Subscription Business

5 Keys to Marketing a Subscription Business

Better digital creative, better signals and better mobile experiences.

Month after month, I get to tear into a brand new box of beauty products. Groceries conveniently appear on my doorstep. And I’ve got more streaming entertainment at my fingertips than I can keep up with.

Sound familiar? It should. After all, half of online shoppers in the U.S. purchased a product or service subscription in the past year, according to a recent analysis by McKinsey.

Subscription brands offer a unique combination of discovery and surprise, ongoing value and community. But it is a competitive and increasingly crowded landscape, so how should they go to market in order to succeed and grow?

At Facebook, we work with brands like these every day and together we’re learning more and more about the most effective ways to acquire and retain subscription customers, with better digital creative, better signals, and better mobile experiences.

Here are our top five learnings:

1. Understand your customer’s end-to-end journey 

A siloed concentration on individual touchpoints can distract from the big picture: your customer’s end-to-end journey.

To build meaningful experiences, routinely put yourself in your customers’ shoes and spend time interacting with your brand across every stage, device and channel. How does one move from discovery to consideration to signup to maintaining a subscription? Success starts with a deep understanding of the entire journey.

2. Move your customers through the journey

Map your understanding of the customer journey to the right targeting segments, creative formats and measurement strategies. Help them move through the process with an always-on approach, reaching different people with different messages at all stages.

For example, to drive people from discovery to interest, consider broad targeting and actionable formats like Lead Ads. To facilitate consideration, target people who have shown interest in your service or similar services, and choose formats that curate intent, such as Collection ads.

Here’s a quick pro tip: If you have implemented the Facebook Pixel/SDK, we recently launched custom events that help you understand the customer journey for subscriptions, including Subscribe, Start Trial, Take Survey and Customize Product.

3. Optimize creative assets for mobile 

The majority of web traffic across industries is mobile, not desktop. Building creative for mobile is a must.

What does that mean? Cover the basics. On mobile, you need to capture attention quickly. Always design for sound-off viewing. Frame your visual story with mobile in mind (e.g., try vertical video). And play with rhythm, speed, duration and sound.

Subscriptions appeal to different people in different ways for different reasons, so creative strategy also needs to go beyond one-size-fits-all messaging. Remember: Right message, right time, right device.

4. Deliver a seamless shopping experience

Making the most of mobile requires a seamless experience, from the first tap through to purchase.

Start by mastering mobile landing pages: Landing pages act as the bridge between discovery and purchase. When evaluating yours, consider the “three Cs”: Consistency between ad and landing page; content that is optimized for the mobile screen; and call-to-action buttons that inspire action.

Embrace the need for speed. An Aberdeen study found that 40 percent of consumers abandon a site after 3 seconds of delay. Akamai found that each 100 millisecond lag in load time could hurt mobile conversion rates by 7 percent. Build a fast-loading mobile website to help create a positive experience and avoid driving interested customers to drop-off.

Finally, reduce friction on mobile. Some companies force customers to endure up to 15 taps or steps to subscribe; the best have slashed that to just a few. For starters, try leveraging auto-fill, integrating a Facebook Connect sign-in option and providing a range of digital payment options to expedite checkout.

5. Keep customers coming back

With high churn rates to contend with, subscription marketers need to think differently than traditional brands.

In addition to evaluating and improving people’s experiences with the product, establishing strong retention demands that brands quickly retarget potential and current subscribers with relevant ads. Find ways to show them what products they’ve previously engaged with or ones that are related to their personal needs (e.g., an existing TV series in a genre they’ve shown interest in). Educate them on additional perks of their subscription package. Make use of contextually relevant landing pages.

Measures such as these increase the likelihood of retaining subscribers and are vital to sustained success.

By: Adweek

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