Tech advancements, market insights, and customer analytics mean more data than ever to inform a robust subscription strategy. But when the market begins to turn on its head, relying on the tried and tested basics of attracting, converting and retaining subscribers is key, according to crmSubscribe Founder Alan Leech.
With the changing economy, customers are being forced to cut back on discretionary spending resulting in subscription renewal rates taking a plunge. While it may feel like the time to get creative and throw everything you have at the problem, Alan suggests taking a step back and making sure you have the foundations right first.
Give your customers what they want
It’s the most basic marketing principle; give your customers a product they want at a price they like.
Rising production costs are forcing the price of subscriptions up, and a price increase is why many subscribers put off their renewal. Having a decent offer for them, that’s still sustainable for your business will help get them over the line.
This can be as simple as a 6-month versus a 12-month subscription. In the mind of the subscriber, they’re paying half as much. As the publisher, you’re still earning the same amount.
Then, you must have the tools and the marketing channels to get your offer in front of your audience in a timely fashion. Renewal reminders should be emailed or sent at an appropriate time before the subscription lapses.
Remove any barriers to subscription
Streamlined systems that take advantage of automation and make it easy for subscribers to renew and receive their content are paramount. Fewer clicks, targeted messaging, and intuitive account management tools put the subscriber in control and remove any excuses to not sign-up or renew then and there.
Keeping things simple and, you guessed it, going back to the basics facilitates quick and easy decisions from your subscribers.
Joining the crowd can work to your advantage
There’s a lot to be learnt from your industry peers. It’s also important to remember that growing the publishing industry helps us all. Everyone is trying to find ways to keep their customers engaged, so taking advantage of your competitors’ learnings, sharing your own, and engaging in tried and tested practices will help you grow.
For example, we’ve refined our processes over many years at crmSubscribe, and much of that innovation has come from our publishers saying, “It would be great if the system did X”. We will then try their idea in the field and, if it works, we roll it out to everyone.
Get the basics of your communication strategy right
A smart subscription management system will automatically employ the standard communication tools and strategies that we know work time and time again. How you ask your subscribers to renew is as important as asking them in the first place.
Take failed credit card payments, for example. With auto-renewals, it’s inevitable that your subscribers’ credit cards will expire, and payment will stall at some point. History shows that sending an email asking your subscriber to renew their subscription at this point returns roughly 15-20 per cent pick up.
Instead, sending a reminder that the payment didn’t go through and the card details need to be renewed achieves a 50-60 per cent success rate. The subtle change in language is the perfect example of the basics working to your advantage.
Alan and his team have reworked and refined the basic principles of the crmSubscribe service for over 20 years, working with hundreds of publishers and publications.