Subscription plans are everywhere these days. Everything from the content you watch to the clothes you wear can now be purchased through a subscription model. There are good reasons for this too. People find it convenient, and businesses have a source of sustainable recurring revenue, so it’s no wonder that even traditional non-subscription-based companies are looking to get in on the action.
However, one area that’s often overlooked when converting to a subscription business model is how to market them. Subscription marketing isn’t just about finding new customers to sign up (though that is important). It’s also about actively retaining the customer you have. Customer churn is the bane of any subscription model, and marketing directly to your existing customers is one way to stave off losing that revenue.
Achieving both of these goals is no easy task, but with the right subscription marketing strategies, it’s more than possible. In this article, we’ll outline seven strategies your business needs to use to maximize growth, boost recurring revenue, and build a successful subscription-based business.
1. Get in front of your customers with SMS marketing
SMS marketing is a powerful subscription marketing strategy because it allows you to speak directly with customers. This type of communication is especially effective for subscription services as it allows for a conversational tone, which helps build customer relationships, increase loyalty, and ultimately drive more lifetime value.
To use SMS effectively in your subscription marketing plans, you need to:
Personalize messages using customer data such as subscription plan details, purchase history, and current offers.
Use SMS to send reminders for subscription renewal and encourage repeat purchases.
Try SMS templates for easy but effective campaigns.
Master the art of text messages in our guide to SMS Marketing Best Practices.
2. Use content marketing to help existing customers and find new ones
Content marketing is an effective subscription marketing strategy that uses blog posts, documentation, webinars, and more to help you engage new and existing customers alike.
By creating informative content related to your subscriptions, you can provide value to your customers while also driving awareness. Content marketing is also an evergreen strategy that continues to pay dividends over time, as good content can bring in new customers even years after its publication.
To make the most out of your content marketing efforts, make sure to:
Aim for subscription-specific keywords to attract customers.
Optimize content to be mobile-friendly, as subscription businesses often get accessed from smartphones and tablets.
Offer tutorials on how to use the subscription service through video tutorials or webinars to introduce new product features or answer customer questions quickly and easily.
Learn more about how to write content that boosts revenue from these Ecommerce Content Marketing Examples.
3. Start a referral program
Referral programs work well for subscription businesses because they give existing customers a compelling reason to share your business with friends, family, and colleagues. With this approach, you can simultaneously build loyalty with current customers and expand your customer base.
For this reason, a referral program is a double-win for businesses—it drives more signups and helps encourage better customer retention for even more profit.
If you're new to referral programs, here are some tips to get you started:
Provide incentives that are valuable enough to encourage a customer’s network to sign up for a subscription plan.
Monitor the success of your subscription referral program and adjust when necessary.
Personalize invitations sent out by existing customers to make them more impactful.
See how to use a referral program effectively in this guide to Creating a Successful Referral Marketing Strategy.
4. Offer a free trial
Sometimes people just aren’t willing to commit to a paid plan before trying out what you offer. In these cases, a free trial is just what potential customers need to get familiar with your product or service without any financial risk.
Free trials also have other benefits that make them a good subscription marketing tactic. Free trials help reduce customer acquisition costs, as your sales team doesn’t waste time on people who aren’t truly interested in your offer. As well, free trials are a great source of data on how users interact with your subscription platform.
To ensure your free trial is a success, you should:
Optimize your UX and UI to maximize the chances of new users completing the onboarding stage of your free trial.
Give people enough time to try out all of your features and subscription tiers.
Use SMS and email campaigns alongside your free trial to educate new users and convince them to sign up for a paid subscription.
Find out how to design free trials that actually convert in this guide to Frictionless Free Trials.
5. Work with influencers
In the subscription marketing space, leveraging influencers is a great way to reach potential customers. Influencer marketing is effective because it allows businesses to tap into an already established network of followers who trust and respect the opinion of the influencer they’re following.
Through carefully crafted campaigns, subscription-based companies can work with influencers to spread awareness about their subscription plans and services while driving conversions by encouraging users to sign up for trials or subscribe directly. Working with influential people is also a great way to build credibility and boost brand recognition in a short period of time.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your influencer marketing:
Work with influencers who have a target audience similar to your own.
Offer incentives such as discounts or exclusive offers to help influencers promote your subscription service.
Track the success of influencer campaigns, so you know what is working and what isn’t.
Learn more about working with influencers in this Influencer Marketing Guide from Hootsuite.
6. Use email campaigns
Email campaigns are an oldy but a goody when it comes to speaking directly to your subscription customers. With email marketing campaigns, you can engage with current and prospective customers in real-time, build relationships, increase customer loyalty, and ultimately boost recurring revenue.
Unlike other forms of digital marketing, with email marketing, you don’t have to worry about a major change from a tech giant interrupting your marketing efforts. That means today, and ten years from now, you should be able to use your email lists to effectively market your product and drive revenue.
To make your email campaigns as effective as possible, here are some best practices to follow:
Utilize segmentation to create targeted campaigns that speak directly to specific customers’ interests or subscription types to increase engagement rates and loyalty over time.
Create automated message sequences for onboarding new customers, responding to inquiries, and reminding users of subscription renewal deadlines.
Use creative subject lines to increase email open rates.
Keep emails out of spam folders and in front of your customer’s eyes in this Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing.
7. Engage with your customers on social media
Social media sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, are gold mines for subscription companies. Not only do they allow you to connect with millions of potential new subscribers directly, but they also help you nurture existing relationships with your current customers.
Further, if you create active communities on these platforms, you can solve customer problems, answer questions, share content, and more. All of this helps you create meaningful connections with potential customers and also gather valuable insights into customer preferences.
Here are a few tips that'll help you build your social media presence:
Utilize social media channels for sharing content with followers or targeting potential subscribers through ads
Build communities to answer questions and increase loyalty among your top users.
Share user-generated content to attract new customers and build social proof for your brand.
See how to harness the power of Facebook, Instagram, and more in this guide to Social Media Marketing.
The right message at the right time
The key to making subscription models succeed financially is to perfect your messaging so every customer sees the right message, on the right platform, at the right time. Do this, and you’ll find new users and keep older ones even longer.
One way to ensure you can consistently get your well-crafted messages in front of your customers' eyes is to start using SMS messaging. SMS marketing is perfect because people often have their phones on them at all times of the day, meaning you don’t have to worry about your messages getting lost in a spam folder or an infrequently used social media account.
Reach isn’t the only advantage SMS marketing has. Learn more about the power of SMS marketing in our guide to the many benefits of SMS marketing.