meet subscribers\u2019 needs and expectations.Begin upselling and cross-selling other products and plans. If applicable, the onboarding process presents an opportunity to begin familiarizing subscribers with adjacent products or services. It can also be used to begin educating subscribers on the benefits or savings of more premium or longer-term plans and commitments. What subscriber onboarding involves Depending on their products, platforms and technologies, publishers often have a range of tactics and tools at their disposal to achieve the outcomes above, and typically leverage a combination in order to do so. These may include: Post-purchase \u201cwelcome\u201d pages. Regardless of how sophisticated they are, every publisher should have the ability to create a simple welcome page to which new subscribers are directed after purchase.On-site or in-app onboarding experiences. Dedicated onboarding experiences can take on many forms, ranging from onboarding videos to multi-step interactive demos and walkthroughs.Email, including automated sequences or \u201cjourneys\u201d. Email\u2019s personal nature and ability to be automated means it lends itself well to onboarding efforts, particularly as a means of promoting product usage and education early in a subscriber\u2019s term.On-site communications in the form of inlays, ribbons, bottom bars and popovers can prove effective in exposing and steering users -- often sequentially -- to specific types of content and features.Messaging and other communications channels such as on-site messaging, chatbots, SMS, browser and app notifications, and even phone calls and physical mail can offer additional channels to promote product usage, answer questions and solicit early feedback. This guide places emphasis on building holistic onboarding processes rather than focusing on the use of specific tools and tactics without strategic context. When evaluating tactics such as welcome pages and email sequences, for example, publishers should consider the role they play as part of a broader strategy that\u2019s tailored to their specific products, content and business needs. Tactics, tools and approaches employed by one publisher typically cannot be translated directly to the next. While there are no hard and fast rules, the following tactics and tools often lend themselves to the following objectives: This guide is a distillation of the subscriber onboarding strategies and best practices employed by experienced practitioners and publishing experts. It details a range of strategies, tactics, frameworks and approaches that can be adopted and adapted to quickly institute highly effective onboarding processes that help boost subscriber engagement, retention and revenue. Establishing onboarding priorities While publishers should strive for their onboarding processes to achieve all of the five objectives outlined above, objectives should also be prioritized based on their relative benefit to a specific publisher\u2019s needs and broader business priorities. For example, if collecting data on subscribers significantly benefits other areas of a publisher\u2019s business, it might be justifiably prioritized over other objectives such as educating subscribers more deeply on the product. Publishers must also carefully analyze the tools and tactics available to them to ensure that each is being used optimally. If achieving each of the objectives above is unrealistic given the tools, tactics and resources available, publishers might instead opt to focus on the two or three that are most beneficial to their business. For example, if a publisher only has the capability to use a welcome page and email sequence due to technical or budgetary constraints, they might use those opportunities to ensure they\u2019re delivering immediate value to subscribers and educating them on the product, and worry less about collecting data from them or attempting to upsell or cross-sell them other products. For suggested approaches based on publisher capabilities, see the \u201cFrameworks and tactical approaches\u201d section. Publishers must always balance the expectations of their subscribers against the needs of their own business when prioritizing onboarding objectives. Failing to establish lines of communication with subscribers for questions and troubleshooting support might result in an extremely frustrating user experience, for example. Tools and tactics for effective onboarding Depending on their audiences, products, platforms, technologies, budgets and other variables, publishers often have a range of tools and tactics at their disposal to help achieve the outcomes above. Deciding which to leverage for each objective requires careful consideration, however, and will vary from one publisher to the next. The specific role of tactics such as email, for example, will depend on the broader onboarding strategy being employed. While there are no hard and fast rules, the following tactics and tools often lend themselves to the following objectives: Post-purchase \u201cwelcome\u201d pages The page that a new subscriber lands on after making a purchase. Post-purchase \u201cwelcome\u201d pages are typically relatively easy to institute, meaning any publisher, regardless of size or resource availability, should be able to offer one. Post-purchase welcome pages are often used to meet the following objectives: Deliver immediate value.Educate subscribers, promote engagement and set expectations.Collect data and learn more about subscribers. A technology publication might use a welcome page to highlight recent pieces of high-profile, original reporting, while a trade publication might surface content it knows will be of interest to a new subscriber based on information they have about the type of company they work for. On-site or in-app onboarding experiences A much more built-out version of the basic post-purchase welcome, on-site or in-app onboarding experiences typically take the form of a