Set up a subscription service business in WordPress

Set up a subscription service business in WordPress in 11 super simple steps

Subscription services have been on the rise in recent years, transforming the way businesses and content creators operate.

A well-implemented subscription model offers a host of benefits, such as predictable recurring revenue, improved customer retention and the ability to build a loyal customer base.

In fact, according to a recent study by Mordor Intelligence, the eCommerce subscription market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 62.21% by 2027.

That’s a projected increase of $247.13 billion since 2021!

Getting into this market is definitely a good idea — especially if you have something exciting to offer.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up a subscription service business in WordPress using SureCart, a powerful and user-friendly platform suitable for a variety of industries, including eCommerce, digital products, and service-based businesses.

Whether you’re an online store owner looking to expand into subscriptions, a content creator wanting to monetize your work, or a service-based entrepreneur aiming for steady revenue, this guide will provide you with everything you need to launch a successful subscription service.

So, let’s dive in and get your subscription business up and running!

Understanding your target audience and subscription goals

Before diving into the technical aspects of setting up your subscription service, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your target audience and the goals you want to achieve with your business.

This will help you create a subscription service tailored to the needs of your audience and sets you up for success.

Identifying your target market and their needs

The first step in understanding your target audience is to identify your target market.

Consider factors such as demographics, interests, and pain points to create a detailed profile of your ideal customer.

Once you have a clear picture of your target market, you can focus on understanding their needs and preferences.

To do this, conduct market research by analyzing competitors, engaging in conversations with potential customers, and using social listening tools to identify trends and popular topics.

Tools like Google Trends and Buzzsumo can help you get started.

Google Trends

This information will help you create a subscription service that resonates with your target audience and addresses their specific needs.

Defining your value proposition

With a clear understanding of your target market and their needs, you can now focus on defining your subscription service’s value proposition.

This involves outlining the unique benefits and features that set your subscription service apart from competitors.

To maintain the value of your subscription service, it’s crucial to emphasize continuous content, such as:

  • Regularly updated digital products or resources
  • Exclusive access to premium content, features, or tools
  • Ongoing personalized support or consultation services

When you offer continuous value, you encourage customers to stay subscribed and that maintains a steady revenue stream for your business.

Setting realistic goals for your subscription service

Finally, it’s important to set realistic goals for your subscription service. These goals should align with your overall business objectives and be measurable, achievable and time-bound.

Common subscription business goals include:

  • Growing your subscriber base
  • Increasing average customer lifetime value (LTV)
  • Reducing churn rates
  • Boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty

By setting clear goals and tracking your progress, you’ll be able to make data-driven decisions and optimize your subscription service for success.

Examples of popular subscription services

To give you some inspiration and illustrate the potential, let’s take a look at a few examples of successful subscription websites.

These businesses have managed to tap into their target market’s needs and offer unique value propositions that keep subscribers engaged and coming back for more.

1. Netflix

Netflix is a prime example of a successful subscription service, dominating the video streaming industry with its extensive library of movies, TV shows, and original content.

By offering a vast selection of content that caters to various demographics and interests, Netflix has managed to capture a massive global audience.

Their subscription model focuses on providing continuous value through regular content updates, personalized recommendations, and multiple membership tiers to suit different budgets and preferences.

2. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe creative cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a popular subscription service for creative professionals. It offers a suite of industry-leading design, photo editing, and video production tools.

Instead of selling individual software licenses, Adobe has shifted to a subscription model that provides customers with access to their entire suite of tools, regular updates, and exclusive features.

This approach has helped Adobe maintain a loyal customer base and ensure that their products remain up-to-date and competitive in the market.

3. Dollar Shave Club

dollar shave club

Dollar Shave Club is a successful subscription service in the personal grooming space. It provides affordable, high-quality razors and grooming products delivered to your doorstep.

They offer a convenient and cost-effective solution to a recurring need. In doing so, Dollar Shave Club has managed to carve out a niche in a highly competitive market.

Their subscription model focuses on flexibility, allowing customers to customize their shipments, select delivery frequencies, and easily change or cancel their subscription at any time.

These examples showcase the versatility and potential of subscription services across various industries.

When you understand your target audience, offer a unique value proposition, and deliver continuous value, you can create a successful subscription service that drives long-term growth.

Choosing the right pricing and subscription tiers

A critical factor in the success of a subscription service is choosing the right pricing strategy and subscription tiers.

The right pricing model will attract your target audience and help you achieve your subscription goals while generating sufficient revenue to sustain and grow your business.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to analyze competitor pricing, determine the right pricing strategy, and create subscription tiers with unique benefits.

