How to create a compelling online and offline subscriber experience
This post was written in collaboration with PostPilot. If you are not familiar with them, they help you send profitable postcard campaigns as easily as email.
Delivering a memorable experience both online and offline is a must in today’s competitive ecommerce subscription market. Every touchpoint a subscriber sees and engages with is an opportunity to impress them and drive brand loyalty.
As you’re building out your subscriber experience, you should be thinking about how the experience will look online as well as how it will look and feel offline. Creating a strong subscriber experience will:
- Differentiate your offer. You’re not the only one offering a subscription. Delivering a generic subscriber experience will make you look…just like your competitors. An engaging, brand-specific experience, on the other hand, will likely be better remembered and more effective. One especially powerful differentiator is the offline experience, which many brands are still overlooking—even ignoring entirely.
- Drive trial and spend among existing customers. On average, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than new customers. By creating a powerful subscriber experience, you will have the opportunity to impress and instill your products and brand on your subscribers which will lead to them becoming stronger customers.
- Unlock potential growth opportunities. A beautiful, frictionless subscription experience makes it easier for customers to upgrade to a subscription or add a product to a current subscription. It can provide the growth you need to take business to the next level.
It may seem expensive and time-consuming to bring an ecommerce subscription model to life—but it’s not. In fact, it’s never been easier or more affordable. Upscribe makes it simple to deploy a beautiful customer experience online while PostPilot makes it a cinch to activate and engage with your subscribers offline.
Read on to learn how you can build your own outstanding customer experience.
Match your subscription to your “regular” shopping experience
When your subscriber experience seems disconnected from the rest of your ecommerce experience, it can confuse and create friction for customers. And that can, in turn, can get in the way of conversions, increase churn and reduce brand advocacy.
Referrals are important to growing revenue. Research shows that customers acquired through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate than those acquired through other channels. Having a brand that drives a high number of referrals puts less strain on your acquisition funnel—and your budget.
Adding a subscription offering to a business doesn’t mean building a new site. In fact, you should approach building a subscription offering the way you would approach adding a new product. Make sure it harmonizes with your brand, and that the purchasing process is the same. The more connected your experiences are, the more seamless it will be for existing customers to become subscribers.
Build a coordinating customer portal
This is not the time to experiment with a new look. As a fast follow to creating a connected experience, the customer portal you deploy should match your brand aesthetics. That includes everything from the fonts to the colors to the logos.
A customer portal that diverges from your branding can confuse customers and raise questions about the legitimacy of your subscription program.
Fortunately, Upscribe’s out-of-the-box customer portal editor lets merchants easily choose colors, logos, and fonts to deploy a beautiful customer experience in a matter of minutes. No need to worry about complicated, time consuming and costly coding customizations to the portal.
Make it frictionless to subscribe
A smooth subscriber experience is just as important as aesthetics. Not only will a frictionless experience make the subscribers’ experience better, it will also likely reduce the need for customer support.
We’ve all been locked out of an account and forgotten a password. In fact, a recent survey indicated that 65% of respondents will forget a password unless they write it down. Prevent this problem enabling Passwordless Login for subscribers. When a customer wants to get into their account, they will receive a secure email they can click to log in.
It’s also important to meet subscribers where they are and let them manage their subscriptions directly from email or SMS.
Letting customers quickly get what they want is key. Implementing these tactics (which come out-of-the-box with Upscribe) will help a loyal and growing subscriber base. You’ll also increase average order value (AOV) and lifetime value (LTV).
Leverage data to make smart recommendations
Whether you use Klaviyo or another ESP, customer data is more readily available than ever. But it’s not enough to have access to the data—you have to use it to deliver smarter, more on-target recommendations that improve the subscription experience.
Some ways to use data to personalize customer experiences are:
- Sending them a message on their subscription anniversary. This small engagement point can make a customer feel special and is a great way to differentiate your brand from competitors.
- Giving subscribers a discount on an item that pairs well with their subscription. For example, if they receive a pound of coffee every month, send them a coupon for a new coffee mug. In the message with the promotion, talk about how it’s the perfect accessory.
- Giving subscribers access to an exclusive pre-sale. This will not only make them feel special, it’s an opportunity to increase their lifetime value (LTV).
These touchpoints and sample engagement tactics are ways to show your subscribers that they matter. They go a long way in building your brand, developing loyalty and creating an experience that subscribers remember.
Cut through digital clutter
Now that you’ve built your subscription program, how are you going to let customers know about it?
