LET’S TALK ABOUT CHURN
Key tactics for retaining subscribed users
So, you’ve set up your paywall. You encouraged some of your users to cough up for a premium model. Direct reader revenues are coming in. What now?
Well, it’s time to talk about churn. Once you’ve started bringing in subscribers, you need to make sure they keep subscribing, month after month. You need to provide enough value for that person to continue paying for your service. A Bain & Company study suggests a 5% increase in customer retention can boost revenue by 25% to 95%, so every little helps when it comes to keeping your paying users engaged.
Reader churn is one of the biggest challenges facing subscription models, but through our work with some of the world’s biggest publishers, Opinary has learned a thing or two. Here are our top tips to keep your subscribers happy.
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Is your site user friendly? It needs to be. A premium price means a premium service. If your site is buggy or glitchy or full of ads and puffs, it’s not a premium experience and users will not use it as often. Think deeply about what your site offers, and if it’s worth paying for. Do user testing. First impressions count – if a free trial user has a bad experience on their first use of the product, it’s highly unlikely they’ll return again.
What does your own tracking tell you? Use what you have to identify users who are at risk of churning and those who are the most valuable. If you can, create highly specific segments to allow you greater insight into your readers. Using this method, you’ll be able to tailor specific experiences to users who are at risk of churn, and you’ll be able to make sure you do whatever it takes to keep your most valuable readers happy.
Are your users active or passive? Just good news copy or interesting features won’t be enough. By giving your users ways to interact with the content they consume, you’ll make them value the experience much more. Comments, quizzes, Opinary polls – these are all excellent ways to get your users to wake up and interact with your content rather than simply consuming it passively.
“Simply put, the more customers interact with your product, the less likely they are to leave.”
Are you providing enough benefits? Do your users receive discounts, education, events, gifts? Many news sites offer access to exclusive talks with journalists or round-table discussions with thought leaders. The exclusivity of these offers goes a long way to give readers the sense they’re part of a special group. Some entice users with the promise of free coffee machines, pens, or tote bags. Think outside the box, and figure out what you can gift that will provide the most value to your users, but also give them a daily reminder that they’re part of your special group.
Surprises work well, try using milestones – eg. “You just read your 50th article! Here’s a free week.” or “You just posted your 100th comment! Now here’s a free ticket.” – to add to the impact. This will give your readers a strong sense of community, driving them to continue taking part in the content experience you provide. It shows you’re listening to your audience, and it provides more value for the user.
Are you speaking to your users? Is there a conversational element? Ask for feedback often. Send emails to highlight new features they might not know about. Get them talking. Go beyond email. Maybe even pick up the phone.
The Times of London encourages journalists to respond to comments on their premium site, which instantly entrenches a bond between the user and the people who write the content they consume.
Furthermore, giving your audience the chance to give feedback on your service will give them a sense of importance, a feeling they are being listened to and shaping your content.
Are you catering to the different demographics within your readership? Men aged 35-50 might be having a great time commenting on your articles, but what about women aged 18-30? Or users over 65? Different user groups will have different behaviors and respond to different features.
Emma Pierson notes only 25% of New York Times comments were from women during an eight month period, despite the site’s readership being 44% female. Fiona Martin reports up to 80% of online comments on US, UK and Australian news sites are left by men. Opinary’s polls receive a gender split closer to the global average, offering a more comprehensive way of engaging your audience. Catering to all your users’ needs will do wonders for your retention rate.
Do you have any extra insight we might have missed? Tweet us @Opinary to let us know!