Membership marketing, paywalls and the Times

This post looks at what is happening to the traditional publishing model, and how subscriptions and membership marketing are now the focus of so many companies using the Internet.

Below, we list 16 great ways to monetise your online members, subscribers and prospects. For those who don’t believe Rupert Murdoch can make his Times / Sunday Times paywall work, read on.

If others have done it (and they have), so can he. The fact that his platform is news is irrelevant. News is just a feature of what the Times offers. The BENEFITS of membership are what sells a subscription and the more the better.

How membership marketing works

Some good reasons why membership and subscription marketing are now seen as the Holy Grail:

1. The traditional publishing model is broken
2. Direct marketing through the Internet is a low-cost activity
3. Almost every business now has, or needs, a website
4. The Internet is a highly effective way of building a prospect, membership or subscriber list
5. Membership marketing is a proven way to profitability

The advantages of membership marketing

Many industries are using the advantages of membership marketing.

While publishers were early adopters of the membership or subscription business model, many new industries, including investment, property, software, online gaming, and online music/video are discovering the important advantages that the membership model, both free and paid for, offers.

The items listed above can all be wrapped up into a great benefit package – and with the right approach successfully offered to readers of newspapers such as the Times and Sunday Times.

Membership website advantages include:

• More stable revenue stream – Good membership programs see
renewal rates of 75 percent or better. This means that 75 percent of next year’s revenue is already identified

• Improved sales with targeted offers – memberships can be easily bundled together to create different product offers for different target markets

• Improve product adoption – memberships and subscriptions spread the cost. The lower perceived product cost increases product trials

• Better upsell/cross sell opportunities – each membership or subscription transaction is an opportunity to build the customer’s profile, increase confidence in the supplier and upsell/cross-sell other products

• Increased customer retention – members or subscribers make a purchase decision only once. After that, he or she is just confirming a decision already made

• Lower customer retention costs – Marketing, sales, and collection efforts are greatly reduced when a membership is renewed

Online membership and subscription products and services are very popular indeed. In fact recent estimates indicate that nearly 45,000 membership products or services are being marketed online, and there are more than 120 million members or subscribers to online products and services in the United States alone.

Membership-based revenue model businesses offering content have very good prospects and their revenues estimates are they account for greater than 20% of all web revenues (it was that figure in 2005).

Membership website strategy: 16 extra benefits

Membership products and services allow members and subscribers to have access to up to 16 extra benefits in the form of online content. Most of these aren’t applicable to traditional print publications, but work very well online.

Any publisher who is wondering how to successfully monetise their membership, subscriber or prospect list should pick some of these:

• Membership communities
• Newsletters
• Ezines
• Email updates

• Discounts for events, products and entrance fees
• Dynamic content
• Digital content
• Downloads and files
• Pictures and graphics
• Audio and music
• Electronic reports
• TV, film and video
• Live news feed
• Software and Updates
• Application servers
• Expert advice

Subscriptions marketing: confidential information for sale, with four special reports free of charge

The Subscriptions Strategy newsletter publishes international case studies of ‘best practice’ marketing for the Internet, websites, newsletters, books and magazines etc.

As publishers ourselves, we live or die by results. If a promotion doesn’t work, we lose money. If it works we record the results and use it on our own, and our clients’ websites and publications.

Every issue of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter carries examples of successful marketing.

How you benefit by removing risk
As far as we are concerned, our testing means the difficult and costly part is over. As far as you are concerned, you can benefit from this tried and tested knowledge because the risk of failure has been removed and profitability is assured.

You will also find Subscriptions Strategy a great resource for training staff in all aspects of subscriptions marketing.

Please click on the link below for instant access to your subscriptions marketing starter pack. You receive:

1. 20% off the full price of an annual 6-issue subscription to the digital edition of the Subscriptions Strategy newsletter (a saving of £40)

2. Subscription Marketing Workbook worth £33: 15 Subscriptions Marketing Innovations Every Publisher Should Know

3. Subscriptions marketing ‘rapid update’: three special Subscriptions Strategy reports worth a total of £99 to bring you up to date with best practice marketing procedures for online and traditional subscription marketing

*Start now! Click here to order an annual subscription and collect your four special reports worth £132

You pay just £157, a total saving of £211. If the material does not come up to expectations, email, write or phone for a full refund. This guarantee is valid for the lifetime of your subscription and can be exercised at any time.