How to increase subscription sales by pricing a one-or-all strategy to maximize the percentage that take the “all”
As a publisher, you’re no stranger to tiered pricing. The question is, is your highest priced tier the most purchased item, or the least? For most publishers, when they price a product and try to bundle it with other products, the highest priced bundle is not their best seller. But for the publishers we work with, it’s their highest and they know how to increase subscription sales with two strategies.
The first example I can give you is with decoy pricing. This is the concept of bundling your magazine with it’s print and digital counterparts, and then pricing the middle and highest priced bundle so close together that the highest priced bundle looks the most attractive. You can read more about decoy pricing here.
Increase subscription sales with bundling
Another example is pricing single products in a way that encourages users to purchase them as part of a bundle. For this example, let me introduce you to Ceramic Arts Network.
Users who desire a physical copy of a DVD or DVD set that teaches them ceramic techniques can buy one for anywhere from $19.97 to $174.97.
For users who don’t require a physical copy, CAN created a bigger collection of on-demand videos called CLAYflix, a streaming video product.
The American Ceramic Society, who runs the Ceramic Arts Network, is a 100+ year-old organization that serves the ceramic and pottery world. Their goal when launching CLAYflix was to optimize revenue by leveraging existing premium content and products with an all-inclusive, 24/7 access membership product and offer.
A user can subscribe to a single video for $2.97 per month, or $8.97 for the whole collection.
Subscribers to CLAYflix get hundreds of hours high-quality clay instruction videos professionally produced with some of the top ceramic artists working in the field. Every month, new videos are added. You can think of it like the Netflix of instruction for clay artists and workers.
It’s where ceramic artists can go to learn techniques for making glaze recipes, stamping, molding, sculpting and more. It’s a total on-demand source of how-to videos, and the archive is robust. As mentioned, when purchased alone, an all-access subscription to CLAYflicks is $8.97 per month.
The number of people who purchase a single video is nearly equal to the number of people who subscribe to CLAYflicks.
But wait, there’s more.
They also created an all-inclusive membership product called iCAN (International Ceramic Artists Network), and for a dollar more, at $9.97 per month, a user can get access to CLAYflix plus digital access to their two magazines Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated, a subscription to their online recipes database, Ceramic Recipes; access to their Potters Pages newsletter archive; a 20% discount on all books, DVDs, and merchandise; Discounts on Events; free entries to their annual Juried Show and Wall Calendar Contest; discounts on services (insurance, shipping, car rentals); free listings in their online Artist Portfolios space; and access to connect with other artists through their Mentoring Program. For $12.95 per month, subscribers can upgrade and can also get print copies of the magazines.
So a dollar more for the iCAN subscription sounds like an excellent investment. It’s a no-brainer to choose an iCAN membership, which ultimately turns a “maybe” buyer of CLAYflix into a “definitely” buyer of iCAN.
The same could be said for the $2.97 single-video subscription within CLAYflix, versus access to the whole collection of CLAYflix for $8.97.
If you have the ability to bundle products, like digital books and guides, a web magazine, and streaming video products, you can increase subscription sales simply by pricing your single products close to that of your bundled subscription.
Here’s how to make this offer work best:
- Price your offer in a way that the subscriber can get one, or all for close to the same price.
- Offer an overwhelming value proposition. So if you’re charging $20 for one video, or $29.97 for a year-long membership to hundreds of videos, then you’re offering thousands of dollars in value. Make sure that if you’re offering a library of content, that it’s consistently updated and easily consumed.
- The user must be able to imagine themselves using at least half of what is offered, so keep this in mind when deciding what to bundle. For example, one of our clients is an investment publisher with 10 different newsletters, so when they bundle all of them into an all-inclusive package, the user would need to see themself interested in at least five of the newsletters.
If you’ve spent most of your career in magazine or newsletter publishing, it’s easy to pigeon hole your perspective to single product sales and single product subscriptions, but we find that bundles can not only increase subscription sales but are also more profitable. Since most digital products are produced once and have little or no distribution cost, you can sell hundreds and thousands of subscriptions where profits increase with each sale.
If you’re considering adopting this subscription model for your multiplatform publishing organization, and would like to increase subscription sales, I’d love to talk to you more about it before you begin planning. Schedule a call with me to see how we can help make it a seamless and profitable experience for you.