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How can publishers capitalize on subscription culture?

As consumer preferences and subscription culture continue to develop, here’s how publishers can align their offerings with new desires and trends.

The expanding subscription economy isn't simply a way of doing business. It has launched an entire subscription culture in which consumers seek out novel shopping experiences and perks like convenience, customization and delight.

In some ways, publishers who have been offering magazine subscriptions for years were ahead of their time. But, today, customers expect more than simply finding the latest issue in their mailbox each month. As consumer preferences and the subscription economy continue to develop, here's how media brands can update their time-tested subscription model to align with new desires and trends.

Let subscriber data inform your decisions

Certain customer segments may be enthusiastic about finding new ways to connect with a brand across different media, from print publications to social networks. But other longtime subscribers might not want to adapt in that way. Having access to a 360-degree view of the customer lifecycle can help businesses understand what their audiences want most.

Publishers can also use this data to uncover opportunities for more choice and subscription personalization. For instance, it can help inform which options publishers provide for subscription pricing, trial offers, timing and more to keep current customers satisfied and attract new subscribers.

Offer multiple avenues for access and engagement

Print media still has a special place in the hearts and hands of consumers. However, they may appreciate the ability to access the content they're paying for in a variety of formats.

Publishers can repackage stories as mobile-optimized content and make them ready for desktop viewing as well. Allowing readers to access and consume content wherever and whenever they choose can breathe new life into a traditional print media subscription.

Just as ecommerce retailers often find success with pop-up shops, publishers can also reach beyond the page to offer additional products and experiences. Loyal subscribers may be thrilled at the opportunity to purchase premium subscriptions that offer additional value and brand engagement.

Consider this subscription success story

O, the Oprah Magazine had remarkable success with these tactics. According to a case study, the $12.99-per-month magazine added two more subscription tiers at $99 and $199 per month.

"Customers increased their subscription spend by over 1,400%."

What encouraged subscribers to increase their spend by over 1,400%? The publishers at Hearst found creative new ways to engage their loyal and active readers.

Beyond each monthly issue, subscription add-ons now range from digital access and gift subscriptions for friends to keepsake boxes filled with luxury beauty products. The premier subscription level even includes items from the list of Oprah's favorite things and a personal birthday card from the icon herself.

"We think this will provide a good example of how you take a highly engaged audience and serve them on a dimension that goes beyond just the magazine, and in a way that's economically beneficial," noted John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines.

With these new offerings, the magazine saw around 1,000 sales in just the first week, with many consumers heading straight for the top-tier offering.

Ready to capitalize on subscription culture? Start here

Media companies can't make these leaps and bounds until they have the right tools in place. With SFG's scalable solutions, publishers can gather critical customer data, offer customizable recurring payment options and more easily facilitate subscription management.

Contact us to learn more about how our tools power the publishing industry.

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