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Soft Paywall: 5 Rules for Success

Updated: Mar 9

A soft paywall (also known as a metered paywall) is a paywall that benefits both visitors and site owners alike. But how can you make the best of it?

What is a Paywall

Before we get into details of how you can make the most of implementing a soft paywall, we must first understand what exactly a paywall is.

Paywalls are online features that businesses implement to set up a value exchange to grant access to content or experiences. Traditionally, the most common form of value exchange is content revenue driven by paid memberships and/or subscriptions.

However, that ignores the effectiveness of other forms of communication. For example, a website can offer users access to additional articles in exchange for the users’ email addresses.

Newsweek’s Soft Paywall grants users access to 5 extra articles if they provide their emails.

What are Soft Paywalls?

As illustrated in the example above, soft paywalls provide users with limited access to the company’s offerings before asking them to pay.

This allows consumers to explore the content allowing visitors to make an informed decision about the subscription by sampling the content beforehand. Here are five steps that you can take to make sure your website will make the most out of your soft paywall.

Soft Paywall: 5 Rules to Success

Rule #1: Satisfy your customers

Subscription business models empower users by allowing them to explore your website’s content offerings rather than force them to subscribe to browse. By adding a soft paywall to your website, and offering access to 3-5 articles, your company can ensure that its customers are satisfied with their decision.

Rule # 2: Leverage Word-of-Mouth

It’s practically impossible to garner customer loyalty and build a loyal audience-base without providing either benefits or “free” content. Introduce a sharing feature to your site, enabling users to share content on social media allows your company to grow organically through word-of-mouth.

Rule #3: Prompts Prompts Prompts

Create a sign-up prompt on your website and set it to appear after a pre-set period of time (30 seconds-1 minute) all-but ensures that the readers are hooked on the article before they see the prompt; making them more likely to sign up. Additionally, with sign-up prompts, your company can send follow-up emails to inspire visitors to revisit and subscribe to your site if they still haven’t.

Rule #4: Optimize to Succeed

It’s crucial to earn your readers’ trust before they see your content. Amateur-content sites, or websites with poor UI rarely build that trust in clients, which inevitably results in fewer subscriptions. Ensure that your website’s UI is optimized for different resolutions (laptops, desktops, phones, etc…). Your site must be navigable, so make sure that links, headings, and sub-headings are easy to find. Set up different links and prompts throughout your website with your call to action to maximize your users’ chances of subscribing.

Rule #5: Variety is Key

Add different subscription options for your users. Make sure that there is a basic, monthly, and annual subscription package options available. By varying your subscription offerings, your customers can choose the option that best suits their needs, allowing you to target a broader audience base.

By following these five rules, you can make sure that your company is making the best out of its soft paywall. This will result in more views, increase subscription conversion rates, and build greater trust for your brand.

Thinking about introducing a Soft Paywall?

Don’t hesitate to experiment when introducing a soft paywall to your website. The market and industry are always changing, so it’s essential to keep looking for the best way to reach your viewers with your soft paywall.

Paywalls can change the way your business interacts with existing customers while reinventing your approach to communicating with the rest of your website’s visitors.

Are you wondering if Pelcro is the right paywall provider to manage your content? Try it for free or set up a demo call with one of our experts. 


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