Sell Subscriptions in WordPress with OptimizeCheckouts Recurring Payments Support

David Frosdick

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

After months of development time and thousands of lines of code we are ready to launch subscription payments. Yes, you can now start taking recurring payments on your OptimizePress sites.

Subscriptions & recurring payments

You've requested it, and now it's here - Subscription payments in WordPress and OptimizePress.

This has been one of our most requested features and is asked for frequently in our helpdesk and often mentioned in our Facebook Group.

After months of development time and thousands of lines of code we are ready to launch subscription payments. Yes, you can now start taking recurring payments on your OptimizePress sites. 🙌 🙌 🙌

So what's the big fuss about subscriptions? Well, subscription payments add recurring revenue to your business. This might not sound like much, but from a business point of view, recurring revenue that compounds over time gives you predictable income and cash flow.

Making daily sales in a business is a constant stress for product-based business owners. They have to focus time on marketing, cash flow, staffing, advertising new product ranges, and a lot more to keep a business profitable and in many cases just floating.

The moment a business introduces subscription-based products, they have instant predictable revenue. Look at Amazon Prime. The small yearly fee for one-day delivery adds instant predictable revenue. Amazon can see exactly how much money they will make each year from just the Prime memberships without even worrying about selling products.

As of December 2019 Amazon had 126,000,000 Prime Members: 👀

Amazon Prime Subscription Growth

You could use this same technique if you sell hundreds of different products that people return to buy from you. However there’s an easier way for entrepreneurs like you!

You don’t need to have an ecommerce site selling hundreds of products. You simply need to sell a service or provide training that people pay monthly to access.

We haven't even looked at the compound effect of getting new subscriptions each day, but it can quickly grow.

Just 100 members paying you $27 a month = $2,700

If you have a membership site where you publish monthly content, you instantly have a predictable $2,700 revenue without product launches or trying to sell more products. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to get 100 members but it’s probably easier than you think considering how many people buy subscription based products online.

We will cover more about subscriptions and recurring revenue in future blog posts. It's an exciting topic, but right now, we want to tell you about how to get started with selling subscriptions using OptimizePress.

Let's dive in!

First, we highly recommend watching this walkthrough of the new Subscriptions features:

Subscriptions Made Simple

One of our biggest goals with subscription payments was to make it easy to use. We wanted it to be so simple that you could teach a friend to do it in under 5 minutes. When you see what we've done, it's fair to say we hit the nail on the head.

To set up a subscription product, it only takes a few clicks, literally. The clean product interface that we built for OptimizeCheckout continues on with subscription payments as it’s built into the same product page.

Under the payment type, you'll now see Subscriptions which expands these new options:

Billing Period
Trial Period
Setup Price
Setup Stripe Recurring Payments Plans

These new subscription options work directly inside OptimizeCheckouts so there's no need to worry about activating any other plugins from OptimizePress or downloading third-party plugins to make this work.

The beauty of this means those of you who are already using OptimizeCheckouts can simply choose "subscription" as the payment type to start selling subscriptions.

And, for those of you who are wondering if you need this feature and lots more, it's just a simple upgrade to our OptimizeSuite plan where you benefit from our complete funnel builder, OptimizeFunnels LINK, as well as a host of additional features and benefits.

Before you ask... Yes, you can sell subscription products right inside your funnels as your primary product, as well as upsell and downsells.

Easily Create Subscription Products

As mentioned earlier, our subscription payment options are built into OptimizeCheckouts, making it super easy to create new subscription products or switch existing one-time payment products to be subscriptions product types.

You can offer these subscription products as:

Quarterly (Every 3 months)
Every 6 months
Customize your subscription billing period

This covers all billing periods for successful selling of recurring products.

Along with those billing periods above, you can offer:

Free trial periods - This is the number of days before the billing begins.

Setup prices - This could be used to charge an initial price for a product/service, then after that period, the monthly payments begin.

An example of setup prices might be an initial website set up fee of $500 (set up price) - then monthly marketing consultation (subscription product) that starts after the set up price period.

NOTE: At the time of launch, you cannot offer payment plans like; $997 divided into 4 payments (sometimes called installment payment plans); however that will come very soon.

This covers all billing periods for successful selling of recurring products.

Along with those billing periods above, you can offer:

Free trial periods - This is the number of days before the billing begins.

Setup prices - This could be used to charge an initial price for a product/service, then after that period, the monthly payments begin.

An example of setup prices might be an initial website set up fee of $500 (set up price) - then monthly marketing consultation (subscription product) that starts after the set up price period.

NOTE: At the time of launch, you cannot offer payment plans like; $997 divided into 4 payments (sometimes called installment payment plans); however that will come very soon.

