Issue Based Subscription HTTP POST

David Bullock — 

The Issue Based Subscription ModelThis function automates the process of creating and assigning tags for releasing your content in the Issue Based Subscription Model.

What’s the Issue Based Subscription Model?

In most cases, a content drip is designed so that a new member gets the first piece of content, and then the 2nd piece, etc. throughout the life of their subscription. Every member gets the same content dripped to them in the same order throughout the life of the subscription and the content.

In the Issue Based Subscription Model, members are delivered content based on when they joined the membership, and do not automatically receive content published from before they joined. In Memberium’s implementation of the Issue Based Subscription Model, we further support creating multiple channels that users can subscribe to, much like individual magazines.

Why Use the Issue Based Subscription Model

The Issue Based Subscription model can be useful in several different ways, not limited to some of the ideas we’ll talk about here. In the classic drip system, the content is linear, evergreen and unchanging; every member sees the exact same content in the same progression. The Issue Based Subscription Model is suited towards more topical content where the content being delivered is relevant to what’s currently going on. It also creates the opportunity to build additional value in your “back catalog” of articles which you can provide access to for additional fees.

You may be familiar with the Issue Based Subscription model from everyday life:

Magazines are examples where each “Channel” is a different magazine subscription, and you receive “Issues” throughout the life of the magazine.

Episodic TV Shows, where you see each episode that you watch but older episodes aren’t automatically viewable.

Of course, things like web publishing and NetFlix have upended these traditional models with new ways to easily deliver future content AND still make back catalogs easily available.

You may be thinking this is an outdated model that we are naturally fleeing from, however there’s still value on artificially imposing this model to properly value your premium content, and as a sales model to create scarcity and leverage your audience’s “Fear of Missing Out”.

Selling Access to Your Back Catalog?

While the Issue Based Subscription rewards your earlier subscribers for taking action, and for staying with your program, it also creates an increasingly valuable back catalog of premium content that is not automatically given to newer members. You can easily sell access to this back catalog on an issue by issue basis, all at once, or in bundles. A typical bundle might include a year’s worth of content. This provides a valuable upsell resource for you.

How Memberium Does It

Memberium uses Infusionsoft’s HTTP POST tool both to update each member’s access every month, and to automate the process of creating your new tags for your upcoming content.

One of the features designed to help you, is that Memberium can create tags not only for the current month, but for your future months as well so that you can stay ahead of your editorial calendar, and reduce your stress.

An Overview of How to Implement the Issue Based Subscription Model

When dealing with a monthly subscription, this can be done with Campaign Builder, using purchase goals and loop tags, however it is much simpler and more reliable to implement using the Infusionsoft Ecommerce Billing Triggers, and legacy actionsets. The benefit of using the Billing Triggers is that the actions only fire on successful payment, and no extra work is needed to terminate the subscription when the payment stops.

Note:
If your product is a one time payment, or your payments are not in sync with the your content delivery, you may still want to take the campaign builder approach. If you’d like help setting this up, contact us at Support, and talk to us about the particulars of what you want to implement and we’ll be happy to guide you.

Creating your HTTP POST

The Add Issue HTTP POST takes the following parameters, none of which are required, but they allow you to customize your Issue Based Subscription model.

channel – This is the name of the channel that this tag is for. If you have multiple channels, this is how you distinguish between them. Defaults to “m”.

cat_id – This is the ID of the Tag Category in Infusionsoft that you want newly created tags placed in. We recommend keeping all of your membership oriented tags (including this one) in 1 or 2 categories, and only syncing those categories to Memberium. Defaults to 0 (No category).

tagcount – The number of months of tags to create in advance. This allows you to create several months in advance, and schedule your content so that you are not in a constant race to keep your site updated. Defaults to 6 months in advance.

date_format – The format of the date when creating the tag name. Defaults to “Ym”, which would be displayed like 201506 for June 2015, or 201601 for January 2016, etc. Other supported date formats are: “YZ” for daily subscriptions, “YW” for Weekly subscriptions, “Ym” for Monthly subscriptions, and “Y” for Yearly subscriptions.

A common example of an Add Issue HTTP POST URL looks like this:

http://example.com/?operation=add-issue&auth_key=YourKey&channel=YourChannel&cat_id=123

Setting Up Your Billing Trigger

Once you have your HTTP POST URL mapped out for your Issue Based Subscription, then we need to apply it to your subscription model through your billing triggers.

To edit your Billing Triggers, go to ECommerce -> Settings in your Infusionsoft App, and then click on the “Billing Automation” menu item on the left.

In the “Triggers (by type)” Dropdown, select “When a credit card autocharge attempt is made”, and click the “Add Trigger” button. A new window will popup with the settings for your new trigger.

    1. Set “When an auto charge” to “Is successful”.
    2. Set “and the previous autocharge for this invoice dropdown to “failed or didn’t fail”.
    3. On the right side, click the subscriptions that you want your Issue Based Subscription to be applied to. Generally this is only a single subscription product, but there’s no reason why it may not be more, especially if you have a bundle program.
    4. At the bottom for Actions, click the dropdown and select “Send an HTTP POST to another server”.
    5. A POST URL box will appear, paste your HTTP POST URL in this box, and click save. When pasting the URL please be sure to not include any extra spaces before or after your URL, as they will cause Infusionsoft’s HTTP POST function to fail.

That’s it – the “hard” part is done!

Your Issue Based Subscription Tags

Your Issue Based Subscription tags will now be created and applied as your clients make payments. When you first get started with the system, you will likely want to start creating your Issue tags before your clients start buying so that you can start publishing your issue based content.

The easiest way to to do this is to manually run the HTTP POST on one of your test contacts. Every time the HTTP POST runs it will by default create 6 months of tags for you automatically. You can also create the tags by hand, however that is more error prone.

Publishing and Tagging Your Content

Once your first tags are created, you are ready to start publishing and protecting your content on your membership site.

On each Page and Post (and most types of custom content), there is a new “Content Protection” where Memberium enables you to configure the security settings for each page. Your Issue Based Subscription Model system doesn’t create membership levels for each issue, as that would be extremely inefficient. Instead you would select the appropriate Issue tag from the “Require Tag ID’s” input. You can also select multiple tags in this box, and any viewer who has any of the tags listed will then be able to view the content.

You can also use Issue tags within the page itself, in your [memb_has_any_tag] or [memb_has_all_tags] shortcodes if you want to provide bonus content for your subscribers.

Why Not Simply Use Signup Date?

Using the signup date provides less accuracy and flexibility in making issues available to subscribers. It doesn’t account for lapses in membership, or give the ability to easily sell access to your back catalog of materials.

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