series of steps or stages that can be used to achieve various objectives. These experiences require a heavier lift than simple welcome pages, but boast a potentially bigger payoff when executed to a high level. Objectives for on-site or in-app onboarding experiences often include: Deliver immediate value. Educate subscribers, promote engagement and set expectations.Collect data and learn more about the subscriber. A major news publisher might wish to demonstrate the breadth and variation of its product, while educating new subscribers on how to extract maximum value from it. A multi-step onboarding experience in its app and website might be used to encourage them to sign up for a daily email newsletter, layer on weekly emails on various subjects that are most applicable to their needs and tastes, explain how to access subscriber-only podcast content, and prompt them to download standalone cooking and crossword apps that come bundled with their purchase. Email and automated sequences Sets of automated emails delivered to subscribers either at predetermined intervals, or when they hit milestones, take actions, or express certain interests. Owing to its more personal nature, email offers a powerful channel for delivering value directly to subscribers, building and reinforcing habits and repeat readership, and pulling users out of their inboxes to consume content or take other actions within app or web experiences. Email is often used during onboarding to: Educate subscribers, promote engagement and set expectations.Establish lines of communication.Upsell and cross-sell. A publisher with a range of features and content types might opt to introduce new subscribers to them one by one over a period of a few days or weeks. This might help familiarize the subscriber more closely with the content they have access to, and promote uptake and regular repeat readership. On-site communications Inlays, ribbons, bottom bars and popovers that guide users to (or make them aware of) specific types of content and features. These can be used to: Educate subscribers, promote engagement, and set expectations.Collect data and learn more about subscribers.Upsell and cross-sell. A sports news site might use on-site messaging to prompt subscribers to share more about their interests -- such as their favorite teams and players -- as they make use of the product. This information might in turn be used to tailor content and the product to their preferences. Messaging capabilities Includes push messages from apps, SMS text messages, chat features, and other messaging capabilities. Objectives include: Educate subscribers, promote engagement and set expectations.Upsell and cross-sell. A premium news website might use push messages as an alternative to email or an on-site onboarding experience to make new subscribers aware of the content and features available to them and promote habit building and engagement early in their subscription. See the \u201cFrameworks and tactical approaches section\u201d for examples of tactical combinations that can be used to power effective onboarding experiences. Onboarding objectives Successful subscriber onboarding experiences typically seek to accomplish each of the five primary objectives outlined below, although the tactics and tools used to achieve those goals will vary. Delivering immediate value Delivering value immediately after a purchase and minimizing \u201ctime to value\u201d is powerful for a few key reasons. It positively reinforces a purchase decision. New subscribers might not be sold on the value of a product before they purchase it, especially if they\u2019re purchasing via a promotional offer or discount. Delivering value immediately helps put their mind at ease with their purchase, rather than consciously or unconsciously questioning a product\u2019s value. It can enable subscribers to justify their spend immediately. In some cases the value from a single piece of content or resource can justify the initial subscription cost to the user in one powerful moment, therefore increasing the likelihood they\u2019ll renew. This dynamic can be more pronounced with certain types of content and editorial products, particularly those aimed at business professionals or related to areas such as personal finance. For example, if the immediately delivered value helps a subscriber move toward concrete business progress or a desired financial outcome, it\u2019s extremely impactful.It can buy the publisher time to demonstrate a product\u2019s ongoing value. Delivering immediate value is an under-appreciated factor in immediate churn, particularly for products sold in weekly and monthly terms. Successfully delivering value straight after purchase is often enough to immediately \u201cearn\u201d two or three renewals, during which time the publisher has a longer window to demonstrate ongoing value and better educate subscribers about the value of a long-term subscription. Subscribers are most at risk of cancelling their subscription in the first few days or weeks of their purchase, and a large chunk will cancel immediately following their purchase if they were primarily interested in a small segment -- or even a single piece -- of content. Onboarding experiences can help win these users over and turn them from tourists into engaged customers. Effective approaches for minimizing time to value include: Letting content speak for itself When applicable, the simplest and most direct approach for minimizing time to value is simply getting out of the way and enabling the subscriber to access the content or feature that drove them to purchase. If they subscribed directly from a piece of content, this might be as simple as removing a paywall. In other instances, it may mean returning them to the last piece of content they were attempting to access prior to being moved to a checkout process. Depending on the nature of the product, subscribers often expect immediate access to content they clicked