We can agree that it’s getting difficult day by day to survive in this ever evolving digital world. And while content creators like you are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to monetize your passion and connect with your audience, subscription platforms have emerged as a savior and game-changer for the whole content creation industry.
In this article, we aim to equip you with everything you need to know before exploring any subscription platform. In this comprehensive guide you’ll explore the reasons why you should adopt subscription platforms, understand the pros and cons associated with these platforms, provide a curated list of exceptional and creative subscription platforms succeeding in 2023, and share with you some valuable insights on selecting the perfect platform to suit your unique needs.
What is A Subscription Platform?
Firstly, let’s get a grip of what a subscription platform really is. Although it’s a very broad term, we’re focusing on subscription platforms for online content creators. It’s a digital service where creators can offer subscription-based access to their creativity to people who appreciate and love what they do.
These platforms help creators establish a connection with their audience by offering perks, rewards and special benefits to subscribers. It’s a centralized way to showcase their work, communicate with fans, keep a check on their performance through platform insights and handle payments all at once. With the boom of the creator economy, subscription economy is also on the rise enabling creators from all corners of the world earn a steady stream of income by offering exclusive content.
What is the creator economy?
The creator economy is the creation, assembly and sharing of all sorts of content in the digital world. An ecosystem of businesses established by content creators, influencers, bloggers, photographers, videographers and more. Around 50 Million people claim to be ‘content creators’ today, when the creator economy was born just a decade ago.
So, we can see how it’s the fastest growing industry today. The creator economy covers social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok as well as monetization tools like Patreon, Buy Me A Coffee, Ko-Fi etc. Content creators have entirely changed the way advertising and marketing works. Even brands prefer their product/services to be endorsed or promoted by ‘influencers’ more than they want to spend on ads themselves because of the fans and followers of content creators and their trust in them. According to a survey, 50% of millennials trust product recommendations from influencers.
Why Use Subscription Platforms?
The number one reason is because it’s the best case scenario for any creator out there. Subscription-based business is a great way to build a personal brand and become financially better off while offering what you do best to people who love your work. It enables creators to offer exclusive content to subscribers in exchange for an ongoing monthly fee.
A subscription business also brings more control over your earnings and allows you to build deeper relationships with your subscribers or followers.
More and more creators are focusing on diverting their fans from their social media accounts on instagram and youtube to their personal website, apps and monetization tools, as a stable monthly income is desired by any sane man.
But specially creators, as most of their income is fluctuating depending on Ad revenue from YouTube, one-time tips and donations or sales of their digital or physical products, a monthly subscription is definitely a relief for them.
Power Of Subscription Platforms For Creators In 2023
- Rise of creator economy
Traditional methods of earning are losing their charm and more and more young professionals have embarked on their content creation journey. According to a survey, more American kids want to grow up to be a YouTube star than they want to be an Astronaut, YouTuber (29%), Astronaut (11%). The old income model of one-time purchases or focusing on ad revenue is no longer sufficient for content creators. Subscription models have gained significant attraction in the creator economy, offering a more sustainable & reliable source of income.
- Sustainable revenue streams
Again, consistent revenue streams is a desire of any sane man alive. Empowering creators to focus on creating high-quality content without constant concerns about monetization is highly appreciated by them.
- Community building
One of the primary advantages of exclusive subscription platforms is the chance to build a loyal and engaged community of supporters. Subscription platforms help foster a sense of belonging, encourage interactions between creators and their audience, and help form deeper connections that go beyond transactional relationships.
- Moving beyond traditional earning
Creators can diversify their revenue streams using content creator platforms. They can offer exclusive access, digital products, bonus content, merchandise, and more. By diversifying their offerings, creators can cater to different audience preferences and maximize their earning potential.
Pros And Cons Of Subscription Platforms For Creators
- Recurring income - Financial stability with a stable source of income
- Freedom of expression - Ability to express their true passion through art of any form, take creative risks and explore new ideas as subscribers support them to do that.
- Community of like-minded people - Connect and work together with fellow creators to pursue new passion projects and learn from each other.
- Special bond with fans and followers - Forge deep connections and loyalty with fans by offering exclusive rewards and perks.
- Getting rid of constant monetization efforts - Focus on maximizing their potential with a reliable revenue stream.
- Focusing on creating high-value content - Predictable and sustainable income allows creators to focus on their creative potential rather than worrying about monetizing it.
- Data Insights to improve performance - Keep track of your performance via performance metrics of the platforms.
