Optimising High-Value Subscription Renewals: How market analyst publishers can use technology to retain subscribers

Your job as a publisher is to ensure your subscriber gets excellent value from your content. Prove this and your customer will be eager to renew.

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This guide is for market analysis publishers and high-value business information providers. Our best practice guide looks at how publishers can:

  • Use usage stats play a vital role in renewals,
  • Demonstrate content value to clients,
  • Build and maintain close user relationships,
  • Offer a point of marketplace differentiation.

The 1,800-word guide includes real-life examples of how research publishers have applied technology to make content more accessible and improve renewal rates.

Contents

  • It’s no longer about individual sales, it’s about relationships…
  • Make annual renewal meetings procedural
  • Run multiple brands from a single platform
  • Build closer customer relationships
  • Be the point of differentiation in competitive markets

If you sell information to a business audience, then this free best practice overview is for you.

3 key challenges account managers face when using analytics during subscription renewals

An account manager who can establish what content has been accessed by users – and their engagement levels – is well-placed to accurately convey to the customer the value of the service they enjoy.

For many publishers, however, establishing even basic usage data can be a challenge that ultimately does nothing to aid the renewal process or boost understanding of the users.

Yet if these challenges can be overcome – and a supply of good quality user data established – a publisher will have the tools needed to help boost engagement and improve customer retention.

In this short guide, we examine three key challenges facing account managers as they attempt to use analytics to establish critical insights and build customer loyalty.

Challenge 1: Faster, easier, and more usable data

A research organisation looking to extract insights from usage data can be negatively impacted if the process to extract them is manual or slow. For data to play a fundamental role in the development of a research business, access needs to be quick, easy, and automated.

Better flow

Improving the ‘flow’ of information can increase use, but this alone won’t herald a data rich age. Information also needs to be presented in a way that helps establish insights immediately.
That means providing the ability to view stats from an account and user perspective or to easily switch to review usage by topic and/or content category.

Visualizing data

Whatever data is sought, it’s a must to display this via a dashboard that summarises activity and enables more considered investigation. Account managers don’t want to rely on asking colleagues for stats, to wait for them to arrive, then be forced to format them in a spreadsheet before they make any sense. Account managers need immediate access and insights.

If detected early, the opportunity exists to turn a disenchanted user into a satisfied customer; but to do this account managers need to be empowered with tools that provide real insights.

Challenge 2: Refocus on engagement

Data provides insights that help forge closer ties with customers, but often they’re only used to review client performance or to demonstrate value ahead of a contract renewal.

Usage of this kind is, of course, vital; but if data is only used in this way then a fundamental part of its potential is wasted…

Re-engage to retain.

Regularly reviewing usage stats can help account managers identify, at an early stage, poorly performing accounts and disengaged customers the publisher is at risk of losing.

Sometimes the limited usage challenge is the result of poor data. If the only available stats come from the CRM system, they’re unlikely to have the necessary depth to help identify a disconnected customer.

If detected early, the opportunity exists to turn a disenchanted user into a satisfied customer; but to do this account managers need to be empowered with tools that provide real insights.

 

Challenge 3: Standardisation

What to measure and report

Usage stats can establish the strength of a publisher’s customer relationships and help identify opportunities for improvement, but none of this is possible without a structured approach to data gathering.

Statistical performance highlights aren’t enough: standardisation is critical. That means a common set of datapoints regularly gathered and reported to help an account manager understand, at any given time, what content is most compelling, what isn’t working, which users are most compelled, and those that are not.

Establishing and reporting even basic data points like this can help account managers to accurately establish customer insights that, in turn, can drive their business forward.

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  • Analytics
  • Subscribers
  • Subscription Renewals

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Boost your renewals: Three new functions to help account managers retain customers

Here at Publish Interactive, our aim is to help research publishers improve the way they do business. Extensive customer feedback told us that publishers need new ways to help account managers to increase customer retention. You asked, and we have delivered…

Our latest feature rollout contains three new pieces of functionality to help account managers reengage customers, assist them during subscription renewals, and measure the impact of their work through charting customers’ renewals year on year.

1. Understand your customer retention rate

Account Renewals

The graph displayed in the new Account Renewals page breaks down how many customers held a license in each year. It details new clients and the number of clients that renewed from the previous year.

This visualization provides a critical performance insight. It will help publishers decide where to focus their revenue improvement efforts – either in gaining new customers or on retention.

2. Identify your at-risk/disengaged customers

Activity Score

To ensure a happy customer, an account manager needs to understand the way in which they use and interact with research content. To help them achieve this, Publish Interactive’s new Activity Score function records all user actions across an account in any given period and turns this into an overall engagement score.