to make a purchase on. Dumping new subscribers on a lackluster \u201cThank You\u201d page and forcing them to search again for the content they\u2019re interested in can create a terrible first impression for a premium content product. Surfacing valuable content with welcome pages In instances where it\u2019s not possible or appropriate to return a new subscriber to a specific feature or piece of content immediately following a purchase, a good alternative is to redirect them to a welcome page showcasing content they\u2019re likely to find immediate value in. Content-driven welcome pages often take one of three approaches: Editorial. Using editorial judgment to manually select a range of content that\u2019s likely to pique interest, such as differentiated and original reporting, or a feature about a high-profile person or company.Data-driven. Relying on data to help surface content that\u2019s resonated more broadly with a publisher\u2019s audience. This might include surfacing content that helped drive the most subscription purchases, pageviews, or longest average reading time in a given period.Segmented. If applicable, a publisher might use existing information it has about subscribers to showcase content that\u2019s most relevant to them. For example, if a site\u2019s audience can be easily segmented into buyers and sellers, then one subscriber might be directed to a welcome page featuring content specifically aimed at buyers, while a second is directed to a page geared towards sellers.Dynamically populated. A more sophisticated version of the segmented strategy above would allow welcome page content to be populated dynamically based on a wider range of signals and data points. This might include surfacing content that\u2019s similar to what a subscriber accessed previously, pertinent to their specific location, or most relevant to their tastes and interests as signalled either by their behaviors or self-selected preferences. Effective welcome pages needn\u2019t be sophisticated or technologically complex. Regardless of the technologies and platforms they\u2019re using, every publisher should have the ability to create a basic welcome page that can be easily populated with content, even if it\u2019s in the form of simple text links. Showcasing features with on-site or in-app onboarding experiences On-site onboarding experiences can also be used to surface valuable content in a similar manner to welcome pages, as outlined above. But in instances where it\u2019s less appropriate or possible to surface specific pieces of content, such experiences might instead be used to emphasize a subscription product\u2019s features and formats. That might include: Most-read sectionsSpecific content features and seriesBios of high-profile journalists, editors and contributors, or descriptions of the acumen of a newsroom or editorial team more broadly.Newsletter offeringsPodcast and audio contentVideo contentEvents, webinars and AMAsCommunity features such as private forums, commenting capabilities or subscriber-only groupsAppsDigital tools Physical products and services The nature and content of on-site and in-app welcome experiences will vary one publisher and product to the next, but effective approaches should seek to: Keep it snappy: Welcome experiences should focus on demonstrating value and product features in a clear and succinct manner. It\u2019s important to strike a balance between communicating breadth and depth, and going overboard with an overly-complicated or long experience. The latter runs the risk of backfiring and turning off subscribers; if an onboarding experience is regularly abandoned, that\u2019s a strong hint it\u2019s not clear and\/or succinct enough.Focus on user needs and interests: Prioritize the content and features that subscribers are most likely to find valuable and interesting \u2014 not the content and features stakeholders within the company think the users should like. Data shouldn\u2019t be followed blindly without using common sense judgment or editorial input, but forcing obscure content or features on users isn\u2019t in any parties\u2019 interest. Keep promises that were made prior to purchase: On-site and in-app onboarding experiences should reiterate and begin to deliver on promises made in pre-purchase language and messaging. If a user signed up with the promise of achieving certain knowledge or outcomes, they should be told how they can expect to achieve those over time if they can\u2019t be delivered immediately.Promote engagement and adoption where appropriate: If applicable, ask users to tailor their on-site experience and to sign up or opt in to specific features that interest them, such as customizing content on the site, signing up for specific emails, signing up for podcast feeds, turning on alerts, or downloading apps. Per the \u201ckeep it snappy\u201d recommendation above, this should not go overboard. Promoting signups and product engagement early in the experience is important, but should not feel laborious or long. Using email to deliver immediate value Although welcome pages and on-site or in-app onboarding experiences typically lend themselves best to delivering immediate value to new subscribers, in instances where that\u2019s not possible or prudent, email serves as an effective fallback -- or additional opportunity -- to do so. Email can be used to showcase specific pieces of content, features and content types more broadly, or a combination of both. Effective approaches for delivering immediate value via email include: A letter from the editor or other key staffer welcoming new subscribers to the fold, and highlighting recent content that might be of interest.