In order to run a profitable media company, publishers know that audience engagement must be monetized. But relying on social media for advertising just isn’t cutting it anymore.

With social media’s unpredictable algorithm changes blocking your content from being seen and its loss of audience trust, it’s time to generate money from your community on your own platforms. And that’s where paywalls come in.

The Value of a Paywall

Nowadays, paywalls are becoming an important ingredient in a news publisher’s recipe for success. Not only do they attach value to your content, but they are also able to manage your subscribers and collect payments on your behalf.

When clients invest in industry publication subscriptions, it serves as a tangible reminder that the publications… offer quantifiable value,” reads a Forbes article. “It’s content that matters to people — to the point that people are willing to pay for it. This serves as a reminder to your client that your services are worth the price.”

While some may argue that paywalls threaten to repel readers who aren’t willing to pay for your content, it’s a risk that many publishers find worth taking. In fact, readers who are willing to subscribe offer your business significantly more value than those who aren’t.

This past year, HuffPost chose to stop focusing on uninterested readers and, instead, assessed and grew its loyal reader base since 60% of their page views came from just 6% of visitors.

If you have great content and dedicated readers, the decision to take on a paywall may be an obvious one.

However, the power of your paywall can be greatly enhanced by supporting it with a winning conversion strategy.

Amplify the Effects of your Paywall

Readers will pay for quality content that they can relate to. Publications like The New York Times and The Times have shown us this.

But a truly powerful subscription management system relies on support from a community growth and engagement system.

According to the Shorenstein Center and Lenfest Institute, only nine percent of a publisher’s readers view over five articles per month. Their white paper states that “news organizations with larger-than-average “regular readership” – engaging that critical nine percent of audiences – tended to prioritize audience engagement efforts.”

And what better way to grow that number of regular readers than by engaging more of your audience? Applying community engagement technology to your platform will boost a user’s return frequency, session depth and total attention time, helping to drive more subscriptions.

Which is why it’s important to take the time to find a partner who not only boosts user engagement, but who will also work with your paywall provider to optimize your platform for subscriptions. 

The Ultimate Conversion Strategy

A truly great conversion strategy marries your paywall and engagement tools together.

In this sense, a community engagement partner can track onsite audience behavior, grow your regular readers and alert your paywall when each user is interested enough to subscribe. Engage your audience. Understand them. And then use that knowledge to build a loyal, paying community.

“Using a mix of editorial and algorithm-based selections, [The Toronto Star] hard locks five to seven articles per day, typically more in-depth pieces driving strong traffic and engagement, to push more visitors toward the paywall and, eventually, the subscription process,” states a recent report by the Local Media Association.

Your engagement and paywall service providers should be able to help you develop and deploy a targeted conversion strategy, specific to the behavior of your readers. More specifically, as users become engaged with your content, your community engagement tools should be able to feed your subscription-ready users right to your paywall. Which means more subscription revenue for you.

Your Churn-Reducing Solution

Another great reason to own a conversion strategy between your engagement and subscription management systems is that you can boost onsite subscriptions and reduce churn, all at the same time. As your engagement tools build your community and track its behavior, your software provider can signal your paywall when a community member becomes disengaged with your brand, and is likely to churn.

Businesses can then send these users special incentives or content to keep them from unsubscribing.

Say goodbye to inefficiency and hello to an abundance of subscription revenue.

Interested in learning more about boosting revenue through subscription management and user engagement? Attend our workshop at ONA19 for a chance to win $500.

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