One of the brilliant features is seeing the calculation when you create a billing period, including trials or setup prices.

If you charge $97 for a monthly coaching service with a 7 day trial, OptimizeCheckouts calculates and shows you how the customer is going to be charged.

E.g. - Your customer will be charged $0.00 immediately for their 7 day trial, and then $97.00 every month until they cancel.

Recurring payment plan summary

If you change the billing period or enter a setup price you will see a new calculation.

Integrations To Maximise Subscription Revenues

We couldn't create a subscription payment type without including the integrations. The ability to send vital subscription data about customers to your email marketing provider opens up more opportunities for segmenting and targeting leads with future products.

We have included various triggers than will send data based on different billing behaviours like:

Subscription Created - When a subscription is sold and created on your site.
Subscription Cancelled - When you or a customer cancels a subscription
Subscription Payment Successful - When a subscription payment goes through
Subscription Payment Failed - When a subscription payment fails, e.g card expired
Integration rules for subscriptions

These payment actions provide you with insights into customers payments or billing, meaning you can trigger further automated marketing emails based on what's been triggered on your site and sent to your email service.

Here's an example.

You run a monthly coaching club teaching people about creating landing pages called "Master Your Landing Pages". A customer joins your monthly club on a 7 day trial.

Inside your EMS (Email Marketing Service) you set up the following tags.

  1. Tag: MYLP - New Trial
  2. Tag: MYLP - New Member
  3. Tag: MYLP - Payment Failed
  4. Tag: MYLP - Subscription Cancelled

  5. Here’s the tags created inside of Drip.
Setup tags in your CRM to add to subscription buyers

You also write a series of emails that are sent when a lead is tagged as above. This part deserves a full blog post because you'd have to set up a few emails, but here's some examples of ideas I'm thinking of.

Most email services that have automation allow you to start the automation when a lead is tagged. Usually, this is called a trigger.

Here are some example email automations you could have setup in your EMS.

MYLP - New Trial - Welcome to your trial membership "Master Your Landing Pages"... (This email is essential read email funnel LINK)
MYLP - New Member - Congratulations, you have full access
MYLP - Payment Failed - Oops something went wrong...
MYLP - Subscription Cancelled - Oh dear (WIN Back)

Here’s an automation setup inside of Drip to send an email to new trial members.

Drip workflow setup

Inside our EMS we've created:

Tags - These will be assigned to the lead when OptimizePress sends the data.
Email - These will be sent when a lead has the tag applied based on the automation trigger.

Now, for example, let's say someone goes to your checkout forms and buys your subscription product called "Master Your Landing Pages".

Here's are the rules that will fire inside OptimizeCheckouts and send customer data to you EMS:

New members joins > Subscription Created > Send new customer data to EMS > Add tag "MYLP - New Trial"
In your EMS when a lead is tagged "MYLP - New Trial" > Send email "MYLP - New Trial"
After the 7 day trial period, the first payment begins, and the rule fires > Send Payment Successful data to EMS > Tag lead with "MYLP - New Member"
Now you have another automation ready that triggers when a lead is tagged "MYLP - New Member" > Send email "MYLP - New Member"

These integration rules give you full control over the actions your customers take on your site and during or after a purchase.

So, if someone cancels a subscription, you can run actions to reach out to customers to run win-back campaigns. Win-back campaigns can help you to recover lost customers and bring them back into your subscription.

Sometimes people don't know if a payment fails. They don't want to miss out on access to your membership site, so you send a polite email reminding them to login and update their payment info.

Once you write these emails or automated email sequences inside your EMS, OptimizePress will send new data or update existing leads by sending the new tags, and your emails will run automatically. The beauty of these types of automation setups is that they only have to be created once and can run on autopilot.

Sell Subscription Offers With Coupons

With OptimizeCheckouts we have a coupon feature where you create a fixed price or discounted coupon for any product.

Apps like Honey have driven consumer interest for coupons even higher than they already were. People now search for coupons before they spend.

As a marketer, you can take advantage of these buying habits by offering coupons. You can even use coupons as a lead magnet to grow your email list.

A simple coupon can mean one extra conversion, and remember what we said about selling a subscription service, and it's compounding growth. Just one new member a day can increase your revenue rapidly, and it might just take a little coupon to encourage someone to make a purchase.

Subscription Revenue Compound Growth

This is an example of membership/subscription revenue growth based on a business selling 10 x $49/month subscriptions over 6 months with 10% churn ( calculations for example purposes only)

This coupon feature has also been added to work with Subscription payments, where you can discount the whole cycle of the recurring payment or apply it to the setup fee.

Creating a coupon is the same as you would for one-time products. You set the code, expiry date and discount type.

Setup coupons for your subscriptions

Further down you have the option to set if you want the discount to run over the entire billing period or apply it to just the initial setup fee.