Analyze competitor pricing

The first step in determining the right pricing for your subscription service is to analyze your competitors’ pricing strategies.

Research similar subscription services in your industry, taking note of their pricing, subscription tiers and the benefits they offer.

This will give you a better understanding of the market and help you identify potential opportunities and gaps that you can exploit.

Determine the right pricing strategy for your target audience

With a solid understanding of competitor pricing, you can now focus on determining the right pricing strategy for your target audience.

This involves considering factors such as:

  • The perceived value of your subscription service: Align your pricing with the value your target audience perceives in your offering.
  • Your target audience’s price sensitivity: Assess whether your audience is likely to be price-sensitive or more focused on the quality and value of your service.
  • Your costs and desired profit margin: Ensure that your pricing covers your costs and allows for a healthy profit margin to support business growth.

It’s essential to strike a balance between offering a competitive price while still generating enough revenue to support and grow your business.

Create subscription tiers with unique benefits

Offering multiple subscription tiers is an effective way to cater to the diverse needs and budgets of your target audience.

When creating subscription tiers, consider the following:

  • Include a range of price points: Offer tiers with different price points to accommodate various budgets and attract a broader audience.
  • Clearly differentiate the benefits: Ensure that each tier offers unique benefits and features that justify the price difference and provide value to subscribers.
  • Offer a low-entry or trial option: Consider offering a low-cost or free trial option to encourage potential customers to try your service before committing to a subscription.

A range of subscription tiers helps you cater to a wider audience and encourage customers to upgrade to higher-priced tiers as they see value in your offering.

It’s essential to continually evaluate and refine your pricing strategy and subscription tiers based on customer feedback, market trends, and your business’s performance.

This will help you stay competitive and optimize your subscription service for long-term success.

Essential tools and software for managing your subscription business

Managing a successful subscription business requires the right set of tools and software to handle billing, customer management, content delivery, and analytics.

In this section, we’ll introduce SureCart as a solution for subscription management and highlight its features in comparison to alternative platforms.

SureCart: An all-in-one solution for subscription management


SureCart is a powerful user-friendly platform designed specifically for managing subscription services.

SureCart offers a comprehensive suite of features to help you manage and grow any type of subscription business.

Some of the key features of SureCart include:

  • Easy integration with WordPress
  • Seamless billing and payment processing
  • Flexible subscription plans and pricing
  • Automated renewal reminders and notifications
  • Comprehensive customer management tools
  • Detailed reporting and analytics

Comparing SureCart with popular alternative subscription management platforms

When it comes to choosing a subscription management platform, there are several options available in the market.

In this section, we’ll compare SureCart with some popular alternatives to highlight the unique advantages and features that SureCart offers.

Ease of use

SureCart is designed with a user-friendly interface and straightforward setup process. That makes it easy for both beginners and experienced users to manage their subscription services.

In comparison, some alternative platforms, such as Chargebee or Recurly, may have a steeper learning curve or require more technical knowledge to set up and manage effectively.

Seamless WordPress integration

SureCart offers seamless integration with WordPress. This allows you to manage your subscription service directly from your WordPress dashboard.

This integration sets SureCart apart from competitors like Maxio or Zuora, which may not have the same level of native WordPress compatibility.

This can be a significant advantage for businesses that rely on WordPress for website and content management.

Feature set

While many subscription management platforms offer similar features, SureCart provides a comprehensive suite of tools tailored to subscription businesses.

This includes flexible subscription plans, automated notifications, and detailed analytics to help you optimize your service.

Competing platforms may also offer robust features, but SureCart’s seamless WordPress integration and focus on ease of use make it a more attractive option for many businesses.


SureCart offers competitive pricing plans designed to cater to businesses of various sizes and stages. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses and startups looking for a cost-effective subscription management solution.

It’s free to get started and access to more advanced features will only cost you $99 per year.

Other platforms may have higher pricing tiers or more complex pricing structures which could be less appealing to new or smaller businesses.

By choosing SureCart as your subscription management platform, you’ll benefit from an all-in-one solution that makes it easy to manage and grow your subscription service while integrating seamlessly with your WordPress website.

How to set up a subscription service with SureCart

Setting up your subscription service with SureCart is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few simple steps.

In this section, we’ll guide you through integrating SureCart with your WordPress website, customizing your subscription options, and managing your subscriber base.

Step 1. Sign up for a SureCart account

Visit the SureCart website and sign up for an account. Choose the appropriate pricing plan based on the size and needs of your business.

SureCart pricing

Step 2. Fill in essential details

The installation wizard will walk you through the necessary steps to set up your subscription service with SureCart.

You’ll be asked to provide details about your store like the name you want to give it, the URL, language used, and your timezone.

