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To Auto-Renew or Not to Auto-Renew?

Written by Aysling

Published: 11/06/2018

Many publishers are struggling with the concept of having their subscribers added to an auto-renew program.  Renewal mailings are costly in time and resources, and yet a percentage of subscribers still forget to renew or never get around to it – costing publishers their valuable audience while incurring the expense of a mailed renewal offer.  Auto-renewals are a solution to that problem – but is it the right thing to do?

Before you answer, consider Netflix – an auto-renewal program that is embraced by one hundred million people who are more than happy to pay $13.99 a month for the pleasure of another viewing choice. Or the one hundred and twenty-five million Amazon Prime users who are happy to fork over $60 a year for free shipping and movies. This is the age of Apple Wallet and Google Pay – of cash free transactions and it’s here to stay.

Grandfather/Grandmother to the Rescue

While it may be tempting to cancel the auto-renew, in reality it may not be a good idea and here’s why – as a legacy subscriber, you could be giving up a lucrative “grandfathered” pricing level which you earned through years of being a loyal reader with an uninterrupted subscription. While new subscribers can benefit from one-time special offers and the occasional duffel bag or T-shirt, loyal subscribers – usually users of Auto-Renewal programs – get a continuing benefit by paying a rate based on the price at the time of their initial subscription. Something to consider and maybe a game changer.

No Hostages

Readers polled say the most important factor in their decision to sign up for auto-renewal, painless cancellation – in keeping with the current trend, users want to be able to opt out without cost or hassle. Sometimes even a good thing comes to an end – you get a gift subscription, experience a life event, or your interests change – smart publishers always want to leave the door open for readers to return to the family at their convenience, and an easy cancellation leaves the figurative “light on” for any returning travelers.

All in all, in this day of Amazon Prime and Netflix, auto-renew no longer has the stigma of trickery – its actually a benefit, providing convenience to your audience in a busy media environment. Contemporary publishers should unapologetically offer an Auto-Renew option with every subscription, and not be shy about making it the default for all subscriptions – demonstrating a strong vote of confidence in the loyalty of their readers – an example of a publisher / reader bond that, despite the challenges, still thrives in publishing today. To find out more about setting up Auto-Renewal take a look at MagHub’s newly updated Subscription Module – if you want to hear more or have question, contact MagHub here.

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