- Commitment to creating content - Continually meet or even exceed subscriber expectation and deliver high-quality content consistently can be a challenge
- Subscription fatigue - With rising focus on subscription-based platforms there can be fatigue among subscribers, it's important to provide unique value and stand out among competition.
- Dependence on platform - It’s crucial to mitigate risks of losing subscribers or earnings in case of policy or algorithm changes. Be sure to diversify your avenues of earnings by exploring other options and not solely rely on one platform.
- Less customization options - Personal branding becomes difficult as you use third party platforms to advertise your work.
- Revenue sharing and fees - You have to give a piece of your cake to the platform and share your hard earned money so it’s important to know the revenue-sharing structure of these platforms and check if they align with your financial goals.
How To Choose The Best Platform For Your Creative Business
- Understand Your Goals and Audience
- Evaluate Platform Features
- Explore Pricing & Revenue-Sharing Structures
- Analyze Engagement Tools & Community
- Review Feedback and Rating
- Consider Your Niche
Understand Your Goals and Audience
Most important factor before choosing a subscription platform is to identify what your end goal is to achieve from this platform and what type of audience you can target through the platform and if it matches with your vision.
Evaluate Platform Features
Checkout multiple platforms and compare their features, customization options, and user experience. Consider features like personalization of design, integration capabilities, analytics, ease of use for supporters and customer support.
Explore Pricing & Revenue-Sharing System
Pay heed to their pricing plans and check for any hidden fees. Compare price structures of multiple platforms to ensure you choose something that fits your budget. Check the transaction fees, payment processing fees, and revenue split to ensure they align with your financial goals.
Analyze Engagement Tools & Community
Find out if these platforms offer features that help you to communicate and engage with your audience. Look for platforms that ease interaction, communication and feedback between creators and their fans.
Review Feedback and Rating
Don’t forget to do your research before signing up for any of these platforms. Review all feedback from creators who have used the platforms you are considering. A proven track record and reliability is essential.
Consider Your Niche
Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician or podcaster. Take into account if the platform offers specific tools necessary for your creative niche. Check if the platform caters to your content format, provides the necessary marketing tools, and aligns with the expectations of your fans.
List Of Top 10 Subscription Platforms
Crowdfundly is an online subscription platform that is relatively new on the market but surpases many platforms in its offerings and pricing. It’s focused on connecting creators and fans by empowering creators to monetize their creativity, allowing creators to accept donations, offer memberships, share daily posts and set up a digital shop. Crowdfundly makes communicating, engaging and giving feedback easier for fans which helps build stronger connections with their favorite creators.
- It’s very user-friendly and community oriented.
- Offers creators the opportunity to showcase their best work in a dedicated space.
- Inexpensive option with more features.
- Focused on making it easy for fans to support creators.
Two plans available:
Free Plan: 3% commission
Pro Plan: $4.99/month
Patreon is one of the most famous online content creator subscription service, since it was one of the first platforms to help creators earn recurring income through their creativity. It offers multiple subscription tiers that allow creators to offer perks and rewards to subscribers based on loyalty. Best for you if you're looking to quickly launch your membership without having to build your own website. You can host your membership as well as get paid on this platform.
- Stable income vie monthly subscribers
- Best for established creators
- Membership tiers and exclusive content options for fans..
- Best community and networking opportunities among creators and followers.
- Integration with various third-party tools and platforms.
- Established platform with a large and engaged user base.
- Wordpress Plugin to connect your site.
No upfront fees, Patreon takes between 5%-12% of your earnings + payment processing fees between 2.9% to 5% depending on your region.
- Buy Me A Coffee
Another great exclusive content platform to monetize your craft. Buy me a coffee gained traction predominantly through it’s catchy name as well as it’s easy to use and super simple interface that allows fans to buy you a ‘coffee’ or leave a tip for you without signing up. It’s more like a hassle-free online tip jar and best suitable for people who want one-time support for their work but BMC also offers a subscription service for content creators who aim to earn a recurring income through the platform.
- No sign-up required for fans to donate or tip.
- Integration options and customizable support buttons.
- Focused on one-time donations.
- Recently launched membership tiers.
Free to use with just a 5% transaction fee on any earnings through the platform, plus payment processing fees.
Ko-Fi is best for creators who want to do both, earn a stable income through subscription as well as earn from one-off donations. It’s an easy to use and fun platform with many features to build an engaging community of fans. The ‘Explore’ feature allows users to connect with like-minded creators and work together, as well as also helps new users find you and help increase your discoverability.
- Take commissions for your art
- Get discovered easily by fellow creators and new users
- Doesn’t charge anything from donations sent to creators.
