Subscription Site Insider – Marketing Know-how: Improve Conversions


Subscription Site Insider - Marketing Know

Tutorial: Subscription Site Insider – Marketing Know-how: Improve Conversion

How to Improve Conversions

Discover how to convert more site visitors into paying members and subscribers. Includes site design rules, A/B testing tactics, and paywall training. You’ll get checklists, video training, and real-life examples as inspiration.
HOW-TO: Social Media Sign-Ons for Subscription Sites
Lately, more and more sites have been offering visitors the option to “sign-on using a social media account.” But is this a good idea for subscription and paid content sites? To find out, download this presentation, which gives in-depth information about why you should consider integrating this technology, how social media sign-ons work, what customer information you get, your options for integration, whether you can (and should) sell subscriptions through social media accounts, and how to choose which social media platforms to support on your site. Plus, we included plenty of screenshots from subscription sites already using this technology!
ON-DEMAND: Best Practices in Mobile Email Creation for Subscription Sites
There’s a lot of information out there about mobile email, but how much of it is specific to subscription sites? Justine Jordan, mobile email guru, guides this four-part how-to on optimizing your emails for mobile viewing. Learn which strategy is best for your site, how to design mobile-friendly emails, the Dos and Don’ts of usability, and much. Includes great samples and resources!
HOW-TO: Optimizing Mobile Sites and Apps for Paid Content — 4 Options, 3 Steps and 10 Design Tips
Should your subscription site have a mobile presence? If so, should you have a mobile site or create a mobile app (and what’s the difference)? What percentage cut will Apple and Google take from your profits? Just how many people are willing to pay for mobile content? And how do you get them to convert? Find out the answers to these questions, as well as 4 options for a mobile presence, 3 steps to execution, and 10 tips for designing conversion-friendly pages for mobile devices.
HOW-TO: Direct Mail for Acquiring New and Expired Online Subscribers
Direct Mail has been a favorite marketing tactic for print publications, and shouldn’t be ignored by online publishers. Postal mail can help you acquire new subscribers and get expired accounts to return, especially when you maintain a quality list. In this handy how-to article, we detail the best practices you need to employ to have a successful postal direct mail campaign to increase your online subscribers. Learn how to maximize your response rates and get creative ideas specific to marketing online subscriptions.
ON-DEMAND: Tips and Tricks to Amp Up Your Trial Offer Conversions
Take a deep dive into trial offers with this 30-minute video hosted by Insider Editor Minal Bopaiah. Discover how you can optimize your trial offer landing pages for different visitor traffic source, get people who abandoned your form to return, and optimize debit and pre-paid card processing. You’ll also learn how to create guarantees that work and how to get more trial-takers to sign up for annual v. monthly plans. Plus, lots of screenshots and creative samples to inspire you!
ON-DEMAND: Subscription Site Insider’s 2012 Testing Awards Winners
Swipe site design ideas from the best! Editor Minal Bopaiah and guest judge Reagan Miller of reveal the A/B and multivariate testing case study winners of Subscription Site Insider’s annual awards — as chosen by them and’s Editor Justin Rondeau.
8 Paywall Critiques to Help You Convert Visitors
Want more visitors to accept your membership or subscription offer? Check out the lessons learned from our live site critiques event of eight paywall sites — all 16 lessons are applicable to your site. Plus, we’ve included “heatmaps” of the eight, real-life B2B and consumer subscription sites. It’s fascinating to see what design elements catch attention … and which don’t.
[On-Demand] How to Boost Subscription Conversion Rates: 5 Powerful Tactics to Swipe From Dating Sites
Dating sites are among the most successful subscription sites on the Web. What can you learn from them in order to boost your conversion rates? Plenty. We review five tactics you can steal from dating sites and provide some essential resources too.
[Lessons] Results from Insider’s Free Trial: 9 Insights about Promotions, Payment Processing, Onboarding & More
Discover nine lessons Insider’s team learned when we offered our first-ever free trial. Yes, we share our conversion rate data, but even more important are the insights we gained about promoting a trial, handling credit-card issues, managing email lists, and developing onboarding campaigns.
Anyone offering their own free trials will benefit from lessons such as: Why a trial alone isn’t enough of a marketing hook; How debit cards can wreak havoc on your trial; Why it’s important use reminder emails and grace periods before charging cards
[How-to] Overlay Offer Screens: When to Use Them, 5 Key Factors to Boost Response, and Technology Resources
Learn best practices for using overlay screens as an alternative to pop-up windows for serving email opt-in offers, lead-generation forms, site registration forms, and more. Marketers using the technology have seen opt-in rates increase 25%-100% or more, but you have do it right. Includes five common ways to use overlays, advice overlay timing and placement, design and offer tips, samples of real-life overlays — plus links to technology resources to get you started
[On Demand] Best Subscription Marketing A/B Tests of 2010 — 7 Inspirational Winners
See creative samples and results data for 7 A/B split tests of online marketing campaigns and paywalls to sell subscriptions. Includes real-life tests of online marketing for magazines, online video subscriptions, and membership sites. Plus, a testing expert shares a three-step methodology for developing a testing plan to improve conversions.
