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How TeacherVision leverages data to drive subscriber growth


We all have that one teacher who really made a difference in our lives. It's quite possible that teacher had a support system of their own–an estimated 50% of the nation’s teachers leverage TeacherVision. As part of the Sandbox Learning family of educational and reference sites, the flagship brand provides teachers with expertly-curated, print-ready and digital teaching resources through its popular website and active social media accounts. 

TeacherVision moved to a subscription model years ago. “With the subscription model, they can access unlimited content for one flat fee” explains Mark Engelter, President of Sandbox Learning. Many teachers start with TeacherVision’s free Basic plan, then update to the paid Premium plan once they’ve sampled some of the more than 20,000 professionally curated and created worksheets, lessons, and classroom management resources.

A grade ahead

TeacherVision partnered with Recurly after it grew frustrated with the lack of data and analytics provided through its previous subscription management platform. “We wanted to measure upfront conversion rates by plan and price point. In addition, we needed deeper visibility into our recurring revenue metrics, and we desperately wanted to be doing cohort renewal analysis to help us make informed decisions and reduce churn rates,” recalls Engelter. 

When TeacherVision saw Recurly in action and spoke to its consulting team, they realized what they’d been missing. “Recurly has a strong subscription analytics offering,” Engelter says. “The reports, KPIs, and dashboards provide key insights into the health of the business and help us identify opportunities for growth.”

Saved 56% of at-risk invoices in the first six months

High marks for flexibility

TeacherVision’s sales and marketing teams love the ability to easily test plans, pricing, and promotions to see what’s working. “We love that with Recurly, these kinds of things are configuration items, not development projects,” Engelter says. 

Engelter says the company is keenly aware of “subscription fatigue” and works continually to demonstrate TeacherVision’s value and not frustrate subscribers by making it difficult to pause, cancel, or restart their subscriptions. “The pause feature is a great option,” he says. “When someone indicates they want to cancel, we can offer to pause their account instead. It’s working–none of the accounts that we’ve paused have gone on to cancel their subscriptions.” 

Tools that power growth

TeacherVision has seen significant and steady growth over the past several years, in part because the pandemic accelerated the need for digital tools. Before Recurly, though, Engelter said the company didn’t have the tools to understand and optimize that growth. “With Recurly, we can see the factors that are driving our growth and do more of that. Conversely, we’ve gained insight into churn and can take effective steps to reduce it.”

Reduced involuntary churn to less than 1%

Recurly’s support for multiple gateways helps the company scale its operations globally. “We have entities operating in multiple countries, so having support for various regional and localized gateways under the same umbrella is very helpful,” says Engelter. “We’re moving our other stacks to Recurly based on the great results we’re seeing with TeacherVision.” 

Focusing resources where they count

Prior to engaging Recurly, TeacherVision acquired another company in its space. That company was in the middle of conversion from a homegrown subscription management and billing application to a commercially available platform. Engelter says the transition was, in a word, painful. “We hired a dozen developers to complete the project, and it took 18 months. Looking back, we spent most of the time and money on functionality that comes out-of-the-box with Recurly. Our time and efforts are much better spent on helping even more teachers be more effective and efficient, not building subscription platforms.”

Engelter gives high marks to the Recurly implementation and support teams. “The migrations were new for our team, but it’s what Recurly lives and breathes,” he says. “Their team guided us every step of the way. It was clear they were invested in our success.” 

Majoring in subscriptions

TeacherVision has a wide reach and stellar reputation among teachers, largely thanks to the company’s laser-focused commitment to the cause. “Subscriptions aren’t who we are, they’re a way to get our resources into the right hands,” concludes Engelter. “We knew we didn’t want to spend our resources on a subscription and recurring billing platform, so we chose the best out there–Recurly.”

Download the Case Study: TeacherVision

Recurly + TeacherVision