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Checking In on the Rising Popularity of the Subscription Model

With paywall models on the rise, here’s how to nurture your subscriber base

Even though 2022 is beginning to wind down, the rise of digital subscriptions certainly isn’t. As the holiday season quickly approaches, let’s take a look at the current state of the subscription model and the benefits that a smart paywall approach can bring to your business.

The rise of subscription marketing hasn’t shown any sign of slowing. It’s estimated that in the past nine years, the subscription economy has grown 435%, and is on its way to becoming a $1.25 trillion market by 2025. Data shows us that the average American spends $273 per month on digital subscriptions. While that may seem like a lot, when you think about everything from Amazon and Netflix to food delivery and digital news paywalls, subscriptions make up a significant portion of daily life.

Data from Sell Courses Online.

Recently, The New York Times announced it added 180,000 digital-only subscribers in the third quarter of 2022, bringing its total subscribers to 9.33 million. The newspaper said it remains on pace to reach its goal of 15 million subscribers by 2027. Additionally, since his purchase of Twitter, Elon Musk said he plans to prioritize Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, which would include charging verified users for their coveted blue profile checkmark.

How to Nurture a Subscriber Base

So, with every outlet from traditional news to social media platforms looking to enhance their subscription models, how do you grow a subscriber base of your own? Like almost every facet of content marketing, the best way to succeed with a subscription model is to provide quality content that adds value to your readers’ life — and that includes creating plenty of reasons for them to come back.

If you can create resonating content that readers know they can count on, they are more likely to take out their credit card to make sure they don’t miss out on anything new. However, committing your site to a paywall model doesn’t mean you will convert every reader to your site. Matt Skibinski, Reader Revenue Advisor at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, says it’s more beneficial to focus on growing your dedicated audience, including those readers who consume multiple pages on your site, open your newsletters, and interact with your social channels.

From the Lenfest Institute. Sourced from What’s New In Publishing.

Finding these engaged, loyal readers is the springboard that can launch your site into a successful subscription model. Recent data from Chartbeat found that in Northern Europe, 40% of traffic in the first quarter of 2022 came from what Chartbeat calls “loyal readers.” A loyal reader is someone that returns to your site at least 50% of the days in a two-week period.

Easily Reach Your Loyal Readers

Once you identify who is willing to reach your content behind a paywall, it’s important to identify how to reach them. The best way to figure this out is by diversifying your revenue streams to see what works best.

Here’s an example of common subscription features:

  • Free Trials: Create one-day, weekly, or monthly subscription plans.
  • Coupon Codes: Use promotional codes to give access to strategic partners and complement B2B deals.
  • B2B Subscriptions: Use email domain matching to sell access to companies.
  • Testing Powered by Data: Make sure you have the ability to test and track what works, what doesn't, and how to better cater to your readers' needs.

RebelMouse is a next-generation CMS that can help you build a subscription experience that's designed for both the modern user who wants an optimized site experience and the modern publisher who relies on paywall revenue to survive. We offer easy, customizable paywall models that include every common subscription feature mentioned above and more.

In the past, there was a stigma around paywalls that signaled they were only sustainable for large publishers with massive audiences already in place. But that’s all changed now. Take advantage of the subscription model’s increasing popularity with RebelMouse. Request a proposal today to get started.

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