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Best Practices For Driving Subscription Revenue

Updated: Mar 16

Contrary to popular belief, successfully driving subscription revenue isn’t something that is only achievable by media giants. There are fundamental practices that publications of all sizes can follow to thrive in the digital subscription economy. Throughout the years, Pelcro has tested numerous strategies across many of its partners to pinpoint the do’s and don’ts of driving subscription revenue.

What NOT to do

Do Not Stick With Preconceived Notions and Assumptions

Don’t assume that you know all the answers to how your readers will behave. Test new things often and quickly, then closely monitor how your readers will react to adjust your strategies accordingly. For example, many publications initially think that giving more free articles will help increase conversion rates, but through our A/B testing we found that 3 free articles had a higher conversion rate than all the others. Test your strategies on your readers and use their responses to make informed decisions that help you increase your subscription revenue.

Number of free article best for driving subscription revenue

Do Not Send People Off The Page

Sending the customer to a different web page to subscribe has a catastrophic effect on user drop off rates. The average person has an attention span of only 8 seconds, which is 3x less than the average webpage load time of 22 seconds. Therefore, most people have already lost attention by the time the web page loads. Keeping the subscription process entirely on the same page is a fundamental rule to ensuring a low drop off rate.

Do Not Give Readers a Long Form to Fill Out

We found that there is a direct correlation between the number of fields a publication forces the customer to fill out and the conversion rate:

This clearly demonstrates that the fewer fields the customer has to fill out, the higher your conversion rates will be. Publishers using Pelcro have seen a 30% increase in subscription revenue simply by not sending people to a different page and by reducing the amount of information the customer is required to enter.

Comparison between older long subscription forms and Pelcro's modern subscription form, the modern form is clearly better suited for driving subscription revenue

What to do

Make it Easy for Readers to Pay

Keep it simple, you want to make the subscription process as easy and straight forward as possible. Avoid giving the customer too many options. You want to have a decent variety of products and pricing options, but if you have too many it has shown to increase drop off rates.

Keep it short, reduce the amount of information you ask the customer to enter as much as possible. A tip to do this is to avoid asking for information you don’t need. For example, avoid asking for a mailing address when the customer is only ordering a digital subscription.

Use Auto Renewals

An auto-renewal system automatically charges a customer’s credit card at the end of their billing cycle to renew their subscription. Implementing an auto-renewal system has proven to have 2 major benefits.

The first benefit of an auto-renewal system is that there is an immediate increase in renewal rates. It has been shown that customers are 5 to 20 times more likely to renew their subscriptions at the end of their billing cycle if they are set to auto-renew. In addition, an auto-renewal system has shown to have no effect on the conversion rate.

The second benefit of an auto-renewal system is that it drastically reduces the amount of manual work a publisher must do. That is because the system eliminates the need for readers to call in to renew their subscription. In addition, you no longer have to manually send email renewal notices. Pelco’s auto-renewal system automatically sends email renewal notices 15 days before the end of the subscription. Which drastically lowers the workload for the customer success team.

Be Creative With Your Offers

Creating bundles, coupons and free trials are all amazing ways to incentive readers to subscribe to your content. But why be limited by only getting people to pay for your content. Take your offers one step further by providing access to:

Exclusive events

Early access to certain products

Discounts on merchandise

Discounts on partnership products

Private social media groups

Ad-free experiences

Instead of only thinking about how many people you can charge, also think about how much you can charge people. Creating that extra value will enable you to charge more for your subscriptions without affecting conversions.

Create Newsletters That Convert

Newsletters are crucial to converting readers over time. This is because some readers just need more time before making the decision to subscribe. Therefore, we found the best way of converting these readers is by obtaining their emails and enrolling them in a newsletter campaign. You can encourage the reader to enter their email by giving them a return of 3 free premium articles or any other exchange of value. Then you can store those emails and partner with any email provider to enroll them in your custom newsletter campaign. We have seen newsletter campaigns convert 1-5% of its recipients to paying subscribers. This is an easy and effective way of converting readers who are on the fence about subscribing.

Give Customers The Ability to Manage Their Own Account

Make your life easier, by making your reader’s lives easier. Giving readers the ability to manage their own account information drastically reduces the amount of customer support requests you receive. Pelcro’s platform enables users to view and modify their address, name, phone number, password, and billing information and manage their subscription status without ever leaving your website. This has proven to lower customer drop off rates and has reduced the amount of customer service requests.

Are you interested in implementing these strategies using a dynamic paywall or any of our other tools to increase your subscription revenue? Contact us to learn more.


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