The magazine publishing industry has been struggling to stay afloat as of late. In addition to the economy that has brought forth budget cuts and higher prices on essential printing resources, traditional publishers are losing subscribers and consequently revenue to their web-based competitors. Times are hard no doubt, but more magazines are discovering what an effective tool email marketing can be for engagement and marketing success.

Bonnier Corp, one of the nation’s top 10 publishing companies and publisher of titles such as Baby Talk, Outdoor Life and Popular Science, is utilizing email marketing to engage its customers in new and exciting ways. More specifically, the company is using the tool to connect with existing customers who sign up for its recently launched publication Roadtrip, which is the first major magazine to be released exclusively on the iPad tablet. The publisher is sending out email surveys designed to find out what users like and don’t like about the digital publication to customers who purchase the magazine and opt in to its mailing list.

In an effort to increase new subscriptions, Bonnier Corp planned to experiment with an offer of two additional issues for free. Gregg Hano, VP Group Publisher of the company’s Bonnier Technology Group, said that the publisher will also be leveraging email marketing to drive renewals in 2012 as they anticipate having a large number of subscribers that want to renew their subscriptions by February of next year.

Ironically, another example of the magazine industry using email marketing as an engagement tool can be seen in a new program recently formed by Apple, creator of the fast selling iPad (among other trendy devices). Back in February, the tech giant launched a subscription service designed to benefit publishing partners of its App Store. This includes publishers of magazines, in addition to newspapers, music, videos and other content.

The program, which invites users to subscribe to the publisher’s mailing list, gives a tremendous amount of power to both the publisher and the subscriber. Apple lets publishers set the price and length of their subscription on a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annually or bi-annual basis. As for subscribers, they have the luxury of choosing the length of their subscription and managing their preferences through a personal account. The introduction of this service was a welcomed change for magazines and other publishers as it gives them the opportunity to use email and engage users in ways that were not permitted under the previous policy.

An Ideal Tool for Publishers of All Sorts

Bonnier Corp’s story and Apple’s subscription service are prime examples of how email marketing can benefit publishers in various arenas. If you operate a print publication of any sort and have yet to consider giving this powerful tool a try, now would be the perfect time. With the right strategy, email can help your business boost subscriptions, promote sponsored events, increase ad space sales and much more.