Apply to recurring/future payments:

Yes = Apply the discount to the full billing period including each renewal rebill

No = Apply the discount only to the initial checkout total - E.g if subscription was $30/month and the coupon was $10 then it would be $20 first payment then $30/month for recurring payments after that

Apply coupons to one or all payments

Note about Coupons:  Currently OptimizePress does not support 100% coupon discounts on our checkouts.  Stripe requires a charge to be placed through to their system so we do not currently allow this.  We do have plans to improve this functionality in the future.

Add Subscriptions To Your Funnels

As we said earlier, your subscription products will work inside OptimizeFunnels and you can use the complete range of checkout templates to sell your subscription products.

The same way you've been adding products to checkouts forms, is exactly the same way you do it with subscriptions.

Either in the page editor: through the form wizard.

Product Select in OptimizeBuilder

Or directly in the funnel visualiser meaning it’s much quicker to quickly switch out products.

Set product in Funnel Visualiser

Here's how a subscription product looks on the checkout page.

How your subscription recurring payments look on checkout

Notice the new Future Payments section to clearly show the customer the billing period allowing you to be transparent with the customer about future payments. You never want to be in a position where the customer didn’t know they joined a recurring payment program. Clearly explained pricing will reduce refund requests.

Master Your Metrics

As you know, statistics are vital for seeing how your offers are performing and when selling subscriptions you can start to see how those recurring payments are building up over time or which offers are converting more customers.

We've included a new "Recurring Payments" stats page to view only those subscription sales you make as well as showing subscription orders on the order summary page.

You can find Recurring Payments under Checkouts.

Recurring payments history dashboard

The type of statistics you can view and monitor will grow in future releases of OptimizeCheckouts. Future updates will give you the ability to drill down into various areas of product sales and product types.

You can also view all sales types on the Orders page. Notice how each product will show if it is a one-time or subscription order.

OptimizeCheckouts orders dashboard

Note: stats dashboard will be updated slightly to include overview stats for subscriptions such as, new subscription revenue and new cancelations from subscriptions. This will give visual stats for the core subscriptions you need.

Types Of Subscriptions You Can Create

The types of subscription you can offer is an in-depth topic that deserves a more detailed post all of its own but we couldn't leave you wondering what to sell.

Here's some ideas of products you might want to offer as subscription type products:

Monthly Facebook Group or Community Forum access
Monthly Website Templates
Monthly Consulting (any niche)
Monthly Video Consulting (any niche)
Monthly Fitness Workouts
Monthly Meal Plans
Monthly Web Maintenance Service
Monthly Video Training (any niche)
Monthly/Yearly Health Coaching Service

These are a never-ending amount of subscription product ideas. Look at everything you buy, and then think, can it be switched to a subscription product?

How To Add A Subscription Product

First you need to be on the OptimizeSuite Plan and have OptimizeCheckouts and OptimizeFunnels installed and activated.

Once you have those plugins enabled you can sell products and create funnels inside OptimizePress.

To add a new subscription product do the following:

1. Under Checkouts click Products
2. Choose “Create New Product”
3. Give your product a Name, Description, Category, Successful URL redirect (optional - can be set on the checkout form or funnel)
4. Under Pricing Information click Add New Plan
5. Give your product a name
6. Choose Subscription under Type
7. Add your Price & Billing Period
8. Add your Trial Period and Setup Price (if you wish to use these options)
9. Click Save

That's it! Your subscription product is created and ready to use.

Next, complete the other optional product options:

Payment Gateway - Set whether your product is in Live or Test mode
Included file - Add a downloadable file to your product - this will be shown on your thank you page as long as you include the files download element
Integration Rules  - See above for more information on setting these up

Once your product is done you can now begin selling by using any checkout page you’ve already designed or any of the checkout templates inside of OptimizePress. You can also create a brand new sales funnel in OptimizeFunnels from one of our done for you funnels.

What To Do Next?

So there you have it! Subscription payments are ready to use and we can’t wait to see you selling recurring payment products. This new feature has been in development for months and makes OptimizePress even more powerful for selling digital products.

The subscription business model is a big topic, one that we’ll be writing about in future articles to give you ideas and share inspirational stories from our community.

Even if you are not yet ready to sell a subscription product there’s a high chance you will introduce them at some point as another revenue stream. Once you have any recurring revenue in your business you can quickly see how stable your income can be from just a small number of customers.

If you are just learning about OptimizePress now, you can go and take a look at our on-demand demo to see what we offer. You can also read about the done for you checkouts and funnels that are part of the OptimizePress platform. If you’re on the fence and looking for a platform to handle your list building and sales funnels then try our OptimizeSuite plan.

