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Overcoming the Unique Challenges of the B2B Subscription Model

Updated: Mar 16

If you’re thinking of developing a B2B subscription model for your site, you’re definitely not alone. With advertising revenue decreasing significantly year over year, many media companies are scrambling to come up with ways to stem the losses. And thus far paywalls seem to be a very viable option.

But although many B2C news sites such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have successfully implemented subscription models, B2B entities have a number of unique challenges to overcome if they want to match this success. For starters, getting readers to pay for content that they’ve been getting for free for so long is not an easy task.

According to a recent Reuters Institute Digital News Report, worldwide subscription rates for online news content haven’t changed much over the past few years, although it’s worth noting that there has been steady growth in the United States. So the conversion from free access to a B2B subscription model is the first hurdle that you have to overcome, and it’s definitely a significant one.

B2B Subscription Model

Although B2C sites face a similar challenge, B2B content is much more critical to their readers’ success in most cases. As such, you need to make sure that your content is as comprehensive as it can be.

Are you providing all of the information that your readers are looking for? Do they want/need more in-depth analysis? Can you provide that data or do you need to source it elsewhere?

That last question actually brings us to another challenge.

Some companies have figured out that the B2B subscription model can extend beyond the typical fixed or metered paywall. You can tap into those same readers with additional subscription options on top of access to the regular site content.

But how is that achieved? That’s something you need to figure out, and just like with your regular content it starts with knowing your readers.

According to Gadi Lahav of the Financial Times, research shows that it’s up to five times less expensive to keep a current reader than to bring in a new one. As such focusing on your existing user base is critical.

Of course, you can glean a wealth of information from audience analytics tools, but a better idea is to actually communicate with your readers directly if possible. You can send out surveys, hold focus groups or speak with your most loyal readers one on one. Is there anything that they are not already getting from your site? Do they go elsewhere for other types of information? Would they be willing to pay for this data if you provided it?

Once you have determined the wants and needs of your readers, the next challenge arises…creating products based on their feedback and setting up the B2B subscription model for those products. This is perhaps the most difficult challenge of all, and will likely require a lot of creativity and thinking outside the box. You don’t want to overwhelm your reader with options, but at the same time, you don’t want to overlook a potentially lucrative opportunity.

What types of products can you offer? The options are endless, but just to name a few you could provide industry reports, data summaries, white papers, webinars and alert services.

You can set up a B2B subscription model for anything that readers need on an ongoing basis, and only you can determine exactly what that may be.

This access to “exclusive” information can be very appealing to readers and could turn into a huge revenue source for your company, and something that would be very hard for a competitor to duplicate.

Developing a successful B2B subscription model is not without its challenges, but the potential rewards are quite significant. As such it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to determine what else your readers would be willing to pay for.

Are you currently facing the unique challenges of the B2B subscription model? Contact us to learn how Pelcro can help you overcome these challenges.


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