You’ll also need to set the default currency.

Step 3. Set payment processors

Within the installation wizard, you’ll also need to connect payment processors to your SureCart account.

You’ll be prompted to log in to PayPal and Stripe to connect them.

surecart payment processors

Step 4. Grab your SureCart account API key

After activating the plugin, navigate to the SureCart settings page in your WordPress dashboard.

Enter your SureCart API key, which can be found by going to

SureCart API

You’ll need to log in with your SureCart account information. Copy the API key then go back to your WordPress installation.

Step 5. Install the SureCart WordPress plugin

In your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and search for “SureCart.” Install and activate the SureCart plugin.

Once installed, go to SureCart > Settings > Connection and paste the API key you copied earlier on the plugin settings page. This will connect your WordPress website to your SureCart account.

Step 6. Establish the branding and look for your subscription business

SureCart allows you to make minor modifications to align your store branding better.

In the Settings > Design and Branding section, you can customize:

  • The primary color for buttons, links, and other UI elements.
  • Your brand logo.
  • Contact information that will be displayed in your emails.

You can edit these emails via the SureCart website, as the tool’s server handles the email sending process for you.

SureCart branding

If you’re looking to modify your store’s appearance, consider changing or adapting your WordPress theme as this is the easiest way to do it.

Customizing subscription options and user experience

With your subscription plans created and integrated into your WordPress website, you can now focus on customizing the subscription options and user experience.

1. Design a subscription page

Create a dedicated page on your WordPress website to showcase your subscription plans and explain the benefits of subscribing.

Be sure to include clear calls to action (CTAs) that encourage visitors to sign up.

2. Customize the checkout process

SureCart allows you to customize the checkout process to match your website’s design and branding.

Go to SureCart > Cart in your WordPress dashboard and adjust the colors, fonts, and other design elements to create a consistent user experience.

You can further customize the checkout process from SureCart > Forms This allows you to tailor the store checkout page to your specific needs.

This includes customizing colors, fonts and other design elements to create a consistent user experience that captures the branding of your store.

You can also add additional fields like an email opt-in, to capture more details from customers.

3. Enable auto-renewal options

SureCart allows you to enable auto-renewal options for all subscription plans. This will ensure subscribers don’t have to manually renew their subscription every time it expires.

This can help reduce abandoned checkouts and lost revenue.

4. Set up automated emails

You’ll also want to set up automated emails for subscribers. SureCart offers a wide range of pre-made templates and tools that allow you to customize your emails and send them at the exact time you’d like.

email templates on surecart

You can edit these emails directly on the SureCart website, as the tool’s server takes care of sending them for you.

Simply log in to your account and navigate to the Email Templates section.

From there, you can customize the content for each stage of the email marketing process.

As pictured above, you can view the name of the email (1), see its description (2), then click the Edit button to change it as you see fit.

Configure the text for cart abandonment emails, order confirmation emails, as well as subscription payment and cancellation emails.

5. Managing your subscriber base using SureCart

SureCart offers a comprehensive set of tools for managing your subscriber base. For instance, in your SureCart dashboard, navigate to Customers to view and manage your subscriber information.

You can search, filter, and sort subscribers based on various criteria, such as subscription status, billing history, and contact information.

You can also manage the subscriptions you offer.

In your SureCart dashboard, go to Subscriptions to view and manage your subscription plans. You can easily edit, pause, or cancel subscriptions as needed.

By following these steps and leveraging the powerful features of SureCart, you’ll be well on your way to setting up and managing a successful subscription service on your WordPress website.

Marketing your subscription service effectively

Once you’ve set up your subscription service using SureCart, it’s time to focus on marketing.

Effective marketing is essential for driving awareness, generating interest, and converting potential customers into loyal subscribers, whether you’re planning to do it on your own or assign a marketing agency to help you with it.

Let’s discuss some strategies to help you promote your subscription service.

1. Content marketing

Content marketing is a powerful way to showcase the value of your subscription service, engage your target audience, and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

Consider creating valuable and informative content, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, or ebooks, that address your target audience’s needs and interests.

This will help you attract organic traffic, build trust, and encourage visitors to subscribe.

2. Social media marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer excellent opportunities to connect with your target audience and promote your subscription service.


Create a strong social media presence by sharing engaging content, interacting with your followers, and leveraging social media advertising to reach a broader audience.

We also recommend partnering with influencers in your niche to amplify your reach and credibility.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is a highly effective channel for promoting your service and nurturing relationships with subscribers.

Build your email list by offering valuable content such as a free eBook or exclusive tips in exchange for visitors’ email addresses.

