How Often Should You Bill Your Subscription Customers? (Part Two)

In part one of this post, we covered the options that subscription businesses have today when it comes to billing customers. It’s important to achieve balance between the needs of the business and the preferences of customers. Having a flexible subscription management solution in place allows you to offer customers options that work for them. This makes sense, but you may not be completely sure what your customers’ preferences are.

Determining Customer Preferences

This is where a bit of market research could come in handy. You may want to communicate with a core group of subscribers and ask them what they believe the value of your product or service is, and how it best benefits them to pay for it.  An alternative method is to A/B test several price points and see which has the higher conversion rate. This kind of research is important because it can help you determine not only the best billing frequency but also the best price point. Be sure to consider the customer lifespan value: if you discover that a higher price has a lower customer conversion rate but higher customer lifetime value, it may make sense to go with a higher price.

Consider the “Freemium” Model

If you’re providing entertainment content, you may find that the “freemium” model works well. This means offering one tier of content for free but restricting access to premium features to paying subscribers only. It’s a good way to allow users to “test” whether they like your products or services before they commit to payment.

“Forced” Free Trials

Amazon Prime is the best example of this model. Most customers pay for Amazon on an annual basis, but they get the first month for free. In fact, there is no way to sign up for Amazon Prime and pay immediately…users must go through this first-month trial. It sends a strong message to customers: we’re so sure you’re going to get value from this service, that we’ll give it to you for free for a month. Audible, the audiobook service, immediately provides new subscribers with a free audiobook upon signing up.

A good place to start is to examine your competitors’ subscription details. How can you improve on them (while still making money, of course)? What need can you fill in subscribers that your competitors aren’t?

Communicate with Your Subscribers

Communicating with your subscribers is critical, which is why your cloud-based subscription management platform should allow you to extensively communicate with and market to your subscriber base. Subscription DNA’s communication tools allow you to easily engage in drip marketing, communications, and membership management.

How Often Should You Bill Your Subscription Customers? (Part 1)

It’s already been established that the “subscription economy” is upon us. Younger consumers, accustomed to subscribing to the services they need rather than purchasing them (up to and including cars, it seems), are looking for more ways to pay for only what they need. As companies switch to subscription billing, however, it’s worth taking some time to determine what your customers want in a subscription. Do they want to pay monthly? Annually? Quarterly? Or a la carte?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Different Billing Frequency?

There are benefits to a business with every subscription frequency. Annual recurring payment plans provide a full year of revenue upfront, easing cash flow concerns for the business. This is particularly important for a startup business. Annual billing guarantees customer retention for at least one year, and it eliminates the costs associated with monthly invoicing or collection issues. This is good for the business.

You do, however, need to consider what’s going to attract the most customers and keep them happy. Monthly recurring payment plans offer less risk to customers who may be skeptical of an upfront commitment, particularly with a new or high-risk product or service. The monthly model also provides a lower barrier to entry, which should increase customer acquisition, and makes the sales process shorter and more cost-effective.

If you’re selling products or services popular with young consumers, weekly, daily and even a la carte payments could encourage more spending.

Flexibility Is Easy with a Flexible Subscription Management Platform

As you can see, there are pros and cons to every model, so it’s important to evaluate the best fit for your business and your customers. To do so, you need to ensure you have a strong subscription management solution in place that will give you the flexibility you need to offer flexible subscription plans. This way, you can offer customers a choice in how they want to be billed.

Once you decide which types of subscriptions plan to offer, it is easy to set them up in a full-service, cloud-based subscription management solution like Subscription DNA. With our robust tools, you can administer all aspects of your subscription business. You can not only build your subscription billing process the way you want it but also communicate with target user groups, quickly mine and analyze numerous reports, view transactions, send customizable email auto responses, engage in marketing, track member login usage and statistics and more.

3 Reasons to Set-up a Paywall

As people have increasingly turned to the internet to find information, newspapers, and magazines have seen their circulations decline. One way that many companies have been able to make money in the internet age is by setting up paywalls.

A paywall is a system that requires users to pay to access online content. It can be configured in a variety of ways to allow users varying levels of access. Companies decide which type of paywall to use based on the type and quality of the content they offer and the goals they hope to achieve.

Why Set-up a Paywall?

The main reason to use a paywall is to generate revenue. With fewer people subscribing to newspapers and magazines, publishers can earn money by requiring users to pay to access their content online.

Having users pay for access to content instantly raises the value of that content in readers’ eyes. People assume that the content they need to pay for will be worth the money. Of course, that means that writers need to deliver, or people won’t pay.

Some companies allow users who have paid for access to their content to share it on social media. This is free advertising for the company that created it. If someone sees quality content that a friend posted on social media, he or she may go to the source and subscribe to get access to more content.

Types of Paywalls

The simplest type of paywall is a membership. Users pay a monthly or annual fee to access content on the website. A company can have an all-access membership or levels that offer different amounts of access at various prices. Using memberships can help businesses develop long-term relationships with readers.

A pay-per-view model requires users to pay to access individual pieces of content. This works best for content that is in high demand by a limited number of people, such as a scientific research paper or medical journal.

