7 Subscription Marketing Strategies to Start Building Your Customer Base
The subscription business model helps companies retain more of their customers and gain loyalty, but that doesn’t mean customer acquisition just goes out the window. Subscription companies have the most success when they bring in repeat customers. There are many great strategies that can help you do this, but each one has the same common objectives:
- Provide value to your customers without a purchase
- Build trust
- Don’t be too sales-y
- Keep things customer-centric.
Keeping these things in mind will help you have more success with these 7 strategies.
1. Create a Thoughtful Content Strategy
According to Hubspot, 2021 saw 82% of marketers utilize content marketing, an increase of 12% from the year before.
Content gives you a chance to offer something valuable to prospects and customers, without them having to buy something. It also helps you build customer relationships by getting them engaged with your brand more often.
This dynamic can be critical for landing sales in today’s market. Hubspot reports nearly half of all customers consume three to five pieces of content before making a purchase.
Success in content marketing comes down to three things:
- Posting killer content that entertains and engages customers
- Posting it often, on a predictable, scheduled basis
- Tying your content to your buyer’s journey and guiding customers to the next stage
If you can consistently deliver these things to your target audience, you’ll build a solid base of repeat customers.
2. Send Meaningful Emails
Emails have been a powerful tool since the dawn of the internet. Think of all the fads that have come and gone: AIM, Myspace, whatever.
While they all faded away, email has quietly done its thing in the background.
There’s no better way to directly connect with customers for a subscription-based business. You can use email for many things:
- Getting feedback through surveys
- Upselling or cross-selling
- Helping mitigate buyer’s remorse
- Extending and improving the customer experience.
Like content, emails are only successful if they mean something to your audience. Don’t just send something to check it off a list. Make sure everything you send meets your customers’ needs.
3. Utilize Influencer Marketing
The 2020s seem to be marked as the age of the influencer. These social media personalities have a notable, loyal following that brands can tap into through partnerships. There are different categories of influencers to consider, including:
- Mega Influencers: A large-scale celebrity with over 1 million followers.
- Macro Influencers: Influencers with a following between 100 thousand and 1 million.
- Micro Influencers: A person with a lower but engaged following of 1 thousand to 100 thousand.
- Nano Influencers: Someone with a highly engaged following of less than 1 thousand in a narrow niche.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, Micro influencers are the most popular choice, making up at least 90% of the market, so they might be the best place to start.
4. Set Your Brand Apart
It’s hard to stick out in the subscription game these days, but a little creativity can go a long way. Take the first Dollar Shave Club video as an example. They took a risk by making something different, but it established their strong brand voice that is still thriving today. In the process, they paved the way for a new style of advertisements that captures an absurd sense of humor and straightforward information.
Their choices wouldn’t work for every brand, but they knew their target audience well. That’s the most essential part when you think outside the box. You have to know what your customers will enjoy versus what will scare them away.
You don’t need to make everyone happy. Just those you want as customers.
5. Use Existing Customers as Evangelists
Got happy customers?
Great. Make them part of your marketing plan.
Social sharing – whether through user-generated content or online reviews – has become a proven way to attract more buyers. Just check out some of these stats:
- 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend.
- 93% of consumers say online reviews affected their purchasing decision.
- 79% of customers say user-generated content influenced their purchasing decision.
- Brand engagement rises by 28% when companies mix their own content with user-generated content.
Encouraging customers to share photos, videos, and reviews of your product will help you reach a large audience as their followers discover your brand through their digital network.
Don’t be afraid to create contests or give some direction on the content creation. More than half of consumers want some guidance on types of content to create. Throw out some ideas and see how they respond.
6. Consider a Free Trial Model
To draw in new subscribers, some companies choose to offer a free trial or even a freemium version of their subscription services.
This could mean offering complementary products before customers commit to the sale. At the time of writing this, the meal subscription company Hello Fresh is running a program for 16(!) free meal boxes just by giving them your contact info.
Many brands that offer digital products have a lite version with reduced features for free. Customers can try the product until they reach the limits of the freemium version, and then convert to a subscriber.
7. Create a Loyalty Program
A subscription business thrives when they have loyal customers. Creating a program that honors loyalty will show them that you appreciate their business and help foster the relationships you have with existing subscription customers.
It also has added perks for your business. More than 70% of consumers say they’re more likely to recommend brands with a loyalty program, and those recommendations can go a long way in customer acquisition.
Your current subscribers are also your most valuable customers. Treating them well will only help you grow, since most of your sales happen with a small portion of your audience.
These subscription marketing tactics can help you reach your target audience and build a strong customer base.
Because of the recurring revenue model embedded within subscriptions, that will continue to bring in money for as long as you can excite and delight them with your product.