Periods of heightened uncertainty are difficult for all businesses to navigate, but it’s during turbulent times that stable and dependable partners really prove their value. For creators and independent publishers, it will become increasingly clear in the months ahead which platforms and tools are best equipped to support their long-term success, and which might place their businesses in precarious positions.
The global economic outlook is looking increasingly precarious, and creators should expect to face headwinds as the year continues to unfold. Consumer budgets are shrinking – thanks to runaway inflation and the fallout of conflict in Europe, among other factors – and revenue challenges are now inevitable for many businesses.
The good news for those monetizing audiences via membership models is that although subscription revenue is not immune to the effects of broader economic conditions, it’s typically more insulated than the revenue generated through other channels such as sponsorships, advertising, and commerce. That’s assuming, however, that creators have selected reliable technology partners with stable and sustainable businesses of their own that can position them to navigate tricky circumstances effectively.
As I’ve argued previously, any creator or independent publisher looking to build a sustainable long-term subscription or membership business should think carefully when selecting monetization and technology tools. Gravitating towards the “cheapest” option is understandable, but creators and publishers I work with are often looking to migrate to new platforms and tools because their existing partners have either fallen short of expectations, failed to provide ample room to grow in terms of the features and functionality they offer, or provided lackluster support and guidance.
These frustrations become even more pronounced during difficult economic periods. As audience demands, market variables and economic factors shift quickly around them, the last thing creators should need to worry about is monetization tools holding them back. Janky technology, missed revenue opportunities and operational headaches are irksome at the best of times, but during periods of instability their impact can quickly compound to the point where they create significant risk for creator businesses.
It’s also more important now than ever that creator partners have built stable and sustainable businesses of their own, and won’t leave customers in the lurch when they’re forced to shift their attention or product focus to chase revenue or different opportunities.
As Memberful has noted – and as I’ve experienced first-hand working with a range of creators and independent publishers in recent months – subscription and membership revenue is holding up well even as consumers and companies begin to tighten their belts and control their spending more closely. New member acquisition may have slowed, but member retention remains strong for those creators that have built valuable products and genuine connections with their audiences.
My advice to any creator business concerned about a difficult economic period is to keep things simple and focus on getting the basics right. Specifically:
- Deliver high-value, differentiated content on a consistent basis.
- Ensure a seamless product and user experience that makes paying for and accessing that content as easy as possible.
And when it comes to technology and monetization tools, I would urge creators to scrutinize potential partners closer than ever to ensure they have clear philosophies and outlooks, proven products and track records, and are committed to subscription and membership models for the long haul.
Creators that continue to meet the needs and expectations of audiences and subscribers – and have technology and tools in place that empower them to do so – should be in a position not only to navigate challenging economic climates effectively but to emerge on the other side of them in strong positions.