Top 5 Mistakes in Paywall Design for Conversion Optimization for Subscription Sites

What’s the first rule of paywall optimization? Don’t let your customers hear you call your paywall a paywall. Instead, allow them to purchase a

What’s the first rule of paywall optimization? Don’t let your customers hear you call your paywall a paywall. Instead, allow them to purchase a digital or online subscription.But paywall optimization is more than just linguistics. And there’s a plethora of mistakes being committed out there. Here are the top five:Mistake#1: Not having a specific paywall Subscribers like “all-access,” but prospects usually “Buy Now” because they want one particular item. When you create a specific paywall that allows prospects to concretize the one benefit they’re going to immediately get, your conversion rate will usually jump.To do this, you’ll need to create a specific summary for each piece of content or at least import the last-viewed headline into your conversion funnel copy.Mistake #2: Having distractions on the conversion pageWhat do you want prospects to do on your conversion page? Convert! So why do you have ads, recommended stories or a navigation bar on the page? Get rid of them all. The only acceptable clickable links are your conversion button and (maybe) your logo. Don’t distract prospects from giving you money!Mistake #3: Having a crappy button“Crappy” means it’s got boring copy (“Submit”) and/or a boring color (grey, or something that blends in with your brand colors). You want a big, shiny button (3D look preferred) in a stand-out color with great copy (“Buy Now,” “Get Instant Access,” etc.). Buttons are easy to design, and yet 76% of subscription sites have poor conversion buttons, according to our 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report. That’s why we created a 30-minute On-Demand Video Tutorial dedicated solely to button design.Mistake #4: Having two (or more) column formsDo you use your mouse to navigate form fields or the tab key? Most use the latter, and when doing so, a two-column form becomes confusing. Am I moving down or across the page? If you want to minimize data entry mistakes (and thus, reduce friction to conversions), make all your order forms one column.Mistake #5: Not highlighting a subscription planWhen offering multiple subscription plans and pricing, it’s best to highlight one plan over others. This can be done simply by including text saying “Best Value!” or “Most Popular!” When you do so, you help people make a decision and reduce your form abandons — thus, increasing subscription sales.If you’re making any of these five mistakes, you’re likely making others and will want to check out the handy New Toolkit on Paywall Optimization, available on Subscription Site Insider. And if you’re not making these mistakes, you’ll want to check and make sure you’re adhering to the 12 guidelines outlined in our Best Practice Tip Sheet.

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