Success Story

Penguin inspires their readers with personalized book recommendations

With Adestra, Penguin dramatically improved engagement and conversions by providing more personalized experiences.

How does a large publisher make personalized recommendations to subscribers?

Penguin wanted to build on insights to create a better experience

Following a consumer insights project that profiled book buyers based on their favorite genres and other attributes, the Consumer and Digital Development team at Penguin was tasked with devising an email campaign that would validate and build on this insight. They saw the opportunity to give subscribers a better user experience that would drive sales and build loyalty to Penguin.

Adestra helped them segment their newsletters by buyer profile

The team came up with the Penguinspiration project, a series of email newsletters that would offer personalized book recommendations based on subscribers’ habits and preferences. With the help of Adestra, Penguin is able to segment their readers and offer them a more personal experience, re-creating a bookshop experience via email.

Adestra helps Penguin put the perfect books into readers’ hands

Penguin connects with readers via emails that speak to their needs

Subscribers are invited to complete a short questionnaire about their reading habits and preferred genres, and in response get regular hand-picked and personalized recommendations. This helps promote selected backlist titles directly to readers, drive sales of these titles, and build loyalty for the Penguin brand.

Recommendations are delivered in the form of a monthly email newsletter segmented by buyer personas: Chart Shoppers, Heat Seekers, Connectors, Connoisseurs, Pioneers, and Thinkers.

The team selects titles from the Penguin backlist, with a focus on ‘undiscovered gems,’ and writes staff recommendation blurbs specifically for the Penguinspiration newsletters. Affiliate links were used to track direct sales.

The monthly emails achieved an exceptional 59% average open rate over the lifecycle of the project while achieving consistently high engagement across all buyer segments.

A bonus and proof of concept for the segmentation was a very high conversion rate – a higher number of real conversions on this list compared to the general Penguin newsletter sent to a much bigger audience.

“Penguinspiration” has increased sales and customer loyalty

In addition to creating connections with readers, the initiative has been successful in terms of delivering insights into the behavior and buying habits of the different segments, which will inform how titles are presented and marketed.

The team is planning to extend and grow the project by reaching out to new readers and applying the segmentation principles to their upcoming new consumer website, as well as providing added-value ‘behind the book’ content such as author interviews, articles, book collections, and editor’s picks.

Download the case study

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