[How To] Subscriber Video Testimonials: 5 Content Tips, a 3-Step Outreach Strategy, Vendor Options, and Real-life Samples
Want to improve your paywall conversions or on-boarding campaigns by adding subscriber video testimonials? Insider’s How-to Guide brings you the practical nuts-and-bolts details, including how long videos should be (hint: well under 30 seconds), how to convince customers to create great videos for you, and which vendors specialize in video testimonial tools. Features tips for both B2B and B2C sites. Plus, see real-life samples of video testimonials in action from four publishers such as Angie’s List and Emergency Medicine Practice.
[On-Demand] How to Grow Newspaper Online Subscription Revenues: 6 Rules For Paywall Design
This 60-minute video will help newspapers improve their paywall pages and sell more online subscriptions. Includes 6 research-based rules for paywalls that can lift subscription sales 25%-150%, and lots of real-life examples of newspaper barrier pages — and how to fix them.
[On-Demand] Paywall Optimization: How to Improve Your Subscription Conversions
In this recorded presentation, Anne Holland tells you how to change your paywalls so you sell more subscriptions. Includes guidelines on the amount of free-vs-fee content on your site, the paywall pathway, entry strategies that work best, paywall design tips, and pricing layout psychology. 45-minutes.
[Powerpoint Download] Subscription Paywall Optimization Guidelines
Use Insider’s exclusive 34-slide presentation deck to print out handouts, train your team, and as the basis to create your own presentations about what needs to be fixed for your company’s paywalls and barrier pages.
[Tips] 7 Proven Secrets to Subscription & Membership Site Growth
Start growing your business today with these seven proven secrets of successfull subscription and membership sites. Includes tactics for improving retention, generating referrals, optimizing your paywall placement, and more
[Checklist] Paywall Optimization for Subscription Sites
Want to improve your site’s paywall (aka barrier page) conversions? Insider’s handy checklist features 51 items you can quickly review and mark off to determine exactly what to do next. Each item is based on our intensive research into what specific factors improve paywall results and your site’s profitability.
[On-Demand] A/B Testing Case Studies of Subscription & Membership Sites
See creative samples and results data from seven A/B tests conducted by subscription and membership Web sites including a B2B publisher, a virtual world, an investment advisory newsletter, a personal nutrition site, and an online club for military vets. The average test increased response rates by 25%. You’ll see what worked, and what did not. Also includes basic testing guidelines and names of low-cost testing tools.
[Slideshow] Tutorial: Site Design Rules
Discover the scientifically proven rules of Web site design. Subscription Site Insider’s exclusive 54-slide tutorial includes rules for: Page layout and wireframe; typefaces and fonts; images; text links; and button designs. Also features examples from real-life subscription sites that you can share with your designer. Useful for publishers launching new sites as well as everyone who suspects their current site could get better response rates.
[Tips] How to A/B Test Your Best SEO Landing Pages Without Risk: Top 10 Guidelines
Summary: Nearly 97% of subscription and membership site executives surveyed by Subscription Site Insider say they rely on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as one of their key tactics to acquire new customers. With A/B testing, you can gain up to 40% more orders from the same amount of search traffic. But, it’s scary — what if you risk your SEO ranking when you test pages? Follow these 10 guidelines, and you’ll be safe:
[Article Digest] Button Copy A/B Test: Cabot Heritage Corporation Gets 22.9% Lift in Newsletter Opt-Ins
“Does Submit Button Copy Really Matter? Email Newsletter Publisher Tests ‘Subscribe’ vs. Offer Copy” articleEven that smallest change can have a big impact on conversions.
[Article Digest] Short vs. Long Copy A/B Test: Sub Gets 14.5% Lift in Paid Subscriber Conversions
Cancellation policy copy on subscription order forms is seldom first on marketers’ list to test. But thought it important enough and got a 14.5% lift in free-registrant-to-paid-subscriber conversions.
[Article Digest] How IMVU Got 15% More Paying Users by A/B and Multivariate Testing its Main Landing Page
Sometimes a seemingly minor change on a landing page can have a significant impact on conversions. IMVU, for example, had no idea that removing the login boxes and buttons in the upper right corner of the page and replacing them with a simple ‘Member Login’ text link would increase the number of paying users by 10.2%.
