Whether you call them enterprise subscriptions, corporate subscriptions, team licences or group packages, more and more B2B publishers are realising the value of selling subscriptions to organisations as wells as individuals. But why is this a good strategy? And what’s involved in converting your individual subs to enterprise subs?
Why enterprise subs add value to your business
Even if you have to discount for a five-person or ten-person licence, the marginal cost of digital subscriptions is so low that the profit contribution will go up. If someone leaves an organisation, the sponsor of the package can often find another person to replace them. And over time companies may well upgrade from five to ten or even higher packages. Most publishers have found that enterprise subscriptions enjoy higher retention rates than individual subs, largely due to this replacement option. Retention rates of over 90% are common. And once you have your systems and processes set up, operational costs are likely to be lower.
Converting individual subs to enterprise subs
A first step is to understand your market. Take a look at your individual subs base and analyse the companies and organisations they represent. If some are large organisations with several people in the job role you target, then there is plenty of room to grow. And don’t forget the organisations in your sector that don’t currently have even individual subs – maybe look at your free email newsletter list or event delegate list for ideas.
Get a feel for whether a 5-seat or 50-seat licence would suit the market best. Work out your pricing strategy and create a pricing page. Start with self-service, see how many individual subs convert spontaneously. You might need to tweak your pricing if sign-ups are slow. Then go back to your individual subscription list and look for advocates to whom you can send a tailored email offer for their colleagues. Or even pick out some key prospects and approach a senior person who might sponsor a team package.
If you are dealing with high-ticket subs or larger companies, consider a telesales team to approach them. Maybe offer a low size package to start with and then aim to trade them up the following year.
Growing the number of licences
Some publishers have a membership look up tool so that visitors can enter their email to check whether their employer already has a corporate subscription, and they can gain access instantly. This works best when you have agreed a flexible package with the company, so they get charged on a per user basis. Customers can also have the option of a cap on numbers so they can control their budget if lots of staff sign up. Some publishers only charge the customer for active users, which encourages them to open up access to a wider group of staff. It’s then your task as publisher to get them engaged.
Building engagement and retention for enterprise subs
Enterprise subscribers are passive buyers, in contrast to individual subscribers who have made an active decision to subscribe. So, you need to work harder at onboarding. If the corporate customer has shared individual emails, you can send them an induction pack or even video instructions. Larger B2B publishers have a customer success team who may set up demos or answer queries from employees with a group subscription.
The person who manages the enterprise subscription can be provided with a dashboard showing the engagement levels among staff. This can identify lapsed users who may need more support and is useful at renewal time to prove engagement levels. Providing personalisation features eg topics of interest, bookmarking, email alerts, saved searches can encourage organisations to have multiple user licences rather than have just one login and password and share it around.
The value of analytics
As well as spotting lapse risks and upsell opportunities, analytics of enterprise subs can provide insight into how content preferences vary across companies. This can help if you sell targeted events or reports and provides good feedback for editorial development and niche newsletters.
Converting individual subs to team subs is a long-term project. It may take a couple of years to build up significant enterprise subs revenue, but it contributes to the resilience of your subscription revenues, and the ultimate value of your media business.
How to find out more
If you’d like to discuss how to convert from individual to team subscriptions, do get in touch for a chat over a real or virtual coffee.
If you run a publishing or media business, you might enjoy being part of the Speciall Media Group, a community that I have run for over two years. We have more than 200 publishing and media leaders as members. We exclude vendors, suppliers, and consultants so it is principally a peer-to-peer best practice forum. It’s free (for now) and invite only – here is the link to request to join.
About the author
Carolyn Morgan has acquired, launched, built, and sold specialist media businesses in print, digital and events. She now advises niche consumer and B2B publishers on developing new products and digital revenue streams as a consultant and NED.