Five Tips to Growing Reader Revenue: Attracting and Sustaining a Loyal Audience

You want to grow your membership numbers and increase your reader revenue. That much you know – but how do you make it happen?

Think of your conversion strategy as a continuous stage in the sales funnel — one fueled by an understanding of your audience’s needs, preferences and daily habits. Knowing what makes your users tick will make it easier to attract and sustain a loyal audience, while having the right tools and processes in place will keep those conversions flowing. With that in mind, consider the following five actionable ways to grow your membership and user revenue:

1. Look Beyond the Paywall

When you consider the purchase funnel, it’s not just about a single number or “conversion rate.” In fact, there’s a series of metrics you need to understand at every stage, though they’re all related and influence each other. While the number of users who even see an offer is hugely important, so is the amount of friction at the end of the funnel. We see a lot of variation across our client base, depending on the business model in use, as well as the maturity and sophistication of the operating team.

2. Target Your Loyal Users

Loyal users value your content more and are more likely to encounter an offer — making visitor loyalty one of the best indicators that someone will subscribe or become a member of your site. In contrast, social and search visitors have a much lower rate of conversion — about one third the average and 95 percent lower than loyal users. Your homepage, then, matters more than you think. Even if search visitors might rarely see it, your loyal readers definitely will. 

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask (Again and Again)

Just as it does in the real world, frequency matters when it comes to conversion. Sometimes it takes a while to get users to click, and requires exposing them to multiple offers until you find one that works. For most content creators, conversions happen within the first few offers, but for others it takes many more. Other factors — like your business model (whether it’s metered, freemium or a hard paywall) and your promotion tactics — can also have a huge impact on your results. 

4. Don’t Try to Make Your Meter One Size Fits All

While 10 pageviews used to be pretty typical for metered sites, it’s now become a ceiling for meter heights. Instead, there’s a clear trend toward lowering meter heights over time. The lower the meter height, the more chance a user will encounter an offer. Of course, there’s also the option of personalizing the paywall experience based on likelihood to subscribe.

5. Begin Retention Marketing on Day One

Loyalty and engagement continue to be important even after users become subscribers. There’s a clear relationship between frequency of consumption and rate of churn — the higher the engagement, the lower the churn. This is why having an onboarding campaign is so crucial when developing your audience revenue program. Efforts like following up with an email welcome, personalizing areas of your site, encouraging cross-platform reading via your mobile app, or creating editorial and site features that drive repeat visits, are simple ways to help you better connect with your audience and increase engagement overall. 

At Piano, we want to provide you with the tools you need to improve engagement, convert your unknown users to known, and better monetize your premium content. To learn more about how Piano can help, send us an email at