Get Free Email Updates | Have an Account?
  • Free email newsletter
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS Feed

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.

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.



Learn how to choose the best subscription pricing & single-copy pricing strategy for your subscription websites & subscription apps when you download a FREE copy of How to Use Contrast Pricing to Increase Subscription Revenue.


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. To learn how to create one 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? In the words of David Ogilvy, “a good advertisement is one that sells the product without drawing attention to itself.” When selling subscriptions, one of the best ways to do so is by giving away enough content that it sells itself, but not so much that visitors don’t convert into subscribers. That’s why most of the successful publishers we know are using a metered paywall. 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 massive 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 30- or 60-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 CMS. 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 CMS 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.

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 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.

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.

Posted in Subscription Website Publishing

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *