Paywalls Help News Outlets Maintain Profits as Ad Revenues Decline


The publishing industry has changed radically in the last decade, and publishers – particularly those following stately old journalistic models such as The Washington Post and the New York Times – have struggled in the past to keep up. Newspapers and journals are still sinking a lot of money into creating quality content, and they’re seeing a lot of ad revenue lost to fly-by-night content that’s superficial and cheap to produce. Once upon a time, the idea of putting up a paywall around media content made publishers nervous. They believed that the paywall drove would-be readers into the arms of free media.

Luckily, the tide is changing. The election of 2016 has driven up newspaper readership significantly (the Washington Post reports it has tripled its readership),and established publications are finding themselves center-stage again. These organizations are feeling a little more confident about putting walls around their valuable and respected content, and readers are beginning to realize that you get what you pay for.

Content Worth Paying For

You don’t need to be The Chicago Tribune to feel that your content is worth paying for. Readers, once shy of paying for content, are getting more used to the idea. A report commissioned by the Reuters Institute last year found that there has been a surge in the number of Americans, particularly younger readers, prepared to pay for online news, growing from nine percent to 16 percent, along with a tripling of news donations. This report, and others, found that readers all over the world are embracing newer ways to pay for content rather than blanket subscriptions: per-article, one-off purchases of single editions or even voluntary donations.

“The most commonly cited reasons for paying are to get access on mobile devices, because of a good deal or print/digital bundle, or because people like to consume news from a range of sources that includes paid-for providers,” wrote research fellow Richard Fletcher of the Reuters Institute.

Subscription Management Services

Custom subscription management platforms like SubscriptionDNA make it easy for content providers to reap revenue from readership. The software-as-a-service-based solution makes it easy to set up and manage paywalls or restrict access to premium, members-only content. Users can choose a variety of paywall models to customize readers’ experiences and monetize content such as articles and blogs that were previously drains on revenue rather than assets.

There has never been a better time to venture monetizing premium content that costs you money to produce and provides value to readers. Just be sure you’re choosing a subscription management solution that isn’t going to cause you headaches and be a drain on your newfound revenue.

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Drip Marketing and Your Subscription Service


As a small business, you know it’s critical to remain in your customers’ minds with regular communications. (But not TOO often, or it becomes a bit like stalking). Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often rely on automated email marketing software to send out customized messages either on a regular schedule or set up with a trigger when a customer does something. (Visit a Web page, for example, or watch a video.) For companies that rely on subscriptions for revenue, it’s helpful to look for an email marketing automation solution that has extra tools that can trigger automated personalized communications to subscribers. This way, they can advance the pace of signups, provide more value to subscribers and help customers pay bills on time.

What is Drip Marketing

“Drip marketing,” or “email nurturing marketing,” as it’s sometimes called, is a highly effective and cost-efficient way to improve sales conversions by educating prospects and customers and making connections to your company’s products and services. The automated nature of it also saves you time, according to Janelle Johnson writing for Business2Community.

“Drip marketing makes it possible to send relevant emails, seal the leaks in your sales pipeline, and free up time for other important tasks,” she wrote. “With drip campaigns, you deliver the right information at exactly the right moment. If a prospect watches a video on your website, the automated campaign triggers an email thanking the prospect for checking out that product or service and follows up with something of value.”

Subscription Businesses & E-mail Marketing

For a subscription-based business, the drip campaign could be set up to coincide with subscriber events: the anniversary of a subscription, for example, for more personalization and customization. Subscription DNA offers drip marketing as an add-on feature and allows users to create a series of sequential emails on a schedule relative to the subscriber. Users can control and configure the emails and the filtered audience, frequency or schedule. It’s an ideal way to retain old members and nurture new leads.

As more companies move to subscription-based business as a new source of revenue, they’ll need to tailor their email marketing to the new model. (See, “Why More Companies Are Moving to Subscription Services.”) By using the same tool to keep track of customers and their subscriptions as well as engaging in email nurture marketing, companies can ensure they’re sending the right messages to the right subscribers at the right time.

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How Membership Management Software Can Help Improve Customer Relationships

While customer relationship management (CRM) has a reputation as an enterprise sales tool, the idea of building a large, multichannel database of prospect and customer information that can be accessed for multiple functions has a place in nearly every business, and subscription management is no exception.

Subscription management has never been more relevant. We’re seeing a major shift from a pay-per-product model to a subscription-based economy. Younger consumers prefer more product ownership flexibility, whether it’s renting designer clothing for an evening out or paying month-to-month for an “all you can watch” movie pass. While the model represents potential new revenue sources, it also requires a shift in customer support. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) membership management platforms help companies manage subscription-based customers without the IT headaches.

“The subscription economy has increased the intimacy between SaaS companies (or software vendors) and their customers,” wrote Kimberly A. Whitler for Forbes. “In the subscription economy, every company must better manage a direct, complex, responsive, multichannel relationship with its customers.”

Through the Customer Lifecycle and Across Channels

Companies attempting to “DIY” subscription management are likely missing the mark on multichannel service (meaning customers can interact with companies via phone, email, or any other channel). Customers have low tolerance for 20th century customer support problems, including having to repeat their issues to multiple support personnel.