Use email campaigns to share updates, promote special offers, and showcase subscriber success stories. Personalize your email communications to make them more relevant and engaging.

4. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Optimizing your website for search engines like Google can help you attract organic traffic and increase the visibility of your subscription service.

Focus on improving your website’s technical SEO, creating high-quality content that targets relevant keywords, and build a strong backlink profile.

This will improve your search engine rankings and drive more potential subscribers to your website.

5. Referral and affiliate programs

Leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing by setting up a referral or affiliate program for your subscription service.

Encourage existing subscribers to refer friends and family in exchange for rewards, such as discounts, freebies, or account credits.

You can also partner with affiliates who promote your service in exchange for a commission on each new subscriber they bring in.

6. Paid advertising

Invest in paid advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and Instagram Ads to reach a larger audience and drive targeted traffic to your subscription service.

Google Ads

Use well-designed ad creatives and compelling copy that highlights the benefits of your subscription service.

Optimize campaigns by targeting the right audience segments and using data-driven insights to improve ad performance.

When you implement these marketing strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to promote your subscription service effectively and grow your subscriber base.

Remember, marketing is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to continually evaluate and refine your strategies based on your performance and changing market dynamics.

Measuring success

Tracking the performance of your subscription service is crucial for making data-driven decisions and optimizing your business for long-term success.

By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) and analyzing the data, you can identify areas for improvement, make necessary adjustments, and measure the impact of your marketing efforts.

Let’s discuss some essential KPIs and metrics to help you measure the success of your subscription service.

1. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) represents the total amount of predictable revenue generated by your subscription service each month.

MRR is a crucial metric for subscription businesses as it provides insight into revenue stability and growth potential.

To calculate MRR, multiply the number of active subscribers by the average revenue per user (ARPU).

2. Churn rate

The churn rate indicates the proportion of subscribers who terminate their subscription during a specific timeframe. If your churn rate is high, it may have an adverse effect on your revenue and potential growth.

To calculate the churn rate, divide the number of subscribers who canceled during a specific period by the total number of subscribers at the beginning of that same period.

Aim to minimize your churn rate by improving your value proposition and addressing any customer concerns or issues.

3. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) represents the average cost of acquiring a new subscriber. That includes marketing expenses, sales efforts, and other related costs.

To determine customer acquisition cost (CAC), divide the total cost of acquiring new subscribers during a certain period by the number of new subscribers acquired.

Keep a record of your CAC over time in order to determine if it is sustainable and to assess the success of your marketing strategies.

4. Customer lifetime value (CLTV)

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is the average amount of revenue generated by a subscriber during their entire relationship with your subscription service.

CLTV is an essential metric for understanding the long-term profitability of your business.

Calculate CLTV by multiplying the average revenue per user (ARPU) by the average customer lifetime (1 / churn rate).

Aim to maximize CLTV by improving subscriber retention and encouraging subscribers to upgrade to higher-priced tiers.

5. Retention rate

Retention rate measures the percentage of subscribers who continue their subscription within a given period, an important retention metrics. A high retention rate indicates that your subscription service is delivering value and meeting the needs of your subscribers.

To calculate the retention rate, divide the number of subscribers who are still active at the end of a certain period by the total number of subscribers at the beginning of that period.

6. Conversion rate

Conversion rate represents the percentage of visitors to your subscription page who become subscribers.

A high conversion rate indicates that your marketing efforts are effective in convincing potential customers to sign up for your subscription service.

Calculate conversion rate by dividing the number of new subscribers by the total number of visitors to your subscription page during a specific period.

By tracking and analyzing these KPIs, you’ll gain valuable insights into the performance of your subscription service and be better equipped to make data-driven decisions for optimizing your business.

Remember, measuring success is an ongoing process, and it’s essential to continually evaluate your performance and adjust your strategies as needed.

Unlocking the potential of your subscription service

Setting up and managing a successful subscription service on your WordPress website requires careful planning, the right tools, and effective marketing strategies.

Those strategies include understanding your target audience, defining your value proposition, choosing the right pricing and subscription tiers.

It should also include leveraging SureCart as your subscription management platform.

Do all those things and you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving subscription business!

It’s essential to continually measure the success of your subscription service by tracking key performance indicators and making data-driven decisions.

Focus on optimizing your marketing efforts, improving subscriber retention, and enhancing the overall value of your subscription service to ensure long-term success and growth.

Following the steps and strategies outlined here will equip you to unlock the full potential of your subscription service and create a lasting impact in your niche.

Now is the time to take the leap and start building a loyal subscriber base that will fuel your business’s success for years to come!

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may receive a small commission. Read disclosure. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we have personally used and believe will add value to our readers. Thanks for your support!

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