We'd love to hear from you! Let us know how you're planning to use the new Subscriptions feature in OptimizeCheckouts

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    14 replies to "Sell Subscriptions in WordPress with Recurring Payments Support"

    • Lesley B

      I have a client using SmartTheme / OP3, with OptimizeMember(OP2) for restricting OP3 page access.
      OptimizeCheckouts has an integtation with OptimizeMember, so will you be replacing OptimizeMember(OP2) with an OP3 version or will she need to convert her site to use a different membership plugin please? Would appreciate your guidance please so any necessary website work can be scheduled. Many Thanks

      • James Dyson

        Hi Lesley

        We’ve just released OptimizeMentor which is our brand new replacement for OptimizeMember. It’s available in the Suite plan now

    • Ronnie

      How can a customer update their payment method after a failed payment? Is it manual only? For instance, the weekly payment is triggered, but fails, what happens after the system has denied access? I find it hard to understand how they can update their payment method or even access stripe to change that.

      • David Frosdick

        Hi Ronnie, we are building a solution for this as we know it’s a feature we need for failed billings. At this time we would get the customer to go through the checkout process again as that will update their payment details. That’s easier than sending them to Stripe forms.

    • Matt

      I’m still running a recurring membership site on optimizepress 2 & the stripe feature seems outdated. Would I be able to create a checkout page in OP3 & have customers register for my membership site on OP2, even though they used OP3 to checkout & pay?

      • James Dyson

        Hi Matt

        We’d always recommend using OP3 and the new page builder for your pages where possible as it brings many benefits in terms of page speed, mobile flexibility and design customization. If you have an existing site that you don’t want to touch for now – we do have an integration between OptimizeCheckouts (in OP3) and OptimizeMember/OP2. You can find this inside the Integration rules inside OptimizeCheckouts –

        You would basically setup a rule when a customer pays through your OP3 checkout to add that buyer to a membership level in OptimizeMember

        I hope that helps!

    • Roger

      You guys are amazing! I’m a very happy OptimizePress customer and as mentioned by Craig, your product allows to ditch many other solutions which required lots of effort to have them talk to each other seamlessly.

    • Alexandru

      Can we use this subscription feature with PayPal? Thank you!

      • David Frosdick

        Paypal is coming soon! We wanted to get the Stripe integration working first and then iron out any issue before we release Paypal.

    • Craig Kelley

      Is there a place to see the inner workings? For example, when creating a product as subscription does it create a new plan in Stripe? I use stripe webhooks for account creation in my app which is totally separate. Also, does this subscription service push the payments or is it stripe that automatically charges each month? who triggers it? is there a customer portal to allow cancel? is that when you manually cancel the user in the dashboard?

      Sorry for the questions but my application is totally separate from WordPress.

      PS. Thank you for retargeting me for months… your product is amazing and what I’ve been looking for all along. Saved me a TON. No longer do I need ClickFunnels, WP plugins – FullStripe, ElementorPro, WooCommerce or CartFlows… whew. AMAZING! Thanks!

      Craig @ LeadScripts

      • James Dyson

        Hi Craig – thanks for your questions.

        When you create a subscription product inside OptimizeCheckouts, our system is syncing this with your Stripe account and creating/updating the subscription plan there. Part of the reason this integration took longer was that we are doing things properly when it comes to creating plans and not just handling everything on your server/site side.

        The plans that are created in Stripe can be found inside the “Products” tab .

        Once the subscription/plan is setup – Stripe handles the renewals – and we have a connection with Stripe via the webhook that you setup which notifies us when those charges go through, so we can then run any integrations that you’ve setup inside OptimizeCheckouts/OptimizePress.

        At the moment we don’t have a client/customer side (to allow your customers to cancel their subscriptions) but this is something on the roadmap. Right now you will need to cancel a customers subscription inside Stripe if you don’t want to bill them further – but this is very easy and Stripes’ interface is super easy to use.

        You can refund customers for one-time payments inside OptimizeCheckouts but because subscriptions are a bit more complex, you need to handle some of the refunding/cancellation of those charges inside Stripe

        If you do cancel a subscription – this will reflect back inside your OptimizeCheckouts account after Stripe sends out the webhook to notify external services.

        Hopefully that answers your questions but let us know if you need more information. Great to hear you were able to DITCH Clickfunnels and other related solutions!

    • Reima Petramaa

      Nice to know there is now subscription payments available in OptimizePress. An excellent additional feature in OptimizeCheckouts is a possibility for a customer to see he/she is subscribing to recurring payment. It’s good to have this kind of transparency.

    • Arturo Ayala

      It is a wonderful feature !! Unfortunately in Latin America Stripe has not enabled its use, therefore it cannot be used. 🙁

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