A media company wins a Google Digital Journalism Innovation Award for its membership-based model built to help drive editorial content. Other news media are moving toward digital subscription models to combat falling ad revenue. Still others are experimenting with new ways to leverage audience data to guide content in ways that will keep readers engaged and attract new ones.

Digital subscriptions are taking an increasingly important role in the media – newspapers, magazines, newsletters and broadcast. There’s so much you can do with a bank of subscribers and the data you can glean from them. However, it’s important to get the basics first. Here are five suggestions*:

  • Build a thriving community – Cultivate a community of enthusiasts around your brand that are willing to share their experience with others. Your community must be a trusted group of peers that can authenticate your product, provide you with needed feedback, and help establish a sense of belonging around your brand. Your community is the lifeblood of your subscription business and great care must be taken to create, nurture, and grow it from the very beginning if you wish to be successful.
  • Establish value – In order to start a successful subscription business, you must answer the following question, “Why would people agree to a recurring payment for my product or service?” Your subscribers need to get more perceived value from your product or service than the value of the money that they’re trading in exchange.
  • Create opportunities for discovery – How are you helping your subscribers come across new products, services, or in the case of publishers, content and information? You’re not doing your customers any favors if they aren’t aware of what you’re offering. Create a discovery experience for your customers that is fun, helpful, informative, or all three.
  • Have amazing customer service – It may be easier and cheaper to outsource your customer service experience or to only offer e-mail support, but the value of having a real person, empowered to help you there on the other end of the phone, cannot be overstated. Every customer and every situation is unique and deserves to be treated that way. Also, having a dedicated, well-trained customer service team gives you the opportunity to collect valuable feedback from your subscribers that you can use to make your product or service better.
  • Having integrity – You must be committed to quality and your customer’s experience at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey if you want to be a successful subscription business. Naviga Engage gives you the opportunity to communicate with your customers every step of the way.

*Previously posted on the blog of Marketing G2, now part of the Naviga family.

About the Author: Karina Fabian has been writing about business, leadership & management, and software applications for over a decade. Before joining Naviga, she wrote reviews of business software and services for Top Ten Reviews and Tom’s Guide, and about business practices and leadership for Business News Daily and Business.com. In addition to writing for Naviga, she is a freelance writer and author of 16 books.