Some companies make their content free for a time to allow users to get a taste of what they have to offer. After the trial period is over, users can pay for a subscription. The goal is to give users enough time to get hooked on a site’s content and then generate revenue through subscriptions.

A metered paywall allows users to access a limited number of articles before needing to subscribe. As is the case with a free limited-time trial, a metered paywall is designed to get users hooked so they will be willing to pay to continue to have access to content on a regular basis.

Set-up a Paywall

With so many companies publishing content online and in print, businesses need to compete to capture people’s attention. A paywall can help your company attract and retain readers and generate income. Subscription DNA can help you set up a paywall to control access to your content and boost revenue. Contact us today to learn more.

Customization is Key to Subscription Customer Satisfaction

Why are consumers suddenly so in love with subscription services? After all, they’ve been around a long time. The difference is that 20 years ago, everyone who subscribed to a newspaper or magazine got the same newspaper and magazine. Fast-forward to 2018, and technology allows companies that offer subscriptions to tailor them to individual subscribers. They can even tailor their customer support to individual customer preferences. Customization is the exciting new pivot around which modern subscription business turns. There’s more than a little bit of psychology going on here. Customization can help customers be more satisfied with their choices.

“According to research on the psychology of consumer control and customization, we prefer personalized experiences because we want to feel in control of our lives and we want to reduce our information overload,” wrote digital content marketer Nicola Brown. “When we see our names on products, in ads, and in things like email communication, we may not actually have more control of our relationship with those brands, but we feel as though we do.”

Of course, once you’ve attracted customers, you need to keep them. Brown notes that with so much competition and high churn rates in the subscription world, strong content marketing is necessary to build long-term customer loyalty. Subscription companies must communicate with their subscriber base in a regular and timely way, with precisely the information and offers subscribers are seeking. A multichannel content marketing approach, carried out on a strong subscription management platform, is one of the most valuable ways to keep subscribers engaged and in control and help them feel they’ve made the best possible choices. Self-service features are key.

Allow Subscribers to Manage Their Accounts

To customize the subscriber experience, you’ll first need to capture the information. Subscription DNA’s membership management software allows you to quickly capture vital user information along with your custom fields for membership, event registration, sweepstakes, small, large or enterprise groups, licenses or seats. From here, you can use that information to personalize and customize the experience, whether group or individual.

Subscription DNA’s secure subscriber portal allows subscribers a variety of self-serve functionality for managing their own subscriptions, including account profile, payment methods, transaction history, and more, so subscribers can feel in control of the process. In addition, Subscription DNA’s web services API allows subscription companies to quickly develop their own solutions and push/pull their subscriber data on demand, into their application.

By giving customers more control of their subscription, you’re allowing them to feel as if they’re taking charge of the way they spend their subscription dollars. And there’s no better way to personalize a customer experience.

Contact Subscription DNA to learn more.

Improve Gym Subscriptions with Flexibility

woman lifting weights at gym

Gym memberships are often a joy of life, or a bane of existence, depending on who you speak to. How many of us (you don’t have to raise your hands) have had gym memberships that we never seem to get around to using? “I really need to go to the gym” is a common mantra, particularly after holidays noted for the consumption of large meals.

Tailor Gym Memberships for Real People

While it would be lovely if everyone had the willpower to do cardio and strength training four days a week like clockwork throughout the year, the truth is that people use gym memberships very cyclically. They may rev up in the new year only to fall back into couch potato mode by spring. They may wish to use the gym regularly before a wedding, high school reunion or beach vacation. They may wish to try a spinning class to see if they like it. They might be business travelers who’d like access to another gym location on trips. But flat subscriptions often don’t allow gym-goers to tailor their subscription to their needs. Maybe they should.

Consider a “Class Pass” Option

Specialty fitness programs such as spinning, yoga, cycling and boot camps, can be pricey (as much as $40 per class), and customers feel bad when they’ve paid for them but don’t end up using them. By offering gym members a “class pass” option to their gym subscription, they can pay for only what they use, ensuring that none of their money goes to waste. To boost gym member spending, you can even consider adding special deals for class passes (buy four classes, get one free.)

Offer Travelers Better Options

Many gym chains will allow subscribers to use their membership at any gym, but often for a steep monthly premium (as opposed to a membership centered around one club). For occasional travelers, this isn’t a cost-effective option. With a more flexible gym subscription, you can offer occasional travelers a limited number of visits to gyms in different locations to be used only when they need them.

Exercise-Specific Gym Subscriptions

Many gym members pay for their gym subscription for one reason only. Perhaps they only use the treadmill in bad weather. Maybe they only come for weight training and skip the cardio equipment. With a flexible subscription management platform, gyms can offer more limited subscriptions to gym-goers who resent having to pay for more than what they need. You can even add extra options to subscriptions such as towel usage, yoga mats or a smoothie after the workout, and bill for them only as they’re used.

Choose the Right Platform

A flexible subscription management platform can help businesses like gyms tailor subscriptions to subscribers’ needs. We provide all the tools you need to efficiently and affordably manage your subscription business, including billing, marketing, customer support and more. With our robust reporting tools, you can administer all aspects of your subscription business. Communicate with target user groups, quickly mine and analyze numerous reports, view transactions, send customizable email auto responses, track member login usage and statistics and much more.

Contact us today to learn more.