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4 Beginner Marketing Tips for Your Online Subscription Business

  • Rachel Nelson, PowerSync
  • Dec 17, 2020
  • 6 minute read

Whether you’re a new or established subscription merchant, you are likely always on the prowl for strategic marketing tips. 

This article is for you if:

  • You are looking for the best options for managing recurring revenue on your website
  • You are new the subscription economy and are looking for proven marketing tips
  • You want social media marketing tips for your subscription business
  • You would like to speak with an e-commerce expert for more marketing tips and advice

Before we get into the weeds of some marketing basics for recurring revenue businesses, the first order of business is ensuring your website and other tech processes are configured for success. In addition to investing in a well-produced, search engine-optimized website, what is your plan for managing your subscription orders? 

One way to accomplish that goal is through your e-commerce platform. Finding the right  e-commerce platform is something each business must determine individually. Magento is a popular platform for enterprise-level merchants, so we recommend it for any business that plans to scale. Starting off on the right foot in this area will save you from having to perform a costly re-platforming effort later. 

While the Magento e-commerce platform offers many benefits for online merchants, it does not offer a way to manage subscriptions out of the box. Therefore, merchants that collect recurring revenue must rely on a third-party plugin. The mPower subscription management solution is a robust option because of its flexibility, user-friendliness and functionality to meet a diverse set of business needs. 

Another way to manage subscription orders is through your customer relationship management (CRM) system. If you have not chosen a CRM, we recommend Salesforce because of its solid reputation and vast features.

However, like Magento, Salesforce does not have an out-of-the box subscription management solution. Recurrex is an add-on that closes this gap.

Aside from perfecting every aspect of your website, here are our top four marketing tips for generating more recurring revenue.

Prioritize Customer Retention Over Customer Acquisition

As you develop your marketing strategy, your emphasis should be on customer retention rather than customer acquisition. We discuss this more in-depth in our previous blog post, but to summarize some key points: 

  • The likelihood of selling more products to an existing customer is 60-70% (compared to a 5-20% chance of closing a deal with a new prospect). 
  • Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products.
  • Existing customers spend 31% more than new customers.

The statistics above, provided by Invesp, demonstrate the importance of casting your marketing net close to home for the biggest return on investment. You can achieve this through several tactics — such as upselling, cross-selling, product-bundling, leveraging free gifts and pre-selling new items. Our previous article goes into detail on each of these strategies. 

Get Your Brand Identity to a Solid Place

It seems everyone is on social media these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s a breeze to do it right for businesses. Invest in a professional designer to provide graphics that contain consistent fonts, colors and style. In fact, we recommend creating a style guide that will establish your brand standards ahead of launching your business. 

Your images and graphics should also be sized correctly. The dimensions for profile photos and cover images are subject to change from time to time, so you have to stay on top of this to keep yours current. These details matter because you want your audience to view you as professional and polished. 

When it comes to posting, you should build out your social media calendar in advance. Where will your content come from? Launching a blog with industry-specific content is a great way to drive engagement on social media as well as website traffic (we talk more about this in our previous blog post). 

Automating blog posts is a great way to ease the stress of managing your social media strategy. By plugging the content in from your calendar in advance, you will rest assured you are posting content regularly. Sprout Social is a feature-rich platform for scheduling social posts, and it also offers in-depth analytics data so you can determine what is working well for your business on social. 

One of our biggest marketing tips for social media is to invest in some video production. According to HubSpot, 54% of consumers say they want to see more video content from a brand or business they support. Another way to encourage social media engagement is through contests and giveaways.

Build Your Email List

This is something you will want to get started on early on. Make your website conversion-focused with several landing pages. According to HubSpot:

  • 80% of businesses believe email marketing increases customer retention. 
  • 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. 
  • 59% of survey respondents say marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions. 
  • Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. 

In order to build successful email campaigns, you must first build an email list. Can you offer something of value in return for an email address, such as a discount, free online course or e-book? Set up a capture page that collects that information in exchange for your freebie. 

You will also want to invest in an email marketing platform so you can automate messaging and keep your email list organized. Some popular options are Drip, Constant Contact and MailChimp. Check out this comparison for more insight. 

Offer a Free Trial Period or Discount

While your customer retention efforts should trump your customer acquisition efforts, you cannot ignore recruiting new spenders entirely. Offering a free trial period or discount incentive is a strategic way to lure new customers into a long-term relationship with your brand. 

This will look different depending on what kind of subscription service you offer. If you have a streaming service, offering a seven-day free trial is simple enough. However, if you are selling physical goods, a discounted first order or free shipping offer is likely a more sensible route to take. 

In addition to increased brand exposure, free trials and discounts are also a great way to build your email list. Even if a customer does not follow through with an ongoing subscription order, you will still have the opportunity to market to them going forward. (Check out this article from Neil Patel for advice on marketing to customers when a free trial is over).

Wrapping Up

Successful marketing is typically a game of trial and error for any business. These marketing tips will help you get your strategy off the ground, but ultimately it falls on you to determine what to fine-tune as time goes on. As an online merchant, your web and social presence should be a top priority, and customer retention should lie at the forefront of your game plan. Email marketing is another important piece that will help you to generate ongoing sales. 

Are you looking for more tailored marketing tips? Schedule a strategy session with a PowerSync e-commerce expert. Our strategy sessions are valued at $997, but if you mention this blog article the first one is on us.

Want to stay up to date on the latest and most successful marketing trends in the subscription industry?  Join SUBTA. We’re a community of doers, excited to share insights, make connections and grow your subscription brand.