Launching a subscription business takes more than a great idea. The success of a subscription relies on its ability to provide tremendous — and exclusive — value to its customers.
Building trustworthy relationships with subscribers can be a slow process. When it comes to growing your customer base, time is not a luxury a lot of subscription startups (or early-stage businesses) can afford, especially given the increasingly competitive nature of the industry.
Here are several marketing strategies any subscription business can implement in a timely fashion to increase their customer acquisition rates!
Add Discounts and Promotions, and One-Click Upsells!
Your subscription is most likely a deal on its own, so why are we already talking about adding something else?
Upselling gives both new and returning customers another offer that can provide them more value. It’s a popular marketing strategy for two reasons:
- It’s a lot cheaper to upsell to your existing customers than finding new ones.
- It’s better than bombarding your marketing audience with extra ads that can deter them from subscribing in the first place.
Here are some upselling examples:
- Offer your customers and prospects a greater discount for upgrading (or committing) to a long-term subscription
- Add a free trial or bonus for signing up for a long-term subscription
- Offer subscription-based discounts (like subscribe and save)
Developing a successful upselling strategy requires that you tick some boxes first:
- Keep a low entry level:
Nearly 70% of direct-to-consumer businesses offer free trials, according to Recurly. Why? Because many users gain confidence in a subscription product/service after receiving their first deliveries.
- Add a self-service customer portal: Customers need to be able to upgrade their subscription tier at any time, either through your website or an app. Don’t make them contact you.
- Listen to your customers: What challenges are customers facing with your service? What things do they wish your subscription had or did differently? If they provide useful feedback, implement it when you can.
Subscriptions are much like personal development: The information is out there, but things are much more effective when the individual comes to the realization on their own.
Eventually, the user should feel that there is something missing in their current subscription and the new feature they need lies within the next tier. This way, your subscription grows with the user.
Improve Your User Experience and Functionality
Make sure your user experience is carefully tailored to your subscription service.
Here are some tips to improve your customer journey:
Make Your Call-to-Action Button Obvious
Whether it says “Start Your Free Trial” or “Subscribe Now,” the button needs to be obvious and placed strategically on your web page.
Avoid turning it into a blinking neon sign, but it should be easy to find and distinct from the rest of the content on your web page. A lot of sites feature their “subscribe” button in the header or the footer.
Photo Credit: Amazon.com
Your subscription process should be easily understandable and require as little navigation as possible to understand. A popular way of presenting subscription tiers is with a comparison chart, laying out the differences between the packages in a clear, self-explanatory manner.
You don’t want users to feel deceived when going through the checkout flow. One hidden fee can deter a customer from becoming a subscriber.
Transparency is crucial for billing. The customer should know exactly what they’re paying for, and they should be aware of any extra charges they may face. Don’t surprise them! You may need to hire an e-commerce developer to implement these changes for you.
Ensure All of Your Content Has a Purpose
Ever heard the phrase “content is king?”
Content marketing is the key to generating new leads and conversions. But there’s more to it. Perhaps the phrase should be “Valuable content is king,” or “Content that solves the customer’s problems is king”. Sure, they’re not as catchy, but the point is that if you aren’t writing content that helps your target audience, you’re wasting your time.
What is Useful Content?
When someone makes a search query related to your subscription services, they want an answer, not just an ad. If your content doesn’t provide a solution or useful insights, the piece isn’t finished.
Your content should be aligned with your brand image. It should be entertaining, engaging, and informative.
We recommend that you play to your strengths. Written content is the most common, but if someone in your business has video-editing skills or a talent for public speaking, then you should diversify your content.
Create a Value Proposition With Your Subscription
A value proposition is the part (or parts) of your subscription that will solve a customer’s problem in a way that the competition can’t. A unique value proposition can be hard to come up with in a saturated niche. Luckily, you don’t have to come up with a completely original value proposition to gain more subscribers.
Offering a cost-effective subscription can be enough. If the customer gets more for less in the short term, or it saves them money in the long term, that’s a good value proposition.
Consider if the following are applicable to your subscription:
Can your subscriber’s lives be made easier with your subscription? Does it remove a step that they would otherwise have to do themselves?
You don’t have to offer rigid subscription plans. You can have variables that the customer can change to better fit their needs. While customers like getting more for what they pay with subscriptions, they don’t like to pay for things they don’t want or need.
Simply adding more to your subscription is an easy way to add value. Software or marketing-related subscriptions are a good example of this — they often offer a wide range of services in their packages.
It’s important to figure out how you can tick one more box for the customer. Can you offer more functionality through your brand than a competitor? You don’t have to add anything major. Find the balance between providing more value and the extra cost to implement it.
An Alternative to Common Shopify Subscription Apps!
Not too long ago, Shopify stopped allowing users to customize the checkout page through third-party checkout providers as a part of a Terms of Service update (Section 2, 3.18).
While subscriptions are still technically supported through the platform, the functionality is quite limited compared to what third-party apps used to provide. If you’re looking for a better alternative to subscriptions on Shopify, Unify Checkout may be your answer. Unify Checkout comes with heaps of plugins including fraud protection that blocks preloaded/gift cards and bots, one-click and conditional upsells, a ticket system, and a membership portal.
Regardless of the platform you decide to use, incorporating the marketing strategies listed above will help you grow your subscription efficiently while providing your customers with a unique, personalized experience.