There’s experimenting research going on with paywalls for some local websites. This is a nice development online, as it has become easier to monopolize local news more than national news. This simply means that once readers find your content online more valuable, there’s the probability that they can pay to have access to it.
However, the sad news is that when you take a quick view of some paywalls, it tells you that publishers need to massively improve on their methods of promoting the benefits of subscribing to their services.
Here are awful ways of trying to sell content subscriptions to readers
The Northumberland Gazette
The Northumberland Gazette paywall
To begin with, in case you intend to sell your content, shouldn’t you make it attractive? You shouldn’t try referring readers to the website for subscriptions just to sell the product.
First, is there any reason why a reader should go for a premium subscription? You should be able to tell them what they will get, and how it will benefit them. If you make this mistake, then I think you need some marketing tactics.
The Worksop Guardian
The Worksop Guardian paywall
Here’s another of my experiment which points out that visitors can only read the full story in the paper.
So how underwhelming is this? Shouldn’t you be talking about how great the content in the paper is or its reading benefits? You should ensure that the upsell message stands out clearly.
You should understand that this is your focused marketing message. This means that having a greyish font with a lilac background will not allow it to stand out.
Make sure you sell the benefits to your visitors. I understand I won’t be allowed to get full access to the website except I subscribe. But is there anything good on the website? If there is, then let the visitor know.
I suppose that the FT Company may have checked this out and it works. If this is true, then pardon me. However, I think it doesn’t have all it takes to portray the benefits of registering for even free, not to talk about paying to have access. There are some articles and tools that weren’t described on the website.
Telegraph Clued Up
Telegraph Clued Up paywall
This is becoming interesting. It’s vital to have a description of the benefits such as prizes, and different puzzles here. Putting some proper write-up on how the reader should subscribe needs to be fully described, with a strong call to action.
Times Crossword Club
Times Crossword paywall
Even though this is very difficult to read, you can check out the list of member benefits here. This is exactly how to sell.
Here’s a good one you should emulate. It shows what exactly you would get in context. Right there, you’ll find a description of all benefits, with a strong call to action. This website allows you to browse through their content and with the ability to hide the best information you want.
I hope publishers are not embarrassed by paywalls? I don’t think most publishers understand how to sell online. What could be the problem? I think they lack copywriting skills. Most of them want readers to pay for online content but don’t know how to clearly describe it.