[Article Digest] MarketingProfs Gets 35.55% Conversion Rate from Multi-Page Landing Pages
From launch in June 2008 through September 2008, MarketingProfs’ online consulting service, 911 Marketing Help, got an average 35.55% of visitors who entered a multi-page landing page to either purchase or opt-in to an email newsletter about the new ancillary.
[Article Digest] How Increased Free Trial Conversions 30% While Decreasing Cost per Acquisition 20%
Before creating and testing multiple landing pages for several different audience segments, traffic had two options: to go to the homepage or go to the site’s only landing page.
[Article Digest] Registration Form Headline Gets 113% More Visitors to Sign Up for a Free Trial
Form headlines seriously impacted free trial conversions for Business and Legal Resources’ The B2B subscription site discovered that a longer headline, “Create Your Profile for FREE and UNLIMITED Access,” got 113% more visitors to fill out the free trial form than the shorter, “Try Risk Free,” headline.
[Article Digest] Homepage A/B Test Lifts Sign-up Button Clicks 21.3%
Subscription health and fitness tracking site, DailyBurn (formerly Gyminee), conducted its first A/B test on the site’s homepage, since that’s where they were directing most of their traffic (enough to get conclusive results).
[Article Digest] Convert 6% of Free Registrants into Paid Subscribers Using This B2B Publisher’s Model
Smarter registration barriers and high-value content can contribute more to your bottom line than you might think. Consider the results Access Intelligence’s Chemical Week ( and Chemical Engineering ( got:
[Article Digest] Video Library Feature Helped Convert 230,000 Paid Web Members
Cook’s Illustrated launched a library of its own videos demonstrating cooking techniques in April 2007. Some videos are free on the site as teasers to entice visitors to convert to view the entire video library
[Article Digest] Weather Channel Interactive Optimizes Free-Trial Landing Page Using Multivariate Testing, Increases Trial Subscriptions 225%
The Notify! landing page wasn’t converting visitors into free-trial users at a high enough rate. So, the Weather Channel Interactive’s marketing team decided to run a multivariate test for the severe weather warning subscription service.
[Article Digest] Niche Database Publisher Boosts Subs Sales with Radical Redesigns and Free Site Access
When free 14-day trials weren’t converting to subscription purchases, IDES, a plastics industry publisher, started re-thinking its subscriber acquisition strategies. First, IDES created a free section on its site that showcased a data sheet database with easy-to-use search functionality. Visitors had to register to access the formerly paid-only database.
[Article Digest] How NASCAR Converts Free Users to Paid Subscribers by Offering Special Perks and Insider Benefits
Despite NASCAR’s fame, competing with abundant free content (including its own free site content) made it hard to attract paying subscribers. To lure hard-core fans, Scott Bailey, VP & GM Turner Sports Interactive, offered specialized content, activities, and rewards.
[Article Digest] 5 Best Practices for Launching and Raising Prices with No Adverse Effects and Healthy Renewal Rates
Founder Phil Binkow filled a gap with The Accounts Payable Network, an online business information subscription for accounts payable departments. Deploying five best practices convinced 2,200 Fortune 1000 executives to subscribe within 18 months of launch date, and to renew even after a $100 rate hike:
[Article Digest] Surprising Landing Page Test Results Boost’s Revenue $500,000 tested three different landing pages for their 30,000+ affiliates to see which would convert more visitors into free trial (w/credit card) users. The existing landing page had averaged a 2.47% conversion rate with qualified affiliate-referred prospects arriving from search marketing efforts.
[Article Digest] How Turned its Sister Site into a Paid-only Subscription Site & Got $1.3 Million in Sales
When economic analysis firm saw declining ad and sponsorship revenues in 2001, they turned sister site DismalScientist into paid subscription content. The site already attracted 220,000 unique monthly visitors, and with content generated by staffers, costs were low and the potential for profits was high.
[Article Digest] How to Increase Subscription Prices While Attracting More Subscribers
Adding value, above all else, was an absolute must when, a subscription-based resource for preachers, increased subscription prices by 60% in 2006. Packaging the price increase with a site re-launch enabled them to add new features.
[Article Digest] How to Use Free Gifts to Boost Longer-Term Subscriptions
Recipe site,, used free gifts to get site visitors to choose longer-termed subscriptions at the launch of its first paid subscription offering. First they budgeted a line item substantial enough to cover the cost of the year-long promotion.
[Article Digest] The Motley Fool Cross-Sells 10% of Subscribers to Higher Priced Services, Increases Revenue Per Order 53%
The Motley Fool overcame two major challenges when developing its cross-sell program. First was balancing sales pitch intensity and frequency to get the desired outcome. The investment newsletter publisher discovered 2 to 3 emails per week were successful at getting initial acquisitions from the house list. One email every two weeks worked when cross-selling subscribers other subscription products.
