10 Little-Known Subscription Business Model Facts That Can Increase Revenue

These subscription business model facts will help you take a new look at your current approach to subscription marketing.

subscription business model facts

Most of the subscription business model facts you usually hear likely pertain to percentages and numbers that don’t apply to you and instead reflect someone else’s business. But the ten facts below give you permission to take a step toward progress in subscription marketing and try things from a new angle.

1. You can increase revenue per order by offering different tiers and by pricing your most expensive tier close to the second-most-expensive tier. This is called “decoy pricing” or “contrast pricing.” Learn more about it in Decoy Pricing: The Biggest Little Secret in the Publishing World.

2. You can sell more subscriptions by creating overwhelming value. Whether your digital library includes issues, books, or videos, the odds are that it adds up to an overwhelming value proposition. Consider one of our publishing partners who has a video library, which was created from an archive of high-quality instructional videos. 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 subscription as a no-brainer. The value continues to grow over time as new videos are added each month. Read more about this in How to Succeed at Subscription Marketing by Creating Overwhelming Value.


3. You can increase subscriber engagement and keep them renewing longer by creating special collections. These are pages within your web magazine library where you curate content based on different topics. Learn more about creating special collections in How to Create “Special Collections” in a Web Library that Attract and Retain More Subscribers.

4. You can sell more subscriptions through email by using Six Sigma email marketing. This is based on the principle that you are always using copies in your email campaigns that convert best. By rotating through a set of best-performing promotions regularly, you can drop the underperforming ones and introduce new promotions. By systematically promoting your subscription product in this way, you will always have the best possible conversion rates. Read How to Use Six Sigma for Subscription Offer Testing to learn more.

5. You can increase traffic to your archives with Library Previews. These are pages that focus on a singular topic and give a sneak peek at a collection of related articles. The reader is prompted to read each article after the summary, which can engage existing subscribers or convert non-subscribers. In fact, Library Previews are dual purpose: they can be sent through email to existing subscribers to increase engagement, and they can be sent to non-subscribers to tease content they’ll get access to when they subscribe. Additionally, they can be published to your free content portal to drive traffic through SEO and social media. These aren’t just subscription business model facts, they’re a lifeline. To learn how to create Library Previews for your subscription product, read How to Write a Library Preview That Converts.

6. You can organize revenue models and content better if you understand how to build a subscription marketing system. The most successful publishers we know don’t stop at a magazine or newsletter subscription business model. They also have books, events, and courses, and incorporate all of them into a successful subscription marketing system. To learn how others are doing it, read What is a Subscription Marketing System.

7. You can use a metered paywall to get the best of both worlds. Want traffic through SEO, but don’t want to give away the whole boat? For most niche publishers, we recommend a hybrid strategy where they dedicate their website portal to giving away content that is always 100% free and open to visitors. This helps support their audience development efforts from multiple channels including search engines, social media and link building. From there, they put their premium magazine and library archive content behind a metered paywall. This allows content that was never SEO’d to now contribute to the website’s overall search engine footprint and allows successful interlinking between the free portal content and the premium magazine and library archive content. Read 10 Tips to Convert Metered Paywall Visitors into Subscribers to learn more.

8. You can use the word “free,” and you should. You may have been told “free” is a dirty word; however, giving away something for free is one of the best ways to start a relationship, and when it comes to selling subscription products and offer testing, this strategy has proven to be a big asset to the marketing mix. Such is especially true when the free product is assigned a value. In publishing, you have the opportunity to offer incredible value with a 14- or 30-day free trial to a web magazine and library because you are providing the subscriber access to thousands of articles for what is zero cost to you. Selling access is very different from selling print, which allows us to change the conversation with subscribers. Here, we can emphasize the value of getting access to an archive. This often includes issues that have been sold out for years and are unavailable in any other way. Learn more in Free Isn’t a Dirty Word in Offer Testing.

9. You should avoid a one-size-fits-all CXMS. The publishers who know how to use them often fail to grow, and if they don’t, they are frustrated. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all content management system. The best CXMS for a magazine should be built with a publisher in mind. After all, you have a different business model than a software company, e-tailer, or a small business, so you shouldn’t be using the same software. Read How To Find the Best CMS for a Magazine, which discusses the difference between a CMS for everybody, and a CXMS for publishers.

10. You can outsource subscription marketing management. For most companies that don’t have a large internal marketing and analytics team, it’s next to impossible to follow a strategic, comprehensive marketing plan. Instead, we see a lot of failed attempts at great ideas because they take too much work to implement. If you want to see the results of some of the best marketing strategies for subscription publishers, delegate it to the experts and watch the revenue roll in. If you need more convincing, read 3 Reasons Why It’s Worth Outsourcing Subscription Marketing Management.

What else would you add to this list of subscription business model facts?


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