For many content creators, paywalls can be seen as a risky move. For over 10 years now, content publishers have gradually shifted to using them as a way to grow revenue that is more consistent than advertising. For companies that get the formula correct, the results have been phenomenal! Like many publishers before them, Wired Magazine took a leap of faith and introduced a premium content paywall last year. Since then, they have seen a 300 percent increase in their subscriber base year-over-year and have been open to sharing their results.
The paywall is simple and direct when presented to the customer. It sits at the bottom of the screen waiting to be clicked at any time the reader is ready to subscribe. It is clear and to the point. For me, the design of Wired’s paywall is an excellent example of communicating to readers that there is value in the subscription. As a mature company in a mature market, Wired has had the benefit of learning from others’ mistakes.
Let’s look at a few ways a great paywall design can help impact your subscription strategies. Here are 4 key paywall best practices:
If you publish a content-based app, most of your users will reach a point as they navigate your app that will prompt a paywall barrier as they attempt to access a premium specific page or content. When this occurs, it is important to ensure that you maintain content consistency, that can also be personalized at points of conversion. For example, if your user wants to access premium content such as an exclusive article to read, avoid taking the user away to a generic page that offers in-app subscription options. Instead, look at personalizing the paywall with one basic offer and a caption of the article the user wanted to read in the window. Keep the color scheme, fonts, and other design elements close to the original content and consistent with your brand so the change isn’t a drastic shift from what they've been looking at so far.
Choosing the right number of purchase options on your paywall can be tricky. Too many choices are often the most common unforeseen contributor to users clicking away from your digital paywall. Keep it basic. If your product is simple, start with one price for one option and use only one button as your CTA. If you have multiple purchase options, you may find that adding a third button performs better than just having two. Try it both ways and see what happens.
Figure out a starting price your app can be tough. Price too low and customers may think you do not have a premium product. Too high and they may not purchase. Research similar apps to get an idea for a starting point. Be sure to test. See what happens for a few weeks if you move the price up or down. You may be surprised by the results of running even a simple test on different price points.
What is a call-to-action (CTA)? In digital marketing, this is simply the action you ask your users to do. It could be to access certain content on the website, create an account, or purchase a subscription. They are important because they are what is used in the paywall to drive people to where you need them to go – the subscription page. It’s critical to ensure that it is designed to keep that goal in mind.
Don’t leave any doubt with your users about the purpose of your CTA. To that point:
This is a perfect time to list one or two of the best benefits users get when they make a purchase. Mentioning a couple of key points on your paywall gives that extra reason why joining would be that way to go. If your offer includes a free trial period, be sure to mention this on the paywall screen. Also, do the same if offering a discount to new users.
There is no point in promising excellent content behind your paywall if you users don’t understand the value of that content. Free trials and metered paywalls where users get some amount of free content each month are great ways to allow potential customers to learn the value of your product. The aim is to give all users a fantastic customer experience with the app. Now that you’ve created an opportunity for your users to “shop” around and experience your content, moving to a subscription model will be that much easier a decision to make.
As a publisher, the main takeaway here is that the customer experience is as seamless as possible when presented with a paywall option. Your content should be one that is both excellent and willing to be paid for. By taking the time to optimize the subscription process with Nami, we see customer signup rates increase by up to 45%. With an easy to integrate platform, designed to help you succeed, Nami is ready to help!
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