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Engage & Retain…thou shalt not bore!

Article by Louise McHale

Thu 28 Mar 2019

Engage & Retain…thou shalt not bore!

On Friday 22nd March, we hot-footed it over to Waterloo for our ESco Connect day, with a focus on Engagement & Retention. The title is pretty self-explanatory…have I engaged you yet?!

This was our third event since starting ESco Connect in March 2018 – has it really only been a year?

After rave reviews from our first two events, our third and most recent event was almost fully booked within a week of sending out the invitation. In fact, we had to increase our venue booking size.

What did we get up to?

We invited four wonderful guest speakers to talk to us about their experience and successful tips on engaging and retaining their subscribers;

  • Jon Bickley, CEO and Founder, Anthem Publishing
  • Lyn Hughes, Founder and Content Director, Wanderlust Travel Media
  • Natasha Littleton, Marketing Director, First News (UK)
  • Debbie Stenning, CEO, Database Vision

After hearing all four speakers talk to us about their titles, their stories and what’s working for them (including some top secret, confidential figures and renewals campaigns, thanks Jon!), our guests had the opportunity to put their questions to the panel in a Q&A session.

In the afternoon, we released some “top tips from the streets of publishing” – a top level summary from the fabulous (but modest) ESco team to actively improve engagement and retention levels, followed by some insightful round tables, hosted by four more industry pros:

  • Catriona Bolger, Publisher, Wanderlust Travel Media
  • Rebecca Blighton, Senior Retention and Projects Manager, TI Media
  • Richard Price, Sales and Marketing Director, Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Paul Joyce, Subscriptions Consultant, Hardy Joyce Consultancy

In true ESco style, we finished off the day with some top quality “networking”, prosecco & some famous ESco cupcakes. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.

In summary, there were an abundance of ideas & tips shared, some a reminder of the obvious, some outside the box;

  • The importance of good, quality, relevant content to always keep your reader engaged (seek feedback as to what they are looking for!)
  • Investing in your subscriber from day one, nurture them, ensure they know how valued they are
  • Review your renewals series on a regular basis, don’t let it go stale
  • Communicate with your subscribers through their desired methods
  • Focus your efforts on continuous payment subs, across ESco subs there is (on average) 60% renewal rate on CWO & 90% on DD

That's just the tip of the iceberg. But you've got to be in it, to win it, the full, uncut info is only shared on the day, at our event. But you can request to be added to the list...scroll to the bottom for more info,,,

Why do we do it?

Our event uptake, feedback and survey responses lead us to believe we’re doing something right.

ESco Connect is fully funded by ESco, a complimentary (and rather luxurious) service for our highly valued partners and friends in the industry – we love shaking things up, thinking outside the box and challenging everyone (ourselves included) to continue moving forwards, continually improving - it really gets the adrenalin pumping!

The general feeling is, that everyone comes away from ESco Connect days (ourselves included) full of new and exciting ideas, feeling fired up, inspired and motivated to make a change, even if it’s just one – start small, be realistic. Because as our Operations Director, Alistair, said to us on the day, “if you change nothing, nothing will change”.

So, what next?

We want to continue to share innovation & insight with our partners and friends within the publishing industry. If you’re onto a good thing, keep going right?

So, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see us focus on in future, or if you attended the day and have some specific feedback about that, or you think you have something useful to contribute…we’d love to hear from you – drop us a line via

Until next time…


Some of our friends of written about what they took away from the day, you can read James Evelegh of InPublishing's article here and Gill Lambert of Ideas 2 Results Ltd's article here


Check out our Facebook page for the photo gallery from the day.

Our events are put on solely for our wonderful partners; our valued clients and friends of ESco. However, we're a friendly bunch, if you want to be on our VIP list and get invited to future events, send us an email at and we'll see what we can do.

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