[Article Digest] How BLR Increased Multi-year Subscriptions 10% with Better Sales Team Training
BLR, a B2B information company, created a 71-page sales interview guide for its sales reps. The goal was to improve results by training them to listen to prospects and respond with questions instead of mechanically going through a series of questions at the beginning of a sales pitch.
[Article Digest] Hearst Magazines Uses A/B Testing to Generate 2.2 Million Print Subs from Online Channels
Hearst Magazines used online testing and database marketing to get 2.2 million print subs from online sources in 2008. Continually testing different pricing, creative, and marketing messages online and making changes according to the results was a big key to its success.
[Article Digest] MarketingSherpa Tests Adding Article Expiration Dates to Subject Lines
MarketingSherpa thought its articles would attract more readers if expiration dates (the date content went behind the pay barrier) were added to email newsletter subject lines. Instincts told them the addition would have an ‘act now’ impact and get higher open and clickthrough rates.
[Article Digest] Preview Tool Doesn’t Help Increase Conversion Rates
Testing a preview tool before implementing it led to some surprising results for magazine subscription service First of all, it decreased conversions. hypothesized that allowing visitors to view what’s inside a magazine before purchase would lift conversion rates by improving visitor confidence and user experience.
[Article Digest] How BLR Boosted Free Trial Sign-ups from SEO Traffic by 150%
B2B publisher BLR (formerly Business & Legal Reports) boosted free trial sign-ups on key SEO entry pages 150% by testing headlines, copy, navigation options, and registration forms. BLR’s marketing team tested three site pages optimized for’s highest traffic-generating keywords.
[Article Digest] Uses A/B Testing to raise Online Sub Sales 9% Annually
How do you get web visitors to convert into subs buyers? Playboy Enterprises, Inc. used A/B testing to grow online subscription revenues 9% each year. They tested homepage promotions, landing pages, order pages, exit pop-ups, and pricing.
[Article Digest] B2B Publisher Gets Free Trial & Subscription Conversions by Slicing Higher Priced Subs into Lower Priced Subs sliced information from its $1,000-per-year database into two lower-priced subscriptions in hopes that more HR professionals would subscribe and eventually upgrade to the full database. The team developed 15-20-minute web-based, how-to demonstrations to garner interest in the new products.
[Article Digest] Offering Free Trials to Ancillary Buyers
National Health Information LLC, a business-to-business newsletter publisher, bucked stagnant subscription revenues by creating ancillary books, manuals, and reports out of existing content, and then offering ancillary product buyers a free trial to one or more of its $300-$400/year subscription newsletters via email.
[Article Digest] Second Life Increases Paid Subscribers 72% in Four Months by Offering Free Memberships
After gaining 50,000 paying members, Second Life’s registrations leveled off. Visitors bailed after seeing a $9.95 fee for lifetime membership. The team launched a 7-day test removing the $9.95 fee from the registration process.
[Article Digest] Encyclopedia Britannica Online Transitions from 100% Free to Offering Paid Subscriptions
After the advertising slump of 2000-2001 slammed Encyclopedia Britannica Online’s revenues, the site decided to pull much of its content behind a paid subscription barrier. The team decided to make the difference between free and paid content very clear by placing everything with the Britannica brand behind the wall, and leaving their other brands, such as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 100% free.
[Article Digest] Local Business Newspaper Site Switches from All-Free to Paid Subscription Access
The Daily Record, a $190 print newspaper for legal and business professionals in Maryland, also offered much of its content online for free, but ad sales weren’t outstanding. Jeff Raymond, Managing Editor of Online, said the management team was worried that if they put up a paid subscription barrier, that visitors would drop off so much that the ad sales team would not have enough eyeballs to sell against, and that small but steady revenue would be lost.
[Article Digest] LangaList Email Newsletter Converts 15% of Free Readers to a $10 Paid Edition
Hit by the advertising slow-down of 2000, Fred Langa decided to launch a paid edition of LangaList, his twice-weekly email newsletter for consumers interested in PC hardware and software. Prior to launch, Langa had determined in a “crude survey” that 2/3 of his 150,000 free email readers would consider paying for a special version.
[Article Digest] Atlanta Journal Constitution Tests Selling Digital and Print Content Online
As Director of Information Services for, Ginny Everett focused on developing new online revenue streams for the largest newspaper in the Southeastern U.S. She tested three types of offers:
[Article Digest] How to Get Email Newsletter Opt-ins to Purchase $100-$200 Subscriptions Using Low-Cost One-Off Products as Bait
Using low-cost one-off products to bait email newsletter opt-ins into purchasing $100-$200 subs paid off for Element K, a publisher of how-to content for IT professionals, confirming their belief that targeting customers yields far better results than marketing to outside lists.


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