The Telegraph subscription page

How to Create Successful Subscription Pages: Tips and Winning Examples

This guide tackles the what, why and how of optimizing your subscription pages for more conversions, less abandonment and a better UX.

Subscription-based models have revolutionized businesses. Whether it’s streaming services, online publications, ecommerce products, or SaaS companies, subscriptions have become the cornerstone of successful organizations.

One element plays a significant role in capturing and retaining customers: the subscription page.

A subscription page is the gateway to a customer’s ongoing relationship with your business. It’s where potential subscribers evaluate the value proposition, make a purchase decision, and join your audience. Thus, the importance of a well-designed and optimized subscription page cannot be overstated.

In this article, we explore subscription pages, explain why they deserve optimization, teach you how to make your own, and share our favorite examples for inspiration.

Additionally, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to create compelling subscription services that captivate your target audience.

What is a Subscription Page?

A subscription page is a web page that allows users to sign up or subscribe to receive updates, content, services, and access to digital products or physical products.

A subscription page typically includes fields where users can enter their personal information (such as name and email address) and/or payment information. It often provides an option for users to select their preferences, areas of interest, or product tier.  

For example, in an ecommerce store, a subscription page might refer to a product details page with a subscription option. On the other hand, it might refer to a landing page for a subscription box company.

A content site (like a news website or blog) would use a subscription page to subscribe for updates, pay to access premium content (this is called a paywall), or both.

A SaaS organization would use a subscription page to sell access to its digital product. These often offer multiple subscription levels (pricing tiers) for different levels of access.

Why Should You Optimize a Subscription Page?

Like any other page on your site, your subscription page deserves thoughtful optimization. Making iterative, data-based changes offers these benefits:

Increased Conversion Rate

Optimization helps improve the conversion rate of your subscription page, meaning more visitors will sign up and become subscribers and/or customers.

By making the page more user-friendly, visually appealing, and persuasive, you can encourage visitors to take action and subscribe.

Audience Growth

A well-optimized subscription page can attract a larger audience to your subscription company. By making it easy to understand the benefits of subscribing and highlighting the value they will receive, you can attract more potential subscribers.

Targeted Marketing

Optimization allows you to tailor your subscription page to specific target audiences. By including relevant and personalized messaging, you can attract subscribers who are genuinely interested in your offerings, which results in higher engagement rates and more effective marketing campaigns.

Optimizing a subscription page often means creating multiple pages for different audiences or ad campaigns. As such, this allows you to tailor the page to the people who land on it.

Data Collection

An optimized subscription page can help you collect valuable data about your subscribers. By including optional fields (aside from billing details) to capture additional information (such as demographics or interests), you can gain insights that can inform your marketing strategies and allow for more targeted and personalized communication.

Better User Experience

An optimized subscription page means a better user experience. By ensuring the page loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and has clear and concise instructions, you create a positive impression and make it easy for visitors to subscribe.

This can lead to higher satisfaction and better engagement with your content or offerings.

Less Abandonment

A poorly optimized subscription page may lead to high abandonment rates, where visitors leave the page without subscribing to one of your subscription plans. By identifying and addressing potential barriers, such as complex forms or excessive information requests, you can reduce abandonment and increase the chances of conversion to trial subscriptions or paid tiers.

What Factors Affect Subscription Websites?

Before we can talk about boosting subscription conversions, it’s important to understand what motivates people to subscribe in the first place. Then we can boost conversions by applying pressure to those motivations.

Data from Deloitte Digital’s global survey on subscription preferences tells us that financial incentives, convenience, and access to premium content are the primary reasons people subscribe to services (in that order).

info graphic showing customers' motivators for subscription pages

Financial incentives are the biggest motivators. They are 1.6X more important than other factors. This shouldn’t be a surprise, of course. People love to save money.

In regards to digital services, traditional services, or consumable products, this means lower prices. In regards to subscription ecommerce services, people also like to save money by not paying for repair costs and not paying for delivery.

Convenience can mean a lot of things, like fewer interruptions, automatic payments, simple and fast delivery, and control over the product delivered.

Access to premium content is just what it sounds like. People are willing to pay to see, view, read, watch, use, and order the good stuff. But they also want special treatment.

Other Considerations for Subscription Pages

While those factors are the most important subscription motivators, they aren’t the only ones. California State University study learned that people tend to care about

  • Added Value: The subscription must have added value to make the customer feel that it is “proprietary and differential.” Consumers are most willing to pay for content they consider to be of superior quality, exclusive value, or meeting their emotional needs.
  • Perceived Service Quality: Consumers are more likely to pay a subscription if they perceive the value of the service to be far greater than the free option.  
  • Usage Frequency: Habits play a role in whether we make purchases. If a customer makes repeat purchases at a site, they become more willing to make subsequent purchases.