- Customizable page and branding options.
- Integration with popular platforms like WordPress, Discord, etc.
Sign up is free. It has a gold plan which offers more features and is just $7/month with no transaction fees.
Podia is an online subscription-based website builder which helps users create a more personal brand as compared to promoting themselves on third party platforms like Patreon. It’s a comprehensive platform for content creators to sell online courses, memberships, and digital downloads, providing a seamless user experience and powerful marketing tools.
- Branding and customization options.
- Built-in marketing tools.
- No transaction fees on donations.
- Drip content release and pre-launch features.
- All-in-one platform to sell online courses, memberships and digital downloads.
Mover plan: $39/month with no transaction fees
Shaker plan: $79/month with no transaction fees
Gumroad is a flexible subscription platform that allows creators to sell digital products, including ebooks, music, art, and more, with customizable stores and secure payment processing.
- Customizable product pages
- Built-in email marketing
- Multiple payment methods
- Affiliate marketing
- Analytics and reporting
Free plan with 10% cut from every sale.
Best online subscription service for writers. Substack focuses on transforming newsletters into subscription-driven businesses, providing writers and journalists with the right tools to monetize their content through subscriptions.
- Subscription-based platform for monetizing newsletters
- Customizable newsletter templates
- Built-in audience management and analytics
- Integration with popular payment gateways
It’s free to get started on Substack. Substack will keep a 10% cut of revenues, if you turn on paid subscriptions.
Kajabi is one of the best subscription services for online course creators. It’s an all-in-one platform designed to simplify the process of creating, marketing, and selling online courses. With its strong set of features and user-friendly interface, Kajabi empowers creators to build a thriving online creative business and deliver engaging educational content to their students.
- Website design options and customizable landing pages.
- Analytics and reporting for tracking performance of students as well as sales.
- Integrated email marketing and automation.
- Community building features, such as discussions and comments.
- Course creation tools, including assessments and quizzes.
- Drip content release and course progress tracking.
It offers three pricing plans:
- Basic: $119/month if billed annually and $149/month if billed monthly
- Growth: $159/month if billed annually or $199/month if billed monthly
- Pro: $319/month if billed annually or $399/month if billed monthly
Hypage is a link-in-bio tool that empowers creators to design visually appealing landing pages to showcase their offerings, helping creators effectively market their content and monetize their audience through one single link. Best for influencers and young professionals who use social media to promote their services, they can add this link in their bio.
- Exciting branding and design options
- Customizable landing page builder
- Integration with payment processors for monetization
- Analytics and insights for page performance
Pro Plan: $19/mo
Enterprise Plan: $39/mo
Last but not the least, Memberful, is a platform that seamlessly integrates with existing websites, allows creators to offer exclusive memberships, subscriptions, and digital downloads. As they advertise on their website, it’s everything you need to run a membership program.
- Choose-what-you-pay pricing
- Seamless member management
- User-friendly Dashboard
- Promise world-class membership service
Free plan: $0 + 10% transaction fee
Pro: $25/mo + 4.9% transaction fee
Premium membership: $100/mo + 4.9% transaction fee
In this article, we covered how subscription platforms have transformed the way content creators monetize their passion. We discussed the power of these exclusive content platforms, their importance in today's world, the pros and cons associated with them and what factors to keep in mind before choosing the right fit for your niche. We also listed top 10 subscription platforms for online content creators and their benefits of use. You can unlock new horizons of success by utilizing the amazing opportunities provided by these subscription platforms for creators. With the right platform, you can monetize your creativity, build a dedicated audience, and make a lasting impact with your ideas.
We hope this article will answer your questions regarding subscription platforms and help you make an informed decision for yourself. Happy creating!
What is an online subscription platform?
A subscription platform is an online space where you can offer exclusive content to your followers and earn a recurring income. The content can be anything from writings, courses, music, podcasts, videos and more.
Which platform is best for selling digital products?
Crowdfundly, Podia and Gumroad are all great platforms to sell digital products. Podia allows you to build a full-fledged membership site while Crowdfundly and Gumroad are best to sell digital downloads.
Can I create my own subscription website?
Yes, platforms like Podia allow you to create a full-fledged subscription website and customize it to your own needs. It’s a great way to earn recurring revenue while promoting your personal brand.
Which platform is the best for selling memberships?
The best membership platform is Crowdfundly, as it’s a one-stop shop for all kinds of creators. New and enhanced features and affordable pricing of crowdfundly has beaten all other platforms. More features at less price offer you the best way to start off & boost your creative career.