\u201cMeet the team\u201d email introducing key staffers focussed on different beats or coverage areas and highlighting content from each. This approach can also work well as a series spread across a handful of days.Content showcase that highlights content that\u2019s highly-valuable and\/or emblematic of the output subscribers can expect to receive. This can mean content that has resonated with existing subscribers, or content that\u2019s likely to be of interest to a specific subscriber based on any data or information the publisher might have, such as their company type, interests, or behavioral information.Feature showcase detailing the value proposition of features a new subscriber now has access to, complete with examples of high-value content where applicable. This approach is particularly useful in instances where the value of content speaks for itself, and a product\u2019s value hinges more on the additional features such as events, community and commenting, early or increased access, user customization and more. Educating subscribers, setting expectations and promoting engagement Delivering immediate value to subscribers is important, but so too is ensuring they\u2019re set up for longer-term success. Educating subscribers, setting their expectations, and promoting early engagement is critical in the early stages of a subscription term. Publishers must take responsibility to ensure subscribers know how a product works, what features it includes, and how best to derive value from them. High levels of churn early in subscription terms can often be attributed to a publisher\u2019s failure to effectively educate new subscribers, leading them to question a subscription\u2019s ongoing value. Onboarding processes should ensure that subscribers: Are made aware of the features their subscription includes. Publishers should not assume that subscribers are familiar with the breadth and value of a product simply because they purchased it. Product education must continue beyond the purchase to maximise value perception, satisfaction, and the likelihood that a subscriber will opt to renew. For products with multiple features, subscribers often purchase primarily to access a single feature, so \u201cselling\u201d them on additional features post-purchase can help move the needle significantly in boosting renewal and retention rates, and in convincing trial users to renew beyond any free or discounted introductory periods.Know exactly what to expect, when to expect it, and why. Subscribers should know where, when, and how they can access or receive new content. They should also know what value they should expect to derive from it. This pertains to content that is delivered exclusively via email to subscribers on specific days, and podcasts that follow a specific publishing cadence. Clearly communicating publishing schedules (even if inexact) signals confidence in the value of the content, while publishers that make vague and non-specific promises risk undermining the value of their content or creating the impression they\u2019re selling \u201cvaporware.\u201dAddress product setup requirements. At times, subscription products and their features may require input from the user to be used most effectively. This might be as simple as ensuring that the subscriber whitelists emails from a publisher domain to ensure emails reach their inbox, but might also involve ensuring users are signed up for the email newsletters most relevant to their interests, have selected preferences for any customizable portions of a website or app (such as customized feeds or homepage experiences), ensure users know how to access community features and podcast content, know how to set up alerts and tools such as stock trackers, and know how to apply any other applicable content preferences. Promote early engagement. Publishers can promote early product engagement by gently pushing users toward areas that best deliver it. For example, users might be recommended features that resonate with loyal and recurring subscribers, like a high-level daily email. In some instances, prepopulated boxes can be used to simply gain user consent with a click to opt in to a feature, rather than making them proactively opt in to it. Prioritize common sticking points or snags. Digital products and features inevitably have parts that are more difficult for users to understand, or that rely on technologies that don\u2019t provide a completely seamless experience for users. These areas should be identified and prioritized in the onboarding process if they represent a significant portion of the value proposition. For example: accessing paywalled podcasts or member communities on third-party platforms can be confusing for users at times, so ensuring they\u2019re clearly walked through any necessary steps is a priority. Effective approaches for educating subscribers, setting expectations and promoting engagement include: Welcome pages For publishers without the resources to invest in complex on-site or in-app onboarding experiences, welcome pages offer the next best alternative. Although welcome pages are often best used as a vehicle for delivering immediate value to new subscribers, they can also be used effectively -- where appropriate -- to reinforce a subscriptions product\u2019s features, educate new subscribers on the product and how to meet the goals outlined above. The risk with welcome pages is attempting to do too much. Welcome pages should typically seek to achieve 2 or 3 goals at a maximum, to avoid confusing users and ultimately proving counterproductive. For example, a welcome page might deliver immediate value by showcasing recent high-value content, and also set user expectations as to when they can expect new content to be made available to them. Another publisher might instead opt to use its welcome page to ensure any initial product setup needs are met, and to collect data from subscribers to help inform future content development. New subscribers should not be bombarded with information and\/or tasks via a single welcome page. On-site or in-app onboarding experiences For those publishers with the resources and capabilities to build them, robust on-site or in-app onboarding experiences provide