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7 Things You Should Learn When Running a Paid Subscription

Apr 27th, 2023 by Nikola Sekulic

Subscription services are all the rage nowadays; they seem to be popping up at every corner and in every industry across the globe. Sectors like SaaS, Entertainment, Real Estate, and Meal Kit Companies primarily use the subscription-based model. Even E-commerce companies are adopting subscription-based models to supplement their income and retain loyal customers.

This should come as no surprise, of course, as these and many other sectors have a golden opportunity to capitalize on the need to deliver value to customers on a regular basis. However, a subscription-based model alone cannot guarantee success.

Here are some key strategies to learn and implement when running a paid subscription to drive lead generation, conversions, and brand experience in 2023 and beyond.

Presentation matters for physical and virtual products

Whether running a subscription for an online service, software product, or physical products and services, visual branding is paramount. The subscription model is currently overused in almost every industry; therefore, the modern customer is spoiled for choice.


Not only must you have an amazing product and unique selling points for your marketing strategy to succeed, but you must also have amazing visuals to boot. This goes for anything from a journalism portfolio that will get you noticed by potential publishers to E-commerce, SaaS, and any other industry.

First, make sure your visual elements, from graphics to images and fonts, are in line with your brand style guide and then weave these elements into your online presentation and physical subscription product.

You can easily do this with Issuu when you want to create product flipbooks and engaging digital brochures or when you want to breathe life into your social media posts and content in general. Issuu allows you to transform any file into a rich visual presentation and a format that suits your needs and the channel where you want to publish it.

When presenting your products in the best possible light digitally and offline, you can use Issuu’s platform to create engaging visuals that will set you apart from the competition.

Get ahead in the competitive SaaS scene

The SaaS industry is more saturated than it has ever been. Modern businesses and individuals clearly need tailored software to achieve various sales, marketing, operational, and other mission-critical objectives; however, there seems to be a SaaS solution for every need, making it difficult for small businesses to compete with the giants in the industry.

Capitalizing on the subscription model in the SaaS sector as an SMB means designing effective pricing pages and optimizing the core product, delivering exceptional customer service, seamless onboarding, and numerous quality-of-life perks to customers. It also means investing in brand-building and focusing on brand stickiness (memorability) to inspire people to stay at your side no matter how the competitors may try to charm them.

Creating a powerful, memorable brand ensures the bigger players in your industry won’t be able to poach your customers with any deals or discounts.

Gather customer data for lead generation

In the subscription sector, customer acquisition is a costly process. Minimize financial waste with quality lead generation. Gear all the marketing and sales activities you invest in to establish specific actions that specific customers take at specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

Tailor your content and messaging to suit each stage of the buyer’s journey. To do this, you need to collect the right information and continuously research your customers.

There are a host of tools to gather data, from an online form or a survey to automated data collection tools. You can even harness social listening to gauge brand sentiment and reputation. That said, be careful how you collect and use this data. 

There are many benefits of a code of ethics when it comes to data management that cannot be overstated in the modern consumer market, as there are numerous laws and regulations protecting customers from misuse. Use the data you collect to empower your lead gen processes, but make sure you have the customers’ consent and that you adhere to the laws in each market and region. 

All of these strategies are instrumental in crafting unique messaging and content that generates qualified leads while keeping your brand safe in the process.

Boost sales with social proof

Social proof is when people follow the purchasing habits of others because they see satisfied customers buying your products. Building social proof means leveraging and showcasing the customer’s positive experiences. 

The same applies to subscription-based businesses in any industry, which is why building social proof is one of the best ways to increase online sales through customer reviews, testimonials and ratings, user-generated content, and live conversion feeds. 

It’s also a good idea to build social proof through influencer marketing, as you can use influencers to not only expand your brand’s reach but also generate leads and new subscriptions through trust. People trust their peers but also their influencers; make sure to use both. 

One of the best ways to monetize your subscriptions and the wonderful content you create is through Issuu’s Digital Sales feature. The Digital Sales platform allows you to sell your digital content worldwide as a single issue or a part of a subscription without incurring any commission fees.

This is a great way to boost your sales while delivering value to your audience and building a loyal customer base that wants to support you and your work.

Invest in the right team to improve CX

Your marketing team will make or break your subscription business, so you must invest in building a powerful one that communicates and collaborates seamlessly. The key to creating a successful, all-remote team is to sync departments and unify department-specific operational goals.


There can be no department silos in your organization if you want to thrive in subscription marketing, sales, or customer service. From hiring virtual executive assistants to getting social media marketers, support agents, sales experts, and UX designers on board, you need talent from various sectors to support an efficient and effective operation. 

Monitor engagement and optimize subscriptions

Continuous optimization and improvement are the only way to create a sustainable subscription business and keep loyal customers at your side, not only because your competitors will constantly innovate and improve their products but also because modern customers demand progress, better personalization, and novelty.

To optimize your subscriptions, properly allocate resources, and minimize waste, you need money, and more importantly, data. Generate meaningful insights through your subscription management software by monitoring your subscriptions' usage and key metrics and by plugging the data into your CRM for a comprehensive overview of trends, churn, upsells, and customer lifetime value (CLV).

Focus heavily on customer retention

Speaking of CLV (customer lifetime value), if you want to create a sustainable business with recurring revenue with minimal churn, you need to focus heavily on customer retention. Ensure your current customers stick with you for the long haul by continuously nurturing your customer relationships to inspire them to keep paying for the subscription. Ensure this retention by improving your service, optimizing deliverables, and reaching out to loyal customers with new offers and perks.


While your primary goal is incentivizing people to stay subscribed, opening cross-sell and up-sell opportunities is equally important. Only by developing and deepening your relationship with long-standing customers can you safely approach them with new and better products and services and, thus, a higher subscription price point.

With that in mind, make customer retention your primary goal, and you will boost your brand’s reputation, trust, and social proof in the process.

Wrapping up

Kick-starting a paid subscription business, regardless of your sector, is a big challenge when you consider the sheer amount of competition and the speed with which the market is evolving. Remember these tips to implement the best practices that will sharpen your competitive edge in 2023 and the years to come.

Nikola Sekulic is a seasoned brand developer, writer, and storyteller who turns fresh ideas into engaging stories for the online community.