Subscription Model Driving Demand for Cloud-based Subscription Management

As consumers become more comfortable paying for goods and services via the subscription model, demand has increased significantly for cloud billing software. Customers want subscriptions – it eliminates the hassles of purchases, returns and ownership – and companies want to increase opportunities for profit and business flexibility while still keeping control of costs. Cloud billing solutions offer the benefits of cloud technology to the subscription business model. This is leading to the technology’s increased adoption across several industry verticals.

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Cloud-based Subscription Management Software

Cloud-based subscription management and billing solutions such as SubscriptionDNA are scalable (so they can grow with your business as needed, or expand and contract with business cycles) and allow for streamlining of the billing process, which helps improve customer satisfaction. Cloud billing solutions also lower upfront costs for companies engaging in the subscription model, since real-time, multi-tenant billing systems are maintained by the solution company. (This reduces companies’ need for IT resources.) Cloud-based subscription platforms enable billing accuracy and management of large volumes of data in real-time without the headaches of maintaining the back end. Companies can also use them to implement paywalls for premium content.

New research has shown that the demand for cloud billing for customer subscription management will grow at a double-digit rate for the foreseeable future. Driving this growth is the increasing need for reducing operating expenditure as well as customer preference. While much of the growth will be in media and entertainment sectors, the subscription model is also being embraced for cars, prepared meals, clothing, personal care products, pet supplies and more. In preparation for this subscription-based economy, companies need to be prepared to put a robust and reliable billing and communications foundation in place.

Integrate Subscription Functions

SubscriptionDNA provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls, and authentication, providing customized front-end options so customers can log in and manage their own accounts. Companies can use the solution to automate recurring invoicing, analyze and report, communicate with subscribers, engage in email marketing, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and more.

Contact us today to learn how SubscriptionDNA can help your business.

Tips for Launching a Successful Subscription Business

There’s a reason why more companies than ever are interested in launching subscription-based business models: recurring revenue rather than one-time revenue from a now-and-again purchase.

“Recurring revenue — the main benefit of the subscription business model — will help improve the value of your business, provide a steady cash flow, and make your business a lot more predictable,” wrote John Warrillow for Inc. magazine.

But launching a subscription business is harder than just waving a magic wand. For starters, you need to figure out how to translate your offerings to a subscription model and find a way to serve the greatest number of customers possible. You also need to support them adequately. Following are some issues to consider before launching your subscription-based business.

Remember that Subscription Billing Is Time-Consuming

If you’re still billing and invoicing by hand, moving to a subscription business is going to be tricky. Customers will need to be billed monthly (or quarterly), and they may be subscribing to different tiers of service, so things are going to get complex. It’s recommended that you put an automated subscription billing solution in place that bills automatically and securely, but also allows customers to make single one-time payments. It’s important that you’re able to accept multiple payment methods and rebill automatically if a payment fails the first time. (It might save you some administrative headaches later!)

Ensure That You Are Flexible

One of the challenges to launching a subscription business today is convincing customers to lock into a contract. Customers today don’t like to sign on the bottom line if they’re not sure that a company is going to deliver, so be sure to have options such as free trials, lower tiers of service and easy cancellation. Trouble-shoot their problems before they have to ask for help with proactive customer outreach.

Proper Subscription Management Helps Ensure Success

Once you’ve launched your new subscription business, you’ll need to manage it, and engage in careful customer support and retention. You’ll need to be able to work with subscribers from multiple perspectives so you can answer their questions, show them the benefit of upgrades to greater tiers of service (if that’s part of your business) and reach out to them when appropriate. You’ll also need a method of gathering data for the purpose of analysis and reporting to measure the health of your business.

Ensure You Have the Right Subscription Management Solution

Subscription DNA provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that creatively integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls and authentication. We provide customized front-end options, so you can ensure that it’s easy for your customers to log in and manage their own accounts.

Subscription DNA gives you everything you need to automate recurring invoicing, analyze and report, communicate with targeted user groups, engage in email marketing, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and more.

Get started today!

Customer Support is Critical to Subscription Success

When we hear the word “subscription,” we tend to think of magazines. Pay your fee once a year, and a new copy of “National Geographic” arrives in your mailbox each month. But the business model of subscriptions is an increasingly popular one, and now can be applied to everything from cars to wine to clothing to Legos. Younger generations of Americans are not as keen on ownership as older Americans: they like the idea of paying for only what they use, read, watch, drive and wear. They like the variety subscriptions offer. More companies are offering “box” subscription services in which items are shipped, tried out and used or returned for more things.

Customer Support in the Subscription Economy

Because the subscription business model is often more complex and has more moving parts than a purchase model, customer support becomes more challenging, according to Brad Birnbaum writing for Forbes. Companies need to be more careful about “listening” to customers, so this means social media monitoring and dedicated customer support agents.

“Subscription brands need to know what their customers are saying on social to find out if they’re connecting,” wrote Birnbaum. “They need to know if a customer has downgraded their service, and work to find out why.”

Each Interaction Is an Opportunity to Build Loyalty

When you build your customer support infrastructure, remember that subscriptions customers will need to communicate with you more frequently, and they’ll also expect your customer support agents to be experts, according to Birnbaum.

