The subscription businesses are thriving today, and while it might seem like a relatively small niche or an uncertain business model, the numbers speak for themselves – the global e-commerce subscription market size is expected to reach $904.28 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65.67%.
One of the most influential factors here at play is the coronavirus pandemic that has led to increased demand for the opportunity to get desired products delivered at one’s doorstep, eliminating the need to leave their house or come into contact with anyone. Addressing this need helped many businesses stabilize their output and stay afloat during these turbulent times.
Furthermore, the recurring nature of a subscription business model allows customers to save time and energy when it comes to getting products they need on a regular basis (i.e., essentials) while also enabling businesses to build a steady stream of revenue.
However, whether you’re planning to start your own subscription-based business from scratch or considering adding subscription items to your existing business’s offer, one thing to remember is that your customer acquisition and retention, as well as marketing efforts, will differ from those of regular, one-time purchases.
Join us as we go through the most practical ways to acquire new customers for your subscription business – only then will you be able to market your products effectively.
Build Your Own Newsletter
This is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have at your disposal. By leveraging a newsletter, you can control the narrative and talk about your business on your own terms while also collecting customer data that can be used for nurturing your prospects and, ultimately, turning them into paying customers.
This approach can take some time to gain traction, but it will definitely help you build authority and expand your customer base. What’s more, once you’ve built a subscribers’ list, you can announce new product releases, offer exclusive discounts, or provide behind-the-scenes information on how your business works. Reaching out to subscribers directly through the newsletter without having to rely on a third-party platform also helps them feel closer to your brand and builds trust.
Besides, working with a marketing automation agency and implementing email marketing software into your workflow will make your newsletter campaigns more manageable, allowing you to track and analyze which emails worked and which ones still need tweaking. This way, you get valuable insights into what your prospects are expecting from your products and a better understanding of how you can personalize your offers to them.
Now, here are a few critical things you must keep in mind when building a newsletter:
- Don’t overdo it – send out emails only when you have something valuable to say.
- Make sure your subject lines are attention-grabbing and that your email design is responsive (i.e., mobile-friendly) since the majority of people open emails on their phones.
- Include a strong CTA (call-to-action) so that your subscribers know what you want them to do next, such as signing up for your subscription service.
Get Active on Social Media
In this day and age, social media is one of the most powerful channels for promoting your business and building a relationship with your target audience. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer a variety of features and tools you can use to reach out to potential customers and create a strong social media presence for your brand.
First and foremost, it’s important to choose the right platform(s) for your business. Not all social media networks are created equal, and while some might be more popular in general, they might not necessarily be the best fit for your particular industry or target audience. For example, if you’re selling products that are visually appealing, such as clothes, jewelry, or cosmetics, then Instagram would be a better choice than LinkedIn.
Once you’ve figured out which platform(s) to focus on, it’s time to start creating relevant, corresponding content. The type of content you post will depend on the platform you’re using – while images and videos perform well on Instagram and Facebook, Twitter is better for short announcements and updates.
What’s more, social media platforms like Instagram offer features that allow you to create shoppable posts, making it easier for people to sign up for your subscription service without having to leave the app. Therefore, if you’re not using social media to promote your subscription business yet, now is the time to start – just remember to create engaging ad copy and visuals that will grab people’s attention and make them want to learn more about your business.
Create Educational Yet Engaging Content
Speaking of content creation, it’s imperative that you put in work to come up with content that is both valuable to your target audience and helps you position yourself as an expert in your industry, as this can lead to increased brand awareness and, therefore, conversions.
No matter what kind of content you’re posting – blog posts, articles, guides, infographics, or even podcasts, make sure it’s helpful, relevant, but also engaging. For example, if you’re running a monthly dog food subscription service, you can write weekly blog posts about pet nutrition, share infographics with fun facts about different breeds, or even create videos showing how to make homemade dog treats.
On the other hand, if you are running a consulting business, you might want to publish reports about the trends in the industry or interview finance gurus. If your audience comes from all parts of the world, you might want to find professionals who would take care of the financial translations so that the findings are easily comprehensible.
When developing your content strategy, make sure to follow several simple yet invaluable guidelines:
- Do your research and write about trending topics that are relevant to your industry and address your potential customers’ needs and pain points.
- Keep your writing style clear, concise, and easy to understand.
- Include images, charts, videos, or infographics to break up the text and make your content more visually appealing and easier to navigate through.
- Optimize your content for search engines by using the right keywords but avoid keyword stuffing.
Provide Offers They Can’t Refuse
In order to acquire new customers, you need to give them a solid, irresistible reason to sign up for your subscription service – this is where special offers and deals come in handy, providing an incentive for people to try out your products.
Some of the most valuable (customer-wise) options you can offer to win over more customers:
- discount on the first subscription order,
- discount on subsequent purchases,
- free shipping on orders over a certain amount,
- the free trial period,
- free surprise item or product sample.
Just make sure that your offer is clearly stated on your website and in your marketing materials (e.g., your newsletter) to let people know what they’re getting when they sign up for your service.
Moreover, it’s important to time your offers correctly so that you don’t end up discounting your products too early on and devaluing your brand in the process. For instance, you can launch a special offer when you first start your subscription business to generate buzz and attract new customers. Giving out free product samples to introduce more products from your offer to your customers can be the best option in this case.
Alternatively, you can also run seasonal promotions or create limited-time offers for special occasions, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
The key is to experiment and see what works best for your business while also making sure that your offers are in line with your overall marketing strategy.
Create Affiliate Programs
Affiliate programs are a great way to acquire new customers as they provide an incentive for people to promote your products while also allowing you to track where your sales are coming from through special referral links.
Essentially, an affiliate program is a type of partnership between two parties in which the merchant agrees to pay the affiliate a commission for referring customers to its products or services. This commission can be a percentage of the total purchase price or a fixed amount, and it’s generally paid only when the referred customer makes a purchase.
That being said, you can’t overestimate the importance of choosing the right partners to work with. For instance, if you’re offering beauty boxes, it would make sense to partner with a blog or website that covers topics related to your niches, such as fashion, beauty, or lifestyle, as their audience is likely to be interested in your products.
Collaborate with Influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies today, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, people are more likely to trust someone they know and follow online than they are to trust a new, unfamiliar brand. Moreover, working with influencers can be an effective way to reach out to a wider audience.
The key is to find influencers who are relevant to your niche and have a large and engaged following base. For example, if you’re running a subscription-based wellness business, you can collaborate with yoga instructors, health coaches, or even mom bloggers.
There are a few different ways you can work with influencers, such as partnering on giveaways or contests, sending them your products to try out and review, or even sponsoring their content. From this point of view, creating affiliate programs is also a great way to delegate a part of the content creation process to someone outside of your company.
However, make sure to do your research first and collaborate only with those influencers who align with your brand’s values so that their endorsement feels genuine.
The Bottom Line
The subscription business model is definitely on the rise, but that doesn’t mean that acquiring new customers for your subscription business will be a walk in the park. In order to succeed in this competitive landscape, you need to invest time and effort into building a strong marketing strategy that will help you reach out to your target audience and promote your products effectively.
The tips we’ve covered in this article should give you a good starting point, but feel free to experiment and find what works best for your business. After all, the most important thing is to be flexible and adjust your marketing efforts until you find the right formula for success for your particular business niche. Good luck and happy converting!