Paid Subscribers

How to Attract More Paid Subscribers

Now is the time to focus on pricing, topics, and content quality

With ad spend shrinking in many markets, now is the time for publishers to start thinking about diversified revenue streams and how they are going to attract more paid subscribers in the coming year. Despite surging traffic this past spring, while people sheltered-in-place during the Covid-19 pandemic, many publishers haven’t seen the bump in paid subscribers they were hoping for.

Why is that, and what can publishers do to attract more paid subscribers today?

Many of the readers who showed up on local news websites in the spring came through search platforms like Google and Bing. The keyword optimization strategies that publishers put into place paid off, leading to a real bump in search traffic. According to data from the media measurement company comScore, overall visits to news websites rose 57% this spring.

Why didn’t many of the visitors who showed up for publishers’ Covid-19 coverage stick around and become subscribers? What else could publishers have done to turn those visitors into paid subscribers?

It seems clear now that many publishers did not do enough to prevent churn. Well placed CTAs would have gone a long way in encouraging new readers to become paid subscribers.

Email marketing has also been under-utilized by some digital publishers. Overlays and popups that invite visitors to enter their email addresses in exchange for exclusive content, or email newsletters focused on pandemic coverage, are proven ways to grow an email database. With that database of reader emails, publishers can launch automated marketing strategies designed to bring one-time visitors back into the fold.

Another way that publishers can attract more paid subscribers is by experimenting with different pricing tiers. Maybe not every visitor is willing to pay $10 or $20 per month for full access to a local news website. What about visitors who are interested in a specific section of the website, like sports to entertainment coverage? Publishers should have the flexibility to create multiple subscription packages at different price points.

Publishers who have podcasts or narrated audio articles should also consider special subscription packages for visitors who are primarily interested in audio content. Visitors can choose to bundle different subscription packages based on what they’re interested in, or they can pay for premium subscriptions and get access to everything that the publication has to offer.

The best way to determine which packages or pricing tiers are likely to attract the most paid subscribers is to conduct A/B testing. With A/B testing and multivariate experimentation, digital publishers can determine whether different options are more or less attractive to readers.

A/B testing can also help with topic selection. With so much going on in the world today, publishers have plenty of topics to write about. One of the keys to generating revenue from a publishing business is to write about the topics and the keywords that drive the most traffic to a website. Detailed analytics, coupled with A/B testing, can usually help publishers determine when certain topics and keywords attract more paid subscribers than others. If you want to generate as much revenue as possible from your site, then you should be focusing on the content topics that attract paid subscribers and pulling back on content that readers aren’t engaging with.

Of course, we all know that topic selection and keywords only go so far. While a publisher can bring readers to his or her website with search engine optimization (SEO), it takes great content to keep people coming back. In order to attract more paid subscribers, publishers need to put out high quality content about hot button topics on a regular basis. Having a publishing schedule and an editorial calendar is key, since paying subscribers want to know that they can return to the publication and find new articles each day.

Key Takeaways

The key to attracting paid subscribers is to publish high-quality content that readers can’t get anywhere else. Successful digital publishers utilize a combination of the following strategies to encourage new subscription sales:

  • Well-placed CTAs
  • Email marketing
  • Keyword tracking
  • A/B testing
  • Analytics
  • Scheduled publishing

To learn more about launching a successful subscription program, contact Web Publisher PRO.