the perfect opportunity to cover all bases when it comes to educating subscribers, setting expectations and promoting engagement. Well-crafted multi-step experiences can guide users through the process seamlessly, ensuring they\u2019re made well aware of the features their new subscription affords them access to, their expectations are set around how and when to expect new content, product setup requirements are met, and early engagement has been encouraged by ensuring they\u2019re signed up for relevant newsletters, podcast feeds etc, and\/or directed to content or features they can begging deriving value from immediately. As with welcome pages, the danger with on-site welcome experiences is asking too much of users. While it can be tempting to institute 20-step onboarding experiences to satisfy a laundry list of goals for the publisher, going overboard risks alienating users. Length for on-site onboarding experiences is a delicate balance to strike, and one that publishers should think carefully about. They should aim to capitalize on new subscribers\u2019 interest and enthusiasm without bombarding them early in the relationship. Email sequences Email sequences offer a highly-effective vehicle for guiding users through the early stages of their subscription, owing to both the personal nature of email, and its ability to be delivered in smaller, digestible chunks than on-site or in-app onboarding experience might allow for. Email can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the specific subscription product in question, but lends itself particularly well to making users aware of product features, setting their expectations, and promoting early engagement and habit building. Don\u2019t abuse access to subscribers\u2019 inboxes. New customers typically expect to hear from publishers more frequently in the early days of their subscription, but most appreciate succinct and efficient use of email and will react badly to being bombarded with email, or being sent emails they don\u2019t deem as particularly necessary, interesting or useful. Collecting data and learning more about subscribers Prior to purchasing a subscription or membership, customers should not be expected to fill out long forms and to volunteer large amounts of data when a simple email and credit card number will suffice. Once a purchase is made and the onboarding process begins, however, publishers are granted a prime opportunity to learn more about new subscribers and their preferences. This information might be used to personalize pages and on-site experiences, to communicate more effectively via email and other channels, to help inform content and product decisions, and to collect first-party data that can help power and drive revenue for other parts of their businesses. The type of data a publisher may want to collect will vary depending on their business model, product, and the nature of their audience, but may include: Contact information, including additional email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, messaging platform handles, usernames for social media sites and other third-party platforms, and more.Demographic information, such as age, location, gender, income and other characteristics.Interest and preference information such as content interests, favorite sports teams, journalists to follow, and stocks to track. Professional information such as company type, seniority, job function, industry, responsibilities, and access to budget. Prompting profile completion with welcome pages and onboarding experiences The moments immediately following a purchase provide a natural opportunity to invite users to \u201ccomplete their profiles\u201d by providing additional information about themselves or their companies. This information can help inform future content and product development, and\/or drive other areas of a publisher\u2019s business. Depending on the technology and setup being used, new subscribers might be asked to volunteer further information as a continuation of the checkout flow, or be redirected to a welcome page or on-site welcome experience where they can provide it. Collecting data and information after initial purchase Alternatively, users might be prompted to complete their profiles after any welcome pages or onboarding experiences, via on-site or in-app communications, or with other messaging channels if available. Subscribers can -- and should -- be asked to volunteer data and information on an ongoing basis throughout their subscription term, but attempts to solicit such information are typically most successful in the days immediately following an initial subscription purchase. As such, publishers should consider capitalizing on this window of opportunity by emphasizing profile completion as soon as possible. The method of data collection will vary depending on the technology and needs of the publisher. Those with robust profile features might direct users to ensure they\u2019re filled out, while less sophisticated publishers may simply redirect users to a simple form to share more about themselves, and their interests and preferences. Such data might be appended to specific users\u2019 profiles -- either dynamically or manually -- or simply analyzed in aggregate to help better understand an overall subscriber base and its makeup. User data should typically only be collected during onboarding if there\u2019s a legitimate reason to do so. Collecting data for the sake of it, because it \u201cmay be useful down the line,\u201d can result in wasted opportunities to fulfil other onboarding objectives, such as delivering immediate value or educating subscribers on how to derive the most value from a product. Establishing lines of communication In addition to setting subscribers\u2019 expectations around how a product works and how it will be delivered, the onboarding process must also serve to establish lines of communication between subscribers and publishers. A subscriber