Case Study Lessons: Nonprofit B2C Magazine Gets 80% Retention and $1.6M in Revenue with Online Memberships

By Minal Bopaiah

The consumer magazine industry has been slow to adopt its content, marketing and subscriptions to anything online or digital.

But in Subscription Site Insider’s Case Study on Tricycle this week, we see irrefutable proof that the online and digital environment isn’t death to consumer magazines, especially if publishers are willing to adopt multi-channel marketing and adapt content.

Editor and publisher James Shaheen spoke with our Katherine Noyes exclusively about how the formerly print-only magazines is garnering $1.6 million in revenue, and $688,000 is through subscriptions alone. The site sells online memberships that not include access to the magazine content, but also digital content like video retreats, eBooks and a mobile app.

The boost in revenue has helped the organization become more financially self-sufficient, so that even though donations account for 20% of revenue, they only account for 7% of operating costs. Moreover, subscription sales, coupled with advertising and event ticket sales, led to a $200,000 surplus for the organization last year!

But one of the facts that impressed us the most was Tricycle’s 80% retention rate for annual subscriptions (it does not offer monthly plans). This is the best retention rate we’ve ever seen on a B2C publication, and Shaheen attributes it to auto-renewal and a lengthy win-back campaign that emails expired subscribers 11 times over the year.

“One of the nice things about e-renewals is that it’s not expensive to keep changing the reminders — you can tailor them to what’s going on right now, so people get to hear about specifically what they’re missing,” Shaheen told us.

Every consumer magazine, nonprofit organization and even for-profit subscription site should read this Case Study today!