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Subscription Website Publishing

Do You Really Need a CMS or CXMS for your Membership Website?

Your membership website is made up of a variety of parts. To accomplish the goals of increasing your audience, revenues, and profits, all of those parts need to talk to one another. The nucleus of this system is your CMS, or content management system.

This is not unlike any team, where you have specialists and a project manager in the middle organizing and delegating what needs to get done. If any of the specialists fail, you have to remedy the issue, but if the project manager is unable to rally the specialists, you’ll begin to see system failure across the board.

Your content management system, like a nucleus, and like a project manager, is what keeps your business running—it’s the epicenter of your business online and even offline.

It manages your membership website content and hosts the conversion architecture that converts visitors into email subscribers and paid magazine or newsletter subscribers. Your content management system is where you can complete tasks like writing, scheduling, and publishing new content (free and paid), managing your database, hosting media and ads, and collecting the first steps of payments.

Ultimately, your content management system is your users’ interface. However, you won’t meet a membership-based publisher who is only running a content management system because publishing isn’t that simple.

  • To get new subscribers their issues, you need a subscription management system (SMS), also known as a fulfillment system.
  • To send emails to the email addresses you collect, you need an email management system (EMS).
  • To display ads using any sophisticated ad network, even ones for your own membership product,  you need an ad server.
  • To process payments using the information subscribers give you, you need a payment gateway.

These are all third-party services that don’t come with any single content management system, and there isn’t a publisher out there that has built their own. In fact, we find that most publishers are struggling to manage all of these third party solutions independently, and the systems don’t talk well to each other.

The remedy to this is a Customer Experience Management System or CXMS. With a CXMS, the CMS still lies in the middle as the nucleus, but it’s already outfitted to connect with Tier 1 fulfillment and email systems, ad servers, payment gateways, and other crucial third-party elements that publishers need.

With a CXMS, user preferences are synchronizing in real time. So for example:

  • Your CMS is telling your EMS a customer’s purchase history, which allows dynamic segmentation when it comes to email promotions.
  • Likewise, your CMS and fulfillment system have similar two-way synchronization so that your website always knows who a subscriber is, and it shows different ads to unknown users.
  • Your subscription management system (SMS) allows you to take paid orders, cancel orders, and generate reports to show how paid email campaigns are doing.

With your CMS, you can load all the content you want to show up at the membership website, control the user experience, deciding who sees which content, and set up conversion architecture so that people who are unknown can be turned into registered users.

With your EMS, you can set up targeted segments so that when you’re sending out emails to your list, you’re sending them to who they’re most appropriate. A Tier 1 EMS has a whitelist department which will also help you with email placement.

With your SMS, you are creating a massive database of subscribers, and this is where all the real user data is stored; although, some of it reciprocates back to your CMS.

As a builder of the only true CXMS we know, we take responsibility for how the CMS, SMS, and EMS, as well as many other sub-systems, work together. We are setting up the rules and guidelines that allow publishers to run fully integrated membership marketing programs and campaigns.

In abandon recovery programs, we use all three systems. If a customer visits the CMS and doesn’t order, that action is logged in the CMS, loaded to the EMS, and once they order, they go into the SMS, which tells the CMS they are now a subscriber.

The tools available to us have come a long way in the past 20 years, and we’re proud to be the only CMS provider exclusive to the publishing industry that is also a CXMS. If you’d like to learn more about what we do and how we can help you increase your audience, revenue, and profits, schedule a call with a member of our executive team.

By Don Nicholas

Chief Executive Officer

During his decades long career, Don has worked with colleagues, clients and partners to design digital publishing and marketing systems for more than 300 magazines, newsletters, memberships, clubs, and events. Don currently serves as executive publisher for Cabot Wealth Network, Food Gardening Network, Financial Freedom Federation, I Like Crochet Network, I Like Knitting Network, and Recipe Lion Clubs. His team's Haven WordPress CXMS offers publishers the industry’s most flexible and robust online publishing and marketing platform. Don and his strategy team have served as management advisors for virtually every major niche publishing company in North America including Meredith, Hearst, Trusted Media Brands, and hundreds of independent for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He has managed and led educational events for MPA, SIPA, FIPP and Harvard University. He has authored numerous books and hundreds of articles on journalism, publishing, technology and marketing. Before founding Mequoda in 2004, he served as founder and chief executive officer for Blue Dolphin Magazines and Lighthouse Communications Group. He started his media career as a journalist and producer working for the Armed Forces Network aboard the USS Enterprise. Don holds degrees and certifications in organizational management, journalism and electrical engineering from Capella University, Sacramento State University, and the United States Navy.

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