Membership management solutions allow companies to manage and support member-customers through their entire lifecycle with an easy-to-manage flexible Web services API that can be enhanced with tools and connected with other relevant functions. Changes to a customer’s account made by an employee on a chat will immediately be visible to phone-based employees, for example.

Flexibility Means Usability

Users can build a secure framework for interacting with subscribers easily and from multiple perspectives (for billing, marketing, selling and e-commerce solutions). The database can be stratified in different ways, allowing users to drill down to a custom-filtered group result set or individual records (by product, for example, or geographic region). They can also generate filtered reporting results and export result data sets to common formats that help them understand how they’re performing.

Build Process Management into Your Subscriptions

Like with CRM, companies employing Subscription DNA can keep notes and set reminders for groups or specific users, then use these notes to stay organized. “Future action identifiers” can be set to automatically prompt action on the part of company employees or groups, with prompts broadcast to internal users or outside customers in the subscription database.

They’re Customers, Not Debit Cards

The goal of a subscription model is to retain customers and create brand loyalty, not just ensure that a card is billed once a month. This is where many organizations fail on customer service. Don’t think of the subscription approach as a revenue model alone. For the convenience of a subscription, customers expect more: faster service, friendlier live support and proactive account servicing.

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Non-Profits Embrace Billing Software to Reduce Administrative Tasks

In the past, billing software has been a purchase that was out of reach for most non-profit organizations. It was expensive, it was difficult to implement, and it often caused more troubles than it solved. For this reason, many non-profits have struggled with inefficient home-grown solutions cobbled together years ago out of spreadsheets.

Thankfully, the software-as-a-service model is changing the way non-profits do business. Today, there are affordable, customizable billing and donor management solutions that can be implemented (almost) as easily as downloading an app. An automated, recurrent billing solution can cut down on time spent on administrative tasks and allow non-profits to dedicate more time to their mission.

Manage Your Donors

For non-profits, finding donations takes nearly as much time as their core work. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance recommends that nonprofits put at least 65 percent of their total cash intake to their programs and no more than 35 percent to administrative tasks and fundraising. To achieve this, most non-profits need to spend less time managing their donors. The answer is more automation.

Membership management solutions, including billing software, allows non-profits to streamline and even automate tasks associated with fundraising. The result is easier donor management, and less chance that you’ll miss opportunities because you got off-track on your fundraising duties.

Customizable Billing

Donors choose to give in different ways. Some want to make one-time or sporadic donations. Others prefer to be billed weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or annually. Keeping track of these cycles manually is a recipe for error.

A customizable billing solution can be set to automatically charge donors at the frequency they choose. If the card is rejected or the bank or PayPal account contains insufficient funds, the solution can attempt to charge again at a set time (one week later, for example), or even send out dunning notices automatically.

Add a Shopping Cart

Some donors may arrive on your website in a giving mood. Are you allowing them to make a spontaneous gift easily right on your Web site? Subscription DNA can help you build a shopping cart on your site and allow donors to speed through the process with the built-in virtual terminal for one-time payments.

Keep It Secure

Nothing scares off donors more than news of financial mismanagement. A software platform can enforce permissions by restricting users to the functionality and accounts they need: this not only reduces the chances of user errors, it builds in security and accountability for funds. PCI Compliance ensures that customer financial information will remain secure.

Running a non-profit is perhaps more challenging than running a for-profit business. Tasks associated with staffing, messaging, and simply finding the money you need to accomplish your mission can get in the way of your core function. A good billing software solution can shrink those headaches down to manageable size.

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Cloud Billing Software Helps Monthly Subscription Services Thrive

Monthly subscription services aren’t a new concept. For years now, there’s been a rise in popularity of products delivered right to the front door for consumers. Everyone from big box retailers to start-ups are jumping on the bandwagon.

Whether it’s an opportunity to test out and learn about new products, or a way to stock up on necessities that they’d otherwise not have time to go out and buy, there really isn’t a sign of slowing for this market. Today there are subscription boxes for everything from make-up, to healthy dinners and even hobbies.

As the subscription services market continues to grow in popularity, solutions to make it easier to manage subscribers and billing becomes even more important.

Cloud Billing Automation

Software as a Service (SaaS) makes it easy to gain access to powerful tools via a licensing and subscription basis. That means no worrying about upgrades while also cutting down costs.

Subscription DNA’s recurring subscription billing software platform streamlines processes so businesses can focus on things that really matter. Set subscriber rates to recur for a period of time and change those settings as needed, or automate signup processes, expiration reminders and even authenticate users with Subscription DNA.

Membership & Subscription Management

Using automated tools takes the guess work out of payment reminders, subscription end dates, and so much more. In addition to billing, membership management features like email marketing tools, CRM notes, registration tools and more are offered with Subscription DNA. They help subscription service providers deliver messages and promotions to their customers and measure the success of those campaigns.

Communication & Reporting Tools

Automating communications had with subscribers is a critical element for a successful subscription service. To keep subscribers satisfied with the service and loyal, sending out triggered emails or providing personalized offers can create loyalty while ensuring invoices are paid.

Subscription DNA strengthens the connection with your customers through powerful tools and an industry leading interface.

Contact us to learn more about our Subscription Billing & Membership Management Software.