How to Create a Subscription Page for Your Website

Asking someone to commit their wallet to a recurring expense is a big ask, so your subscription page needs to be convincing. These five steps will create a great page.

Step 1: Have a Clear Goal in Mind

First, decide what you hope to achieve with your subscription page.

Do you want them to subscribe to a paid tier? Or just start the free trial? Do you want them to subscribe to the product they’re currently viewing, or add a different subscription?

Then, define who your subscription page is for. Do you have a wide range of customers or a narrow target? How will this person benefit from the subscription plan? What problems will it solve for them?

Answers to these questions will guide the process as you build your subscription page.

Step 2: Offer Valuable Benefits

Before expecting customers to hit that subscription button and type their billing details, it’s important to explain the benefits of an active subscription.

Outline the benefits your customers will receive by subscribing. Try to be realistic here. If your product saves 5 minutes of time per week, you shouldn’t call it a “time saver.”

Make sure your benefits are worth paying for. If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and redesign the product or service.

In these cases, it helps to survey a group of people who represent your audience. Ask them about the kinds of benefits they would pay for.

Step 3: Create Membership Tiers

Many subscriptions offer multiple plans that accommodate different customers, their needs, and their budgets. Subscribers of lower tiers can always be pushed to higher tiers later.

Consider whether your subscription requires multiple tiers and what they should look like. Make sure the price increase of higher tiers is worth their benefit.

Check out this Zendesk pricing page. Notice how they offer plans for each type of customer and even a custom plan for customers who don’t fall into one of those categories. Visit the full page to see how they cleverly compare their plans to help customers decide.

zendesk subscription pricing page

Step 4: Avoid Too Much Information

As you create your subscription page, it’s tempting to fill it with as much information as possible. Many people do this in order to answer every question and overcome every objection.

In most cases, however, too much information can overwhelm your audience. They may assume that your product or service is too complex or hard to understand.

Instead, prioritize the information your audience needs to see. What do they expect to see? What do they need to know? And what action do you expect them to take? Consider offering a trial subscription to reduce the commitment for new customers.

If you feel like the necessary information is creating too much clutter, consider displaying it in smart design. For instance, collapsible FAQ questions are popular ways to put more information on a page without creating a mess.

Patreon does a great job of explaining its platform and the benefits you’ll receive without too much copywriting.

patreon information page

Step 5: Don’t Make Your Customers Think

Generally speaking, your customers don’t expect to spend a lot of time thinking about how to use your site. They want it to be intuitive so they can get what they need and move on.

If your site is complex or untraditional, there’s a good chance your visitors will abandon it for something more familiar.

Make the experience simple for your customers wherever possible. They should understand exactly what they’re expected to do in a moment. If they get stopped by an error when they try to move forward, you’ve just inserted friction into the customer experience.

For instance, suppose your site requires customers to choose a size before moving to the next step. In this case, the size selector should be highlighted (or made obvious in some way), and the “Next” or “Add to Cart” button should be muted, hidden, or grayed out.

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8 Winning Examples of Subscription Websites

Let’s look at some of the best subscription pages and websites. These examples will give you inspiration to help you design your own.

1. Beer Cartel

beer cartel subscription pricing

Beer Cartel offers a range of beer subscriptions based on your preferences.

Why it’s a good subscription page:

  • Clear and direct instructions so the visitor knows exactly what to do.
  • Simple choices that are easy to distinguish. No confusion here!
  • There’s a clear price benefit to choosing a higher subscription tier.
  • The benefits of each option are clear and concise. No unnecessary copy here!
  • Testimonials, press mentions, and awards are great social proof.
  • Next page (see below) lets you control the duration of your subscription. It also provides more detailed information, frequently asked questions, and customer reviews.
beer cartel product page

2. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club sells shaving products for men. Some products are sold one-off, and others can be purchased as subscriptions.

dollar shave product page

Why it’s a good subscription page:

  • Photos and videos are high quality and informative.
  • The subscription option is pre-selected.
  • Usage tips help would-be buyers get the most value out of their purchase.
  • Choice of delivery cadence is a nice touch.
  • Descriptive text is comprehensive but not overwhelming.
  • Overall, the page is clear and simple. There’s no confusion about what to do next.

3. HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a meal subscription. You can get pre-portioned ingredients and delicious recipes to cook at home.

hello fresh homepage

Why it’s a good subscription site:

  • The home page is super simple: It explains how the program works, the benefits, and shows off some examples of recipes you could receive.
  • There’s only one way forward. Even the sample recipes expand on the same page without sending you somewhere else on the site. Every link sends you down the path of completing your subscription.
  • The second page of the path (see below) requires you to make choices, but the interface is simple and intuitive. The progress indicator at the top is a great feature to help customers understand where they are in the process and what’s next.
  • Selecting meals is the last part of the process, after checkout, which encourages users to get through payment quickly so they can get to the good part.
HelloFresh personalization of subscription plan

4. The Telegraph

The Telegraph is an award-winning, multimedia news brand known for its quality, credibility, and authority. They’ve been in business for more than 165 years.

The Telegraph subscription page

Why it’s a good subscription site:

  • The signup page is remarkably simple. There’s nothing confusing about it.
  • There’s a clear difference between the two pricing tiers. The first option is significant savings. Neither option is a significant investment, which helps conversions. Remember, saving money is the top subscription motivator.
  • The second page is equally simple (see below). It’s smart to include the order summary on the right to remind the customer what they’re getting.
The Telegraph checkout

5.  Audible

Audible is an audio membership that gives you access to countless books, podcasts, and original content.

Audible homepage

Why it’s a good subscription page:

  • Audible knows that people care about price, which is why they focus on it so much. They clearly highlight “3 months free” and “Try for $0.”
  • The “What you get” and “Frequently asked questions” sections include all the information you need to make a decision but without overwhelming you.
  • Showing popular podcasts keeps you focused on your goal: getting to great content.
  • Showing podcasts from celebrities and influential people is a great way to subtly boost the value of the offering .
  • The subscription progression is very simple. There’s only one way forward.
  • Tie-in with Amazon Prime is smart since people already trust it (and likely have it).

6. Bright Cellars

Bright Cellars is a wine subscription that’s matched to your unique taste profile. Your preferences are determined with the help of a short quiz.

bright cellars quiz for subscription personalization

Why it’s a good subscription site:

  • Since taking the quiz is the first step in the subscription process, it’s good that everything pushes you in that direction.
  • The “how it works” information is simple and easy to digest.
  • Lots of social proof down the page.
  • The quiz (see below) is simple and easy to answer quickly. This is a great way to give visitors momentum without asking them to make a commitment.
  • After completing the quiz, but before seeing the recommendations, visitors must submit their email address. This is a smart way to re-engage them if they choose not to buy now.
bright cellar personalization quiz

7. The New York Times

The New York Times is a daily news organization with millions of print and digital subscribers.

The New York Times paywall

Why it’s a good subscription page:

  • It’s a very simple page because that’s all it needs to be.
  • Pricing tiers are clear and understandable right away. They are smart to use a weekly price, rather than a monthly price, because it feels like less commitment.
  • The list of included features is concise yet informative. Graying out what you don’t get in the lower tier is a great way to push fear of missing out.
  • While most visitors are after the digital subscription, they included a method to get the print editions just in case.

8. eHarmony

eHarmony is a popular online dating site that has brought millions of people together.

eHarmony homepage

Why it’s a good subscription page:

  • Smiling couples is exactly what you want to see on a dating website!
  • The call to action is actually a brief quiz, which is a great way to get you into the subscription flow without asking for a big commitment.
  • The page has tons of great social proof.
  • Lots of great information and a video on how it works.

How The Good Can Help with Your Subscription Website

If you aren’t happy with the performance of your subscription website, The Good can help. We have experience optimizing the subscription processes of countless ecommerce, SaaS, and content sites.

Recently we worked with the Telegraph to improve their subscription experience. They came to us with the goal of improving conversion and retention rates. How did we do it?

First, we improved paywall conversions and subscriber quality using user testing, session recordings, heatmaps, heuristic analysis, and over-the-shoulder research. We adjusted the messaging, layout, paywall placement, timing, and other paywall journey elements.

After optimizing the paywall, we improved the onboarding experience for customers to retain new subscribers with the help of heatmaps and heuristics.

The result was a 30% reduction in same-day cancellations, improved subscriber quality and acquisition rates, and increased paywall conversions. These results were achieved with our Comprehensive Conversion Audit and Custom Consulting Engagement.

If you aren’t happy with the performance of your subscription page (or your entire subscription website), contact us and learn how we can help you secure more conversions, retain your subscribers, and ultimately drive revenue.

We help our clients realize an average 9:1 return on their investment.

But don’t take our word for it.

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About the Author

Jon MacDonald

Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action.