One of the key challenges to implementing a subscription management system is answering executive questions regarding the system’s costs and its payback. These systems can be expensive (some going as high as the seven figures range), but their benefits are usually worth it. Here are the different ways that you can build an ROI model that will satisfy your CFO, CEO, and you company’s board of directors.
As print margins become more challenging, the Web becomes even more crucial to a successful circulation strategy. Media companies save money on renewals as well as generate new subscribers by implementing these technologies. Using a technique called threshold gating, publishers can put their content behind a registration wall only after a reader has consumed a certain amount of page views in the past 30 days. This ensures that traffic levels don’t drop off and advertising inventory remains strong. At the same time, it captures your most engaged online audience and coverts them to subscribers.
Consumer and B2B sites alike can benefit from potential lead generation revenues made possible by requiring some type of registration powered by a subscription management system. eMedia Vitals recently conducted a video interview with Fierce Markets CEO Sean Griffey, and he shared how Fierce has transformed its audience development efforts from costs activities to revenue drivers by allowing users to sign up for advertiser offers (coupons, newsletter subscriptions, white papers, or Webinars).
One of the reasons why publishers are trading print dollars for digital dimes is the lack of hard and fast audience data. Surveys and panel-based analytics packages offer some insight into the general audience that visits a site, but registration data is far more trusted and can be tailored specifically to attracting endemic advertisers. Companies that tie their registration data to their ad serving system can see further revenue increased by charging premiums to target ads to data points they collect on registered users. Just look at to LinkedIn, a business-focused social network, to see how powerful demographically targeted ads can be.
Revenue diversification is a key goal for publishers looking to survive in this economy, and getting dollars from readers for premium or repackaged content or data services requires some type of system to process transactions and grant access to that content. Integrating your CMS (content management system) with your subscription management system can enable a media company to define any number of paid content offerings and test price points to find optimum revenue volumes and margins. Conde Nast, for all its recent struggles, has excelled at aligning its Web sites with subscription savings and additional subscription revenues. WSJ.com has also played an influential role in the Wall Street Journal’s print circulation successes.
Ecommerce, while similar to paid content, is actually a different beast. Here you are fulfilling a tangible item for sale. Hanley Wood has had great success selling architectural drawings with ePlans.com while F + W Media has generated revenues from readers by selling e-books and craft patterns online.
All five of these pillars are key to building your ROI plan when pitching your CEO or board on a subscription management system.While all five aren’t needed in order to get to most company’s payback objectives, smart publishers are looking for revenues in every nook and cranny of their businesses these days. They know that the companies that know their audience well and can target advertising and paid content offers to users in a meaningful way will be the ones having the greatest success coming out of this recession.
If you've read this far down, you are probably considering implementing a system of this type or building one of your own. Word to the wise, don't try to grow your own. Talk to a few vendors to understand the complexity that inherently comes up as these things are designed. Here's a few vendors that you might want to reach out to.