At a glance, account managers can see what actions are contributing to the score and quickly understand how an account has been used.

The overall score then allows account managers to quickly compare periods to see how activity has changed over time.

3. Demonstrate your value at renewal time

Improved Logs

To accurately assess the behaviour of customers, account managers need simple and clear information about their activity. That’s why Publish Interactive has overhauled its activity logging approach. Not only have four new types of activity log been added, each log definition has been recreated to make them easier to understand.

The combined use of the Activity Score and the new logs will help account managers gain a greater understanding of customers and their relationship with content.

The new functionality added to Publish Interactive will also enable account managers to prove the impact content is having on customers and, as a result, act as a vital tool in encouraging subscription renewals

Publish Interactive is keen to continue improving this area. We’d love to hear your ideas about the functionality you need to keep renewals high.

How a SaaS publishing platform helps research and analysis firms retain clients and increase revenue

The basic way business information firms win trust and turn prospects into customers is through the provision of high-quality research and analysis – but beyond this win, what steps can they take to ensure customers retain their enthusiasm and belief in the service they are being provided?

To put it simply, how does a research and analysis business keep surprising and delighting its customers beyond simply supplying good quality information?

Here at Publish Interactive we work in collaborative partnerships with our research and analysis clients on this very issue. The solution, we’ve found, isn’t complicated – it’s simply a matter of pairing our unique, highly-customizable technology with consultancy tailored to the specific needs of our individual customers.

Improved technology = happier customers

If we look solely at how retention rates can be improved and revenue encouraged upward from your existing customer base, then a technological solution starts to look all the more inviting. Getting more from your existing customers could be as simple as enhancing the way you supply them with information.

Instead of supplying your customers with a PDF report that is time-consuming to read and difficult to extract information from, why not integrate that content into their workflow?

A smart publishing system can turn a whole report into a series of chapters and content snippets that researchers can search through easily. Finding data or analysis only then takes as long as entering a term and clicking the button for the results. Once the researcher has all the necessary information at hand, a smart publishing technology should allow them to compile this content, then author and export their own bespoke reports – all without having to go through lots of tiresome copying and pasting into traditional authoring tools.

Once technology is engrained into a researcher’s workflow in this way, it encourages greater use and further engagement with a publisher’s content. Then, if your technology is good, customers can add comments and share those with colleagues as well as creating quick, custom reports on-the-fly that help fuel day-to-day discussion.

Happier customers = sales potential

When greater engagement (as demonstrated above) is coupled with good search, it can make a publisher’s whole portfolio more visible and useful to customers. Imagine also a search engine that allows you to highlight key, related, or recently published content – that’s a great cross- and up-sell opportunity right there.

Instead of focusing solely on single sales, features like this can encourage multiple report purchases and even makes it easier to introduce a subscription-based model for those researchers that find your platform integral to their day-to-day tasks.

Gaining end user info

The more you’re able to understand about your end users’ interests, the greater your ability to guide them to relevant content – which raises the question: what kind of actionable information can they provide you?

  • Account health – have they logged in recently? Have they left? Who are your ‘at risk’ users?
  • Engagement – what’s their access pattern over time? How much time do they spend on the platform?
    What kind of bounce rate do you get from users? Or from different content sets or formats?
  • What kind of content are they searching for, accessing and downloading?
  • What haven’t they already viewed that could be relevant?
  • How many users have you converted from single sales into subscribers?

Additional publisher benefits

A good publishing system makes life easier for your customers by embedding the content and various access tools they’ll need into the heart of their working day – but benefits of a system like this aren’t exclusively the preserve of your customers.

A high-quality publishing platform should allow easy editing of published content, freeing the author’s time so they can focus on improving quality and generating additional material.

In addition, usage stats should provide valuable information that can be used in customer analysis to further improve content production and marketing promotions.

What about buying-in a solution or in-house development?

It’s likely any business information provider who developed their own publishing system or bought-in software could find improvements to their customer retention and satisfaction rates, but we think they might quickly run into a whole new set of problems.

Here at Content Catalyst we have been developing the Publish Interactive platform for more than 12 years. In fact, that’s all we do! Our every effort is spent constantly refining and improving the way the publishing platform works for our customers, and their users too. But this only really works because of our close collaborative approach. By working directly with our clients we can customize our technology to their specific requirements.

This process of continual refinement comes as part of the package to help keep our customers supplied with the most up-to-date technology possible; but if you were to buy software, or develop it, your firm would continually be managing upgrade projects to stay relevant. That’s expensive, and so is employing a tech team to run it all.

A serviced software solution lets you know your long-term costs, helps you stay at the cutting-edge of technology, and ensures you can win new business.