is most likely to have questions about products, features, payment terms and more during the first few days or weeks of their subscription term. Ensuring that they know where to go for help \u2014 or at least communicating to them that help is readily available \u2014 both sets their mind at ease and offers the experience many subscribers expect from a paid product versus a free one. Onboarding processes should ensure that subscribers are: Made aware of how best to get help with their subscription. This might involve sending dedicated emails encouraging them to reach out or reply with any questions. It can also make them aware of any existing chat functionality or phone support, or point them to any self-service options like FAQ pages or \u201cknowledge bases\u201d to gain answers to commonly asked questions.Asked for feedback immediately. It\u2019s never too early to ask for subscriber feedback. Gaining insights on customer perceptions following a purchase can offer valuable data on pre-purchase messaging and product positioning, the motivations driving subscriber conversions, the checkout process, and even the onboarding process itself. More importantly, asking for feedback establishes an understanding that feedback and input is valued and appreciated, and that subscriber satisfaction and value are a priority.Encouraged to connect through multiple channels. The onboarding process also presents an opportunity to encourage subscribers to connect with publishers through additional channels beyond email, even if those channels aren\u2019t central to the delivery of the product. Examples include connecting on social media, connecting on messaging platforms, and even opting to receive communications by physical mail, if applicable. Email is central Email and on-site chat or messaging capabilities are the expected and preferred channels through which most subscribers to digital products wish to have any questions or concerns addressed, whether related to content, technology or billing. But regardless of the channels through which consumers can contact and communicate with a publisher, those lines of communication should be explained clearly via email as part of the onboarding process. This information should be included in the majority of emails sent as part of any onboarding sequence or journey, but publishers should also consider sending a dedicated email immediately after a purchase is complete, explicitly inviting subscribers to make contact and making clear that questions and initial feedback are welcomed. Other messaging platforms and communication channels Secondary to email, those publishers with other messaging capabilities such as on-site chatbots or in-app messaging features should consider also using those to ensure subscribers are aware of other communication avenues available to them. A simple welcome message and prompt to reach out with any questions -- in addition to links to any applicable FAQs, help pages or knowledge base content -- will typically suffice. Upselling, cross-selling and referral Attempting to upsell or cross-sell additional products or tiers to new subscribers immediately following an initial subscription purchase can be risky, and publishers should tread carefully and approach any initiatives carefully and thoughtfully. In most instances, onboarding processes should focus squarely on reinforcing a new subscriber\u2019s purchase decision, delivering early value, and promoting early product engagement in order to help boost the likelihood they will opt to renew. Bombarding new subscribers with upsell offers can rub them the wrong way, undermine the product they\u2019ve just purchased, and result in a wasted opportunity to cement an ongoing paying relationship. For many publishers, therefore, attempts to upsell or cross-sell as part of the onboarding process should be avoided entirely, or at least targeted only at new subscribers who have already signaled a high propensity to renew. If deemed appropriate, however, publishers should consider inviting users to: Save money by committing to a longer term. A new subscriber on a monthly term might immediately be offered the opportunity to upgrade to an annual term, for example, for an attractive rate that was not offered to them prior to purchase. Upgrade immediately to a more premium tier. Where applicable, subscribers might be invited to immediately upgrade to a more premium tier with greater benefits, typically with an attractive discount for doing so.Upgrade from a trial to a full subscription at a discounted rate. In a similar vein to above, subscribers who converted on a free or heavily-discounted offer might immediately be offered the chance to upgrade to full subscription (or higher tier) for a special rate.Layer on additional or ancillary products. This approach should most often be reserved for subscribers committing to long-term or premium subscriptions. If subscribers trust a brand or see value in a product enough to make a commitment beyond a trial or a short-term subscription, the likelihood that they\u2019ll be interested in additional products or services could be significantly increased.Refer friends and connections. Tapping new subscribers to refer a product to friends and connections can prove fruitful in some instances. This can be achieved through simple prompts to share their new subscriber status with connections via social media or email, but typically proves more effective if a discount is extended. Subscribers might be incentivized to share a unique code in return for a reduction in their own subscription rates, when redeemed, or in return for other perks and benefits. Checklist and next steps Onboarding priorities clearly established and ranked.Available tools and tactics identified and evaluated.Tools and tactics mapped to onboarding objectives to form a wholistic onboarding process.Key performance indicators and metrics identified, if applicable.Onboarding process implemented.