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How to Succeed at Subscription Marketing by Creating Overwhelming Value

Creating an abundance of value within your subscription products is the key to subscription marketing and transforming your publishing business in the digital age

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 more than 100 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

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 $3186.15. 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 $3186.15 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 additions 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 additions, 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 additions 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 dollars when you join today
  • Get our print and tablet additions 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.

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.

Meet Us in Plymouth and Learn
How to Double Your Publishing Revenue

Join other senior publishing executives at the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop—where you’ll learn how to plan, execute, and optimize a profitable magazine-driven membership marketing system. And how to double your publishing revenue!

Secure your registration now, while seats are available and Early-Bird Registration is open.

Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

May 20-21, 2020
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Plymouth, Massachusetts

This two-day membership marketing secrets workshop is intense—it’s not for the faint-of-heart, and it’s only for magazine publishing senior executives who have the vision and resources to grow their businesses.

This event is also for curious publishing executives who want the membership marketing secrets for publishers revealed—so that profits, growth, efficiency, and total transformation will power a magazine business that leads the industry and is the envy of competitors and collaborators alike.

You’re familiar with the growth and prominence of the emerging membership economy—you can see it daily as you interact with Amazon, Netflix, or even your local gym. And luckily, magazine publishers can learn a lot from others who have “paved the way” to condition consumers to buy memberships.

This is no fad, it’s a bona-fide trend that you should know about, understand, and latch on to membership marketing secrets for your own business’ purposes.

You should first know what isn’t a secret—having a metered paywall at your website. Yes, thanks to many news-oriented publishers, metered paywalls have become commonplace and are a powerful way to showcase your premium content and convert website visitors into buyers.

But having a metered paywall is not a secret. Who doesn’t know about metered paywalls or already have one for their content?

And simply having a website where you publish content is not the answer to staying competitive these days … let alone blowing your competition out of the water.

For that, you need to attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop! You’ll not only learn about the membership marketing secrets, but you’ll also discover all the online publishing myths that often distract or derail many publishers from keeping their eyes on the prize—growth and profits!

When you attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll be among the publishing industry’s elite—those who are ahead of the trends and will know exactly how to optimize your publishing efforts, based on the latest business intelligence. There will be plenty of time for networking, too, so you can get to know your fellow publishing professionals!

The 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Magazine Publishers

So that you don’t have to wait until our event, here’s a list of 7 membership marketing secrets:

  1. Web Magazine
  2. Web Magazine Library
  3. Curated Special Collections
  4. Leveraging Existing Content Platforms
  5. Content Previews
  6. Email Marketing Frameworks
  7. Landing and Offer Page Frameworks

And of course, much of the “secret” is not just having a list, but fully understanding what’s behind these secrets and learning what to do about them, so that your own publishing system is in alignment with all these secrets.

When you come to the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll learn about all of these in detail—and you’ll learn how to plan, execute, measure, and optimize your very own magazine-driven membership marketing system.

I promise you this now, too—when you register and attend our event, you’ll get 3 bonus membership marketing secrets. And while my colleagues prefer me to hold these bonus secrets back until you register, I can tell you they involve growing your audience, growing customer engagement, and growing revenue.

You’re probably wondering how I can make the claim that you’ll double your revenue when you register for our Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop. Well, Mequoda has been around for more than 15 years—and we’ve helped many magazine publishers over that time, including Prime Publishing, Yankee Magazine and Hearst Magazines … and we’ve counted AAA Northeast and the Biblical Archaeology Society as clients (non-profit membership organizations that both have magazines!).

The Agenda for Discovering the 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Publishers

You’ll leave this event with a clearer vision and plan for transforming your magazine publishing business. Here is the agenda for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

Wednesday, May 20

  • Creating a New, Successful Membership Product
  • 3 Ways to Build Your Audience Marketing Database
  • Offer- & Price-Testing Strategies for Maximizing Revenue
  • How to Organize and Outsource Your Business Processes

Thursday, May 21

  • Building an Integrated Membership Marketing System
  • 4 Key Metrics for Measuring Your Success
  • Modeling and Budgeting Your Five-Year Plan
  • 3 Bonus Membership Marketing Secrets Revealed

For a full description of all the sessions, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

This entire membership marketing secrets event will be led by me, Kim Mateus, as Chief Strategy Officer at Mequoda Systems. In 2004, I started with Mequoda as employee #2, and have since overseen strategic planning for many of Mequoda’s publishing partners. Having guided the development of more than 20 subscription and membership marketing systems, my team and I monitor and maintain a robust best-practices database of marketing techniques and business processes that helps power all Mequoda partner marketing programs. My focus on client content strategies is a natural extension of my journalism education and background.

And here is a high-level summary of the entire Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

WHO: Besides senior executives like you from magazine publishing companies, the Mequoda Systems team who will join me at this membership marketing secrets event are veteran publishing professionals themselves—you’ll have plenty of time for networking with your fellow publishing executives and with the Mequoda Systems team:

  • Don Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Dugan, Chief Copywriter
  • Nancy Horan, Chief Systems Officer
  • Eileen Shea, Content Marketing Director
  • Norann Oleson, Analytics Director

WHEN: May 20-21 (it’s NEVER too early to sign up!)

WHERE: Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts

For inn room reservations at preferential rates for our attendees, click here or call 833-MIRBEAU (833-647-2328) for room reservations.

WHY: Because the magazine publishing world is fast-changing and keeping up with trends can be a full-time job—this membership marketing secrets event will help you focus on only the key initiatives that will help drive growth for your business.

For a full description of all the sessions, speakers, and the venue for this event, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

I’d tell you to “mark your calendar” for this event, but if you only do that you might miss out—we only have a limited number of seats for this exclusive event, so sign up right now.

I hope to see you in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, in May 2020!


Kim Mateus
Chief Strategy Officer, Mequoda Systems
Program Leader, Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

P.S. If you already know that this event is for you, sign up right now while seats are still available (this is a small event—we really only have space for a few dozen people). Register now for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop!

P.P.S. Prefer not to wait until 2020 to benefit from all these membership marketing secrets? If you have a sizable team at your organization who should hear all about this, email me at and let’s chat about accelerating the process for you and bringing this membership marketing secrets workshop on-site at your company.

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