These days, the obvious answer is email. Email is cheap and easy. Everyone is using it.
But email’s popularity is part of the problem. There’s more competition than ever for your customers’ attention online. Their inboxes are overflowing with marketing emails, their phones bursting at the seams with SMS messages.
As a result, you’re probably only reaching a fraction of your customers via email. Here’s why:
On average, people will open about 20% of the marketing emails they receive. And that’s 20% of the people who have signed up—it doesn’t take into account all the customers who never signed up for your list or signed up but later unsubscribed.
On the other hand, direct mail is the only marketing channel that lets you reach 90% of your customers.
Direct mail has been around for a long time, but it’s a fully up-to-date marketing channel. With platforms like PostPilot, you can easily create customer segments,sync campaigns with existing email flows, leverage QR technology, and track ROI in real time.
Best of all, it works. Surveys show that people actually like to receive mail, and they look at almost everything they receive. Direct mail has a much higher response rate than email—9% versus 1%, according to the Association of National Advertisers.
Postcards break through the digital noise, help you stand out from the crowd and establish you as a premium brand, all crucial to growing your subscriber base.
Use direct mail to convert single purchases into subscriptions
Direct mail is a potent tool for turning your new and existing customers into subscribers. It’s more effective than email. And though it’s also more expensive, because you’re using it to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers, it can easily pay off in sales and profits.
With PostPilot’s native Shopify and Klaviyo integrations, you can create a bulk campaign to target past customers who haven’t yet subscribed. And you can build automated campaigns that send postcards to new customers, incentivizing them to subscribe. Target every new purchase, or just customers who buy certain products.
That’s it–you can set it and forget it. Every time a customer reaches a trigger point, such as purchasing a specific item or buying more than once, PostPilot will automatically send out a postcard that invites them to save with a subscription. Read on for our expert insights into creating effective campaigns.
Reduce subscriber churn with direct mail
In addition to converting existing customers to subscribers, direct mail can play an important role in reducing churn.
Churn is when a customer stops buying, cancels a subscription or lets a subscription lapse. Smart brands will prevent it from happening by using automated campaigns that are triggered when a customer goes a certain amount of time without buying. Maybe you’re already doing this with email.
But as we explained, if you’re relying exclusively on email, you’re probably only reaching a small fraction of your customers. Direct mail, on the other hand, lets you reach nearly all of them.
And PostPilot makes it easy to create automated winback campaigns. To get lapsed subscribers back into line, simply create a segment of customers who don’t renew within a certain amount of time. You can use the same approach to canceled subscriptions, sending a postcard that includes an offer to entice them back.
Connect your online and offline experiences
Just as your subscriber portal should look like your main ecommerce site, your direct mail campaigns should be consistent with your online experience. Use the same colors, typefaces, and feel as you do for your website, emails, and ads—otherwise you risk confusing and alienating your customers.
You can also directly bridge the online and offline experiences with QR codes. Adding a code to each postcard literally makes it a snap for customers to start a new subscription or resubscribe.
Adopt direct-mail best practices
If you’ve never worked with postcard marketing before, it can seem like a daunting prospect—a whole new world. But that’s actually not the case; your team probably already has the resources to create successful campaigns.
Think of designing a postcard campaign as the best of a Facebook ad crossed with the advantages of email—along with some bonus benefits.
There are a few best practices to keep in mind.
Use strong imagery. Don’t make it complicated—a couple of straightforward , brand-appropriate images can go a long way towards getting your customers’ attention. If you’re selling supplements, for instance, consider featuring a lifestyle image on one side and a product image on the other.
Include a great offer. A compelling offer is essential to getting customers to take action and start (or keep) subscribing. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here–it’s all about what works for your brand. Some common options include a percentage or dollar discount, or a month free. If you don’t typically discount, you could opt for a BOGO (buy one get one) offer, free shipping, or a bonus product.
Personalize it. Personalizing your direct-mail campaigns can increase your response rate. With PostPilot’s Shopify integration it’s a cinch to create one-to-one custom postcards—just as easily as you can personalize your email campaigns.
Make the benefits clear. You don’t need to get into all the details of your subscription. But you should briefly communicate its main benefits— saving money, looking better, developing better habits, etc.—to convince customers to sign up.
Creating a memorable, loyalty driving experience that helps take your ecommerce subscription experience to the next level has never been easier thanks to tools like Upscribe and PostPilot. Upscribe gives you all of the out-of-the-box tools that you need to deploy a loyalty driving online experience while PostPilot gives you what you need to engage with subscribers offline.