As we discovered in our survey of subscription site executives for the 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report, 87% of subscription sites plan on launching new subscription and paid products this year. One new product that we particularly like is the Toronto Star’s eBook subscription service for long-form news content called Star Dispatches.Subscribers to Star Dispatches get one long-form news story — of varying genres, from lifestyle to investigative pieces — delivered each week to their chosen eReader device (iPad, Nook, etc.) for the low price of $1. The new subscription product has been able to garner thousands of subscribers in just six months.One way Star Dispatches has been able to garner so many subscribers is by emailing the Toronto Star’s existing database of subscribers with six-week trial offers. (Note: Star Dispatches has a number of savvy marketing tactics, including leveraging the Toronto Star website’s tremendous traffic with display ads. To find out more about their marketing tactics and the expected profitability by year’s end, read the Case Study on Subscription Site Insider.)However, Star Dispatches makes one critical mistake in how it leverages existing subscribers of its flagship publication — it requires existing subscribers create a new account on StarDispatches.com.For this reason, Star Dispatches doesn’t automatically charge takers of its six-week trial. Instead it asks Toronto Star subscribers to enter their credit card information again — even though the company already has the information on file!This is a technological hiccup that subscription sites can remedy by creating integrated databases and single sign-ons. In fact, TheDay did this nicely, allowing subscribers to easily take advantage of its membership rewards program, even though the news site and membership program were on two different sites and platforms.While single sign-ons require custom coding in most cases, they’re usually worth the expense in terms of conversion optimization and retention. So, if you’re launching a new subscription product this year, be sure to budget time and money for this technology. It’ll keep you profitable down the line.
Case Study Lessons: When Launching New Subscription Products, Create Single Sign-On for Existing Subscribers
As we discovered in our survey of subscription site executives for the 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report, 87% of subscription sites plan on launching