Lock your highest-quality content behind a paywall, and use these strategies to increase subscription revenue in 2020.
The writing is on the wall. The path toward financial sustainability for digital publishers almost always involves some type of paid subscription product. In an effort to decrease their reliance on digital advertising and meet their financial goals, publishers are adapting their business strategies and launching subscription programs.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just setup a basic paywall and then wait for subscription revenue to start rolling in. The majority of publishers launching subscription programs right now are doing it wrong. As a result, they’re actually making it harder to succeed and making it harder to increase subscription revenue.
Some of the biggest mistakes we see digital publishers making when they launch online subscription products are:
- Underestimating the level of commitment it takes to make subscription programs work
- Unwillingness to give up any online traffic or advertising revenue
- Reluctance to make adjustments once subscription programs have launched
- Lack of commitment to making a subscription business model work
With the new year upon us, now is the time to take a close look at your subscription products and make the adjustments that are necessary to increase subscription revenue. Here are four key tactics that digital publishers should consider:
Tactic 1: Strengthen Your Community
If your regular readers are only lukewarm about the content that you publish, then a subscription program is never going to work. In order for this business model to succeed, you need to have loyal readers who are passionate about your content.
Try not to get fixated on long-form articles. It’s possible that your audience is actually more interested in video or email newsletters. Do the legwork ahead of time to discover which topics and forms of content your readers are passionate about, then create as much of those types of content as possible. The content you create needs to be good enough that people are willing to pay for it. If not, then your subscription program is dead in the water.
Tactic 2: Stop Giving Away Content for Free
Why would people pay for a subscription to your publication if they can consume the same content for free? It’s understandable that many publishers are worried about the traffic they’re giving up by locking their content behind hard paywalls. If your publication still relies on display advertising, then you might be worried about taking a financial hit there, too. Ultimately, though, it is going to be much harder to run a subscription program when you give away content for free on your website or mobile app. If you want to increase subscription revenue in 2020, you must lock down more content behind a paywall.
Tactic 3: Consider the Three-Tier Method
If you want to increase subscription revenue in 2020 without locking all of your content behind a hard paywall, consider the three-tier approach.
In the first tier, you’ve got free content that’s designed to pull new readers in and generate awareness about your publication. This is where you’ll build your remarketing lists. In the second tier, you’ve got lead magnets designed specifically to bolster your email marketing programs. In the final tier, you’ve got exclusive content that is available only to subscribers. This content is locked behind a paywall, and readers need a username and password to get in.
The content in Tier 3 should be your best content. It needs to be so good that people will pull out their credit cards and pay to access it.
Tactic 4: Strengthen Your Platform
Slow load times, broken links, and email confirmations that never arrive can all make it harder to increase subscription revenue. Even if you have done everything else right when setting up your subscription program, running your website on an outdated or otherwise faulty platform will make it harder to keep readers engaged. Some content management systems don’t even allow for paywalls. Or, the paywalls they do allow for are porous and they don’t function like they should.
If you are serious about increasing subscription revenue, you need to use a content management system that’s designed for digital publishing. Cloud-based CMS platforms like WordPress are easier for publishers to manage, and they’re constantly updated as new technologies are rolled out. It’s unrealistic to expect to run a profitable subscription program using outdated technology.
To learn more about the benefits that come with migrating your website to WordPress, get in contact with the digital publishing experts at Web Publisher PRO.