5 Steps to Building a Successful Digital Subscription Business

September 15, 2020

Despite the global effects of the pandemic, the rise in subscription rates has further proved the resilience of the media landscape. It also emphasized that audiences are in fact, willing to pay for good content, provided the quality is high.

And we don’t anticipate this trend to change.

With more and more organizations thinking about -- or moving to -- content monetization strategies, it begs the question of “what is the right way to begin?” The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and as we’ve learned from myriad publishers over the years, building the right types of experiences that motivate consumers to subscribe is crucial, but checking five boxes before you begin, can help your program down the right path.

Step 1: Know Your Core

Saying you have to “know your audience” is obvious. But to earn their trust (and subsequently, their investment), you’ll need more insight beyond knowing they like to read the sports page. Who is visiting and why, and what else are they reading besides your content?

Step 2: Determine Your Product

While metered paywall and freemium models once dominated, hybrid versions that feature elements of both are becoming more popular, with machine learning technology allowing digital publishers to place the right offer in front of the right user at the right time. Whichever model you ultimately choose, you’ll want to maximize engagement at every step, which means understanding which types of visitors align with a variety of offers and content.

Step 3: Focus on Engagement

Visitors frequently view multiple offers, multiple times, before choosing to subscribe. You will need to learn how to customize those experiences by building a library of offers and tactics that encourage engagement. In fact, you can earn more revenue per user by customizing their offers, as well as inspiring them to take the next best action based on their site behavior.

Step 4: Name Your Price

The first thing to know about subscription pricing: there is no exact right price, but there are plenty of wrong ones. Bad pricing decisions — whether you go too low or too high — are often made when a price point is out of line with your audience and goals. Audience research and modeling of revenue scenarios will help you come to a price range that makes sense for your product.

Step 5: Prepare for Launch

A successful subscription business relies on audience engagement, strong messaging and the right pricing. It also depends on a user-friendly experience, quality content and the right technology to fuel the entire thing. Start by launching with the best strategy you can assemble. You shouldn’t get so caught up in perfection that you never put it into action. Keep in mind that your product will change over time anyway, and you want to adapt your business strategy as the product and its capabilities evolve with time. 

If you read this far then you’re probably seriously considering a subscription strategy. We dive into these topics deeply, uncovering years of data and best practices, on how to successfully plan, launch and grow a subscription program in our latest guide Subscriptions 101 :The Complete Guide to Building a Successful Digital Subscription Business to start accelerating your subscription plans.

Previous Flipbook
Driving Digital Contributions: a Case Study with Der Standard
Driving Digital Contributions: a Case Study with Der Standard

Driving Digital Contributions: a Case Study with Der Standard.

Next Article
5 Ways to Turn Window Shoppers Into Subscribers
5 Ways to Turn Window Shoppers Into Subscribers

For publishers to see maximum value from rising reader revenue they’ll need to develop a smart pricing and ...