Subscription platforms have done amazing things for the content creator economy. Independent content creators across the globe can now work at their own pace while creating what they love, largely thanks to platforms like Patreon.
What Is a Subscription Platform?
Subscription platforms in the creator economy space host creators’ content and allow them to manage their fan bases using a one-size-fits-all model.
A subscription platform works based on the subscription business model that offers products, services, or content to customers who pay a fee on a recurring basis. The primary purpose is to provide customers ongoing value and convenience while generating a stable and predictable source of revenue for its owner.
How Does a Subscription Platform Work?
Here’s how a subscription platform typically works.
- Creation: The business owner creates a product, a service, or content that provides ongoing value to customers.
- Subscription tiers: Businesses often offer different subscription tiers with varying features, access levels, and benefits. For instance, you can offer basic, premium, and business plans with different functionalities.
- Billing cycle: Subscription payments can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual.
- Pricing: Each tier’s price is usually determined by factors like the level of service provided, features, and perceived customer value.
Why Start a Subscription Service?
While the market may be flooded with subscription services, no platform is perfect, and the demand is ever-growing.
Take Patreon as an example. A ton of fees can quickly pile up on a creator’s end. The platform collects an income-based percentage fee from every subscription and a processing fee that differs based on how users withdraw funds from their creator balance.
No matter what industry your business is in, the subscription business model allows you to:
- Attract more clients
- Predict revenue accurately
- Build stronger customer relationships
- Create and nurture a community
- Sell more products and services
What Are the Pros and Cons of Building a Subscription Platform?
Before building a subscription platform, consider the pros and cons of running a subscription business.
Advantages of Building a Subscription Platform
Easy Monetization for Content Creators
Subscription platforms cater to established influencers and beginner-level content creators to monetize their audience views through subscriptions, crowdfunding campaigns, and other revenue-generation methods.
No Upfront Costs
Most subscription platforms don’t charge a monthly fee, so creators can sign up for free. Instead, the subscription platform deducts its commission from the content creators’ money.
Good for Branding
A subscription service allows you to bring your audience to your own branded website so you can sell your content.
Recurring Revenue Model
Subscription platforms work on monthly, quarterly, or yearly deductions. They commit to regular monthly or annual payments so you can get consistent and recurring revenue instead of relying on one-time donations.
A subscription platform allows creators to create members-only communities and interact directly with fans. Members can also access exclusive content and enjoy more perks.
Flexible Subscription Options and Funding Goals
Subscription platforms allow creators to set up multiple membership tiers with different benefits, depending on how much the members pledge.
Challenges in Building a Subscription Platform
Be Your Own Boss
While being a boss and running your subscription service is great, it can pose challenges. You may have control over all decisions, but you must also manage everything, from building your subscription platform to running it successfully.
To make things easier, make sure you choose trusted software so you can build customized features.
Running a content subscription service entails maintaining strict community guidelines and ensuring that users follow them. Handling the legal requirements of building a subscription platform, especially one that handles adult or not-safe-for-work (NSFW) content, is tough. But with the proper planning and adhering to the cyber laws and regulations your country mandates, you can breeze through it.
What Are the Main Features of a Subscription Platform?
Building a subscription platform starts with understating its primary features and choosing the ones you want your website to adapt. The more features you choose, the easier it will be to compete with popular subscription platforms.
Here are the essential features you must include when building a subscription platform.
- Flexible payment processing: Your subscription platform users must be able to make payments flexibly. Implement a flexible payment feature by adding multiple payment gateways your target audience can use. If your platform is global, consider offering multicurrency options to make payment easier for clients.
- Profile creation: This feature allows creators to show off their skills and market themselves and their content to new members. They must also be able to use profile descriptions to show their niche audiences and more. Finally, they should be able to add links to their websites and social media accounts and allow fans to check out their content before subscribing.
- Membership tiers: All popular subscription platforms offer membership tiers, the most common of which are basic and premium plans. You can let basic subscribers create limited content and do more if they shift to a premium subscription. The more fans your creators accumulate, the more community members and revenue your platform will gain.
- Nurturing community: A strong community is excellent for any subscription platform. Subscribers must be able to follow the creators they like, while creators must also be able to interact with them, react to their replies, and respond to their questions. A subscription platform should have group chat and fan group features, too.
- Billing history tracking: Subscription platforms should allow subscribers to support multiple creators. But make it easier for them to track their subscription, billing, and payment histories so they can view and manage them when needed.
- Performance tracking: Content creators should be able to focus on the business side of their passion easily by allowing them to track performance metrics. As such, a subscription platform should have performance tracking options like content views, number of followers, and monthly reports.
- Crowdfunding: Subscription platforms should allow creators to create crowdfunding and donation goals where they can earn a specific amount of money.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Subscription App?
The average cost of building a subscription platform or app can reach around US$30,000–60,000 or more, depending on your requirements. It could take six months or more if you build it from scratch.
Choosing a ready-made clone script enables you to build a content creator subscription platform like Patreon quickly. That way, you can build your customized platform with your desired branding, features, and functionalities.
The creator economy has greatly benefited from subscription platforms, giving creators across all niches the freedom to do what they love. Entrepreneurs have more tools and technology at their fingertips to build and launch their own subscription platforms that can be tailored to their content type and audiences.