“With great knowledge of your customers comes great responsibility, and that responsibility falls to your agents,” wrote Birnbaum. “Instead of simply solving problems and answering tickets, they need to become makeup stylists, fashion advisors, and pet experts. In other words, agents have to become consultants. Only with that level of deep engagement can they connect with customers and anticipate potential pain points while surprising and delighting them when it counts most.”

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To achieve this, you may have to change your hiring practices and engage in more in-depth training on both hard “product” skills and soft skills like deescalating the ire of an angry customer.

You Need a Solid Platform to Build a Subscription Business

Customers like subscriptions because they offer them options, so be sure you’re doing just that and not boxing your customers in, forcing them to shop and pay for things the way you want them to.

A good subscription management platform like Subscription DNA, a software-as-a-service solution that provides subscription billing and membership management, is essential. Using the suite, organizations offering subscriptions can have a single administrative console to manage accounts, automate recurring invoices, analyze reports, communicate with targeted user groups, engage in email marketing, process transactions, generate payment requests, and track member login statistics.

Communicating with your subscription customers – and making it easy for them to communicate with you – will help you improve the quality of customers support you provide. By becoming proactive rather than reactive, you’re better positioned to give your customers what they want when they ask…or even before they ask.

Contact Subscription DNA for more information on our subscription management features.

Is Your Subscription Management Tool Feature-Rich?

While there are a number of solutions that allow companies embracing the subscription economy to manage their subscriptions or add paywalls to their content, not all of them have the tools necessary to fully manage, maintain, promote and market subscriptions.

Before you consider a subscription management solution, determine if you need the following features:

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Automated recurring billing

Look for a billing tool that allows you to start processing in minutes, and can be set to bill at whatever frequency works best for your business.

Subscription management reporting

Robust reporting filters can allow you to stratify reports in whatever way works best for you, locate your results and efficiently manage your subscriber base.

Customized and automated communication tools

You’ll want to communicate regularly with your subscribers, so choose a solution that allows you to send emails to specific subscribers and groups, and customize ready-made auto-responders.

Group member support

If you’re offering groups, classes, or events, make sure the solution you choose supports and has a variety of options for managing members.

Adding paywalls

A paywall can be a highly viable way of securing regular revenue. Ensure customers can sign up and pay right from your website. Look for a solution that validates users to allow access to your premium content.

 

At SubscriptionDNA, one of our best assets is our flexibility and willingness to customize subscription solutions for each client. We can help clients plan and execute solutions and campaigns that fit the way they do business, and the way customers do business with them. Clients can use our flexible REST API to customize the solution, or have us do it.

Some of our platform’s highlights include:

  • We have recently integrated individual webinar signups with webinar third-party APIs to automatically add users and trigger the webinar invite to the user.
  • We can dynamically print multi-page PDF files with unique member cards, course certificates and watermarked reports.
  • We can create custom export data such as shipping labels and package slips, all unique to each client.

Our software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) provides companies with all the tools they need, including billing and marketing, to efficiently and affordably manage their subscription businesses. To find out how we can customize subscription tools to your business, contact us today.

Understanding the Difference Between Subscription, Membership and Donation Revenue

Content providers today are struggling to find a revenue model that works for them. There are a variety of ways that news organizations, publications and other content providers can make money. These include advertising, corporate underwriting, foundation funding, article syndication, events, affiliate programs, merchandise, and sales of additional products such as books or white papers. Increasingly, however, publishers and other content providers are turning to direct revenue.

 

What’s Direct Revenue?

Rather than relying exclusively on advertising (once the model for most online content), more companies are turning directly to readers or site users to fund them, and creating a mix of direct and non-direct revenue. There are three types of direct revenue, according to Elizabeth Hansen and Emily Goligoski writing for Columbia Journalism Review. They include donation, subscription and membership.

  • A donation model encourages audiences to give their time or money to an institution in support of a common cause or common values. Donation conveys a charitable relationship.
  • A subscription model requires audiences to pay money to get access to a product or service. Subscription conveys an ongoing transactional relationship.
  • A membership model invites audiences to give their time, money, connections, professional expertise, distribution to their networks, and/or ideas to support a cause they believe in. Membership represents two-way knowledge exchange between journalists and members.

When Is Subscription the Best Choice?

A subscription model can work best for media or content outlets providing highly specialized information that readers can’t find anywhere else. (In other words, if you’re laying out celebrity gossip, don’t count on readers to pay for something they can find easily elsewhere.)reading magazines

“For publications with subject-area or region-specific journalism and a strong audience base in their coverage areas, a product-based subscription offering can work,” wrote Hansen and Goigoski. “If readers, listeners, and/or viewers see a site’s news and analysis as providing enough unique value, subscription might be a viable revenue strategy. A subscription strategy can work especially well for publications with strong institutional audiences in specific industries and when subscribers’ employers can pay the cost of work-relevant media.”

A Platform for Managing Direct Revenue

To get the most out of adding direct revenue to your income mix, look for a subscription management platform that’s easy to use (for subscribers) and easy to manage (for you). Subscription DNA is a software-as-a-service platform that allows users to integrate subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls and authentication in one place. It can help you avoid rookie mistakes and optimize your pricing model for your subscriptions (by offering multiple tiers, for example).

Managed properly, a direct revenue channel added to your existing indirect revenue mix can significantly boost your income, allowing you to provide better and more in-depth content to customers willing to pay for it.

Get in touch today!