Our primary goal at Mequoda is to build the best subscription website marketing systems for publishers. We want publishers to have a system that attracts visitors, captures their email address, engages them with great content, and monetizes them through subscriptions. A simple website may not do all of the above, but a subscription website marketing system does. A big part of this system is the ability to dynamically use the call-to-action examples you’ll see below to convert unknown users into free members and free members into paid members of a premium subscription membership website.
A fundamental feature of a system that can achieve this includes an HTML-based digital magazine archive—a library where back issues have been converted to HTML and organized by issue, are searchable, with tables of contents.
To improve free-to-premium conversions, we strongly suggest an all-access product offer, which includes access to your magazine, the digital media library which features your archive, plus any other assets you have like videos and special collections.
With this in place, you’re primed to use the following conversion architecture elements to maximize free-to-premium conversions. The functionality you’ll see below is built into our Haven WordPress CXMS, which is available to our publishing partners (click here to talk more about becoming a partner).
Below is a list of call-to-action examples from I Like Crochet that demonstrates all of our current best practices for converting unknown users and free members into premium members on a digital media library system that is freestanding from its companion audience development portal. For I Like Crochet‘s, an example of one of their companion portals is AllFreeCrochet.com.
Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.
A Bit About I Like Crochet
I Like Crochet, who recently hit a 10,000 member milestone, is a premium subscription website featuring a web magazine for crochet enthusiasts.
If someone wants to subscribe to I Like Crochet, there are four levels of membership:
- Bronze Club (free) – After downloading a “freebie” pattern, users become members of ILC’s email subscriber list where they get access to freebies, and receive ILC’s newsletter.
- The Magazine Club – Includes web access to the next year of bi-monthly digital magazines; with 25+ exclusive patterns, expert tips & step-by-step techniques in every issue. Plus, access to the library with 700+ patterns & articles for free.
- The Collections Club – Includes access to carefully curated collections of stunning crochet patterns for scarves, blankets, and more. These collections include 50+ gorgeous designer patterns.
- The Gold Club – Their all-access capstone product includes full access to everything— Magazine Club web & tablet editions for a year; plus the library of 700+ patterns & articles, on-demand streaming crochet videos, and all the special collections in the Collections Club.
The Gold Club was launched in 2018 and stands at the top of their pyramid as their capstone product, and 89% of people choose to become a member of this product.
Why? Because offering all products through one membership price is overwhelming value creation, a phenomenon from economic behaviorism, that dramatically increases consumer adoption and response rates.
However, you don’t go from 0 to 10,000 premium members by accident. Since the beginning of their launch into a membership-centric subscription model, the conversion architecture on their website has evolved so that it now serves exactly the right ads to the right people, based on their subscriber level.
Let’s take a walk through their call-to-action examples, starting with the basics.
Unknown User Experience
This is your standard, run of the mill Floater that you’ve seen on thousands of websites. If you’re not logged in and are a random user, you get this floater that offers free patterns to download in exchange for an email address. This action also signs users up for email newsletters, and they are now considered free members.
On mobile, the unknown user is served a Placemat Ad like the one below to collect an email address. We call it the “McDonalds floater” internally, initially convinced it wouldn’t win. But in every color test we’ve run, including brand colors and across multiple partner sites, these colors always collect more email addresses. You can’t miss it, that’s for sure!
Additionally, the site has Scroll Floaters on mobile. These appear when a user scrolls down on a mobile device. For an unknown user, it collects an email address in exchange for a free download, signs them up for email newsletters and are now considered free members.
On the desktop experience, there are a few additional elements in play that show how a user is courted from “unknown” all the way up to a premium subscriber.
As an unknown user, the “top” OFIE (Order Form in Editorial) is for the free download / free member signup. You’ll find this at the top of most editorial pages on the website so that wherever someone arrives on the website, there is always conversion architecture present.
When an unknown user tries to exit the site, they’re given one last chance to download something for free through an Exit Floater like this.
The most interesting piece of the conversion architecture for an unknown user might be the fact that if the user decides to go directly from being an unknown user to being a paid subscriber, they’re going to encounter the full-priced offer, and not the discounted offer that’s made available to free members.
Wondering why the unknown user gets no discount? We get into that a little further down, stay tuned.
The Marketing Boilerplate copy at the bottom of every Library Preview, which touts Gold Club Membership, is dependent on user state. In the case of an unknown user, the boilerplate has no mention of the price initially, until they click through to the subscription order page. You’ll see how this changes, coming up, as the user becomes a member.
Bronze Member Experience
A bronze member is a free email subscriber where I Like Crochet has collected their email address, perhaps their name, and nothing more.
However, when bronze members are logged in to the website, the call-to-action examples above all change to promoting the current premium offer, which is typically a discounted introductory offer.
For example on the Floater, premium membership is now pitched as just 23 cents per week.
You’ll notice that the Marketing Boilerplate copy on the Previews now automatically changes to feature the 23-cent offer.
When you’re logged in as a Bronze Member, the top OFIEs go away, but there are new premium ads featured at the bottom of the Preview pages, which feature the 23 cent offer. Outside of free downloads, Previews are the only free content on I Like Crochet, and they give a sneak peek to new content on the website, which makes it shareable to both free email subscribers and paid members.
Collections Member Experience
As a member of I Like Crochet’s Collections Club, you are now a paid member, but you are limited to just the patterns that are curated into Collections by the editors. They have 16 collections which all have anywhere from 5 to 12 patterns in each collection. As a member of the Collections Club, you are now getting conversion architecture to upgrade to the Gold Club.
On their My Account page, Collections members see language in the Subscriptions and Memberships section encouraging an upgrade to a Gold Club membership.
The Marketing Boilerplate on the Previews promotes Gold Club membership upgrades for 92 cents per week.
The premium ad that’s prominently featured around the site now has upgrade language with a big red button that says, “YES, I want to upgrade to The Gold Club!”
And like everything else, the Floater is still present, but the language converts to Gold Club upgrade copy, attempting to convert Collection Club members every time they visit the site.
Gold Member Experience
Gold Members enjoy an ad-free experience.
There is no longer a Marketing Boilerplate at the bottom of the Previews. The premium member experience is now interruption-free.
As we mentioned above, hitting 10,000 members was no accident. These call-to-action examples demonstrate that an organization with great content and a massive database of email subscribers that have never generated membership revenue can partner with us to create an entirely new premium membership brand and revenue stream.
I Like Crochet is published by Prime Publishing, LLC in partnership with Mequoda Systems, LLC using the Haven WordPress CXMS. To discover how Mequoda can help you grow your audience, revenue and profits, schedule a FREE consultation today.
What other call-to-action examples have you tried, and how did they work?