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Subscription Website Publishing

How to Succeed at Subscription Marketing by Creating Overwhelming Value

From time to time, it’s a good idea to sit down and think about the value proposition you provide prospective buyers in your subscription marketing efforts. When you are running a Six Sigma subscription marketing program, you will have ample opportunity to test your ideas. We at Mequoda have the privilege of marketing dozens of premium subscription products including magazines, newsletters and memberships that spark a myriad of ideas on how to create value.

Through our extensive experience in subscription marketing, we have found that there are three distinct ways to create overwhelming subscription value.

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1. Doing the math on the value of the digital library for subscription marketing

Whether your digital library includes issues, books or videos, the odds are it adds up to an overwhelming value proposition. Consider CLAYFlicks, the video library on the Ceramic Arts Network Website. The core content is drawn from an archive of high-quality ceramic arts instruction created by the folks at the American Ceramic Society and Ceramic Arts Network. Upon becoming a member, the user receives immediate access to over 75 courses that in total originally retailed for a whopping $3,186.15. For just $8.97 a month, the subscriber gets access to all of the new videos that are added each month – allowing a savvy copywriter to position the robust archive as a free gift available to all new members. The value of that archive continues to grow over time as new videos are added each month.

Potential subject lines that could be tested in your subscription marketing efforts would include:

  1. You’ve been gifted 10 years of CLAYflicks
  2. You’ve been gifted over 75 premium video courses
  3. You’ve been gifted $3,186.15 worth of premium video courses

There are probably dozens of other ways for you to state this overwhelming value proposition.

2. Calculating the value of subscription bundles

Another opportunity for spelling out overwhelming value exists around marketing a gold membership to the International Ceramic Arts Network (ICAN), which sells for just $12.97 per month. This is actually an amazing membership product that includes membership to four digital libraries, two print magazines, two tablet magazines and a bundle of standard membership benefits, formally known as Potters Council, which now makes up the standard membership package for ICAN.

When you add up the cost of the individual subscriptions to the four digital libraries, two print editions, two tablet editions, and standard membership, it amounts to $32.87 per month. This compares very favorably to the gold membership monthly price of just $12.97 – a savings of 60% off the individual memberships and editions if purchased separately.

Once again, a savvy copywriter in subscription marketing would be thinking about headlines that might include:

  • You can save 60% percent when you join today
  • You can save almost $20 per month when you join today
  • You’ve been gifted today

3. Adding up the value of an all-access membership

Even publishers with a single magazine have the opportunity to create overwhelming value. One of our favorite recent simple multiplatform offers can be illustrated by looking at one of the two magazines offered by the American Ceramic Society. Ceramics Monthly is available as a web magazine, a print magazine, and a tablet magazine.

If you add up the value that is clearly spelled out by offering each of these editions separately, you can create a value statement that compares very favorably to the all-access membership price of $4.97 dollars. We’ve used this pricing strategy regularly across our portfolio of premium subscription products with very consistent results. Without fail, the all-access membership is selected by 40% to 70% of new members.

A savvy subscription marketing copywriter might consider headlines that include:

  • Save 53% when you join today
  • Save $5.50 when you join today
  • Get our print and tablet editions for just $11 dollars per year (this amount would be the difference between the cost of the web edition and the all-access membership, typically between $5 and $12 for consumer products).

Offering digital editions of your legacy content alone won’t begin to generate the flood of revenue made possible by purposefully spelling out the overwhelming value proposition for prospective subscribers and members. The cost of digital delivery combined with the vast archives owned by most legacy publishers offers an opportunity to completely reinvent your value proposition.

You can implement a more effective subscription marketing program using the principles of economic behaviorism and our proprietary Six Sigma marketing strategies.

By Kim Mateus

Chief Strategy Officer

Kim Mateus is Chief Strategy Officer for Mequoda Systems and the Mequoda Systems Content Network where she oversees strategic planning for the organization's 200 plus premium subscription products. Over the past decade, she has guided the development of more than 20 subscription marketing systems including I Like Crochet Network, New England Network and Your AAA Network. She and her team maintain an exhaustive best practices database of subscription marketing techniques and business processes that she uses to advise her clients and optimize the more than 60 websites that make up the Mequoda Systems Content Network. Kim is a frequent speaker at industry events and serves on the board of the Specialized information Publishers Association.

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