The road to conversion is not straight. There are multiple distractions, hurdles and confusions for the consumer along the way. Your job as a business is to make sure that you make the road to conversion as easy to navigate as possible so that with your help your prospects can become your customers.
And, as you might have guessed already, in order to do that you need marketing.
But which aspect of marketing? Content, email, social media, SEO or perhaps influencer?
It is true that there are multiple avenues you can take when it comes to marketing, but the basics remain the same.
In the beginning it is also advisable to direct your marketing efforts towards a few selected areas. So what are these areas?
As a newly setup subscription business you ideally want to generate traffic to your website and drive conversions.
Therefore your marketing strategy is going to revolve around these three pillars:
- Getting prospects to your website that is strategies revolving around generating website traffic via social media channels, email lists, organic search, paid ads.
- Making sure your visitors stay on your website that is strategies revolving around user journey, UI/UX, website experience, content etc.
- And lastly convincing visitors to make a purchase that is strategies around conversion.
Here’s an overview of an effective marketing plan that revolves around the above mentioned pillars.
1. Getting prospects to your website
Generating website traffic is crucial for any subscription-based ecommerce business looking to increase sales and revenue. There are several strategies that businesses can use to attract visitors to their website and turn them into customers.
- Send your social media followers to your website.
For example, Swapfiets, a bike subscription company, uses its social media channels to send traffic to their website.
- Send your email subscribers to your website.
- Generate organic traffic through SEO and add relevant keywords to your website.
Swapfiets, for example, had created landing pages based on the city they are active in and can therefore generate very targetted organic traffic.
Learn more about SEO for subscription business.
- Invest in paid ads to generate leads through paid sources.
Grover for example is targeting keywords related to their product and industry to generate paid traffic.
2. Making visitors stay
With new websites it may be difficult to look at website metrics such as bounce rates, exit rates, average duration and so on.
However if you know that you’ve invested a good amount of resources into generating traffic on your website and do not see that traffic translating into sales, this might be an indication towards the website design, content and/or user experience.
But improving your website experience should be an overall goal and shouldnt necessarily be a a result of higher bounce or exit rates.
A huge part of conversions is the experience your visitors have on your website and the content they engage with that conveniences them on finialising the purchase.
Here are a few things you can try to improve the experience of a a user on your website:
- Include an FAQ section on your website.
Feather. A furniture-as-a-service company, has added a FAQ page on their website to answer some of the most common questions by prospects and consumers.
- Engage your customers by giving them something to engage with such as subscription duration, product variants etc. The more the visitor engages with the product page the more likely they will be to purchase.
Dance, an e-bike subscription company, has designed the product page in a way that images the visitor to play around with different options and spend more time on the website. Visitors actively choose an option that makes them think about their needs and encourages them to engage with their brand. Instead of just reading information, visitors can click around and see how the different option changes the price and the features.
- Add user generated content on your website such as testimonials, stories from your existing customers etc.
There are many benefits of promoting user-generated content. Firstly you give your customers the possibility to further engage with your brand and stay connected to it. Secondly it creates a sense of community. However, in order to generate user-generated content you need to offer your customers a reason to share how they use the product in the form of pictures, videos hashtags etc.
- Make sure your content highlights the value your products bring. People often weigh the value againist the price and are quick to calculate what subscripting would cost them in comparison to purchasing the product. They will only go with the subscription, if the perceived value is higher. Focus on creating value and highlighting value in your marketing communication across channels.
For example, Swapfiets highlights free delivery and bike service on their homepage because the logistics and service of bikes are, perhaps, important considerations for people who rent bikes on a subscription basis.
Therefore the promise of an always working bike, may seem appealing to people even if the cost of the subscription may be more than the cost of purchase in the long run.
Car subscription companies, for example, highlight an “all inclusive service”
- If it makes sense show the experience for using the product on every page except the product overview page. Yyour customers should be able to imagine themselves using the product in their life based on what you show them.
3. Convincing visitors to make a purchase
Ideally your content on your website should be convincing enough to convert a visitor into a customer. However some visitor need an extra push.
- Referral programs
Promotional and referral campaigns can be useful to drive conversions. You can use promotional discounts that encourages a visitor towards purchase.
Grover for example, uses a refer a friend referral program to encourage existing customers to invite their friends and family to Grover in exchange for some benefits.
Referral programs have become a popular way for subscription businesses to attract new customers and retain existing ones. These programs incentivise current customers to refer their friends and family to the business in exchange for rewards or discounts.
- Eliminate any prices surprises on the checkout page
According to the Baymard Institute, the shopping cart abandonment rate is as high as 69.8%, and 49% of consumers cite extra costs as the main reason for cart abandonment.
Up until the checkout page, online shopping feels like an experience that most customers enjoy as there is no disruption and no pressure to make a decision. However, customers feel a disconnect between the cart and checkout when they reach the checkout page, mainly due to the price change.
Now, this is not the fault of the vendor/seller but just how the customer journey is designed. If you have a product that lets the customer customise it and add different options, then the total payable price will change if the options selected by the customer have price implications.
Include options that have price implications already on the product page so that the visitor can play around with the different options and see how it impacts the overall price.
When visitors can play around with the different options and see how the price changes as per their selection, they no longer feel a disconnect between the cart and the checkout.
The need to go to the checkout price to see the final price is made redundant when customers can see the price change beforehand.
For subscription products, multiple options can change the overall price, and to lower cart abandonment, it's crucial that the visitor is not met with these surprises on the checkout page.
In the example from Dance, the overall price changes with the product and the subscription type. As the visitor selects a different option, the price changes at the bottom of the page to ensure that the visitor is not met with any surprises.
Image 1: Price change with product change
Image 2: Price change with subscription type
Note how the option “pick your add-ons” state whether the option has a price attached to it or is free.
- Align your communication and messaging to your target audience - when defining your target audience, typically it is common to define the age, gender, income etc. If you know that your target customers consists of people who are between the age of 20-30 and have not accumulated huge savings yet then the monetary aspect of subscribing to your products is something you should highlight in your conetnt.
Similarly if oyur target audience consiists of people between the age group from 34-44, money may not be an issue but time can be. Subscriptions can seem to be attractive due to the low level of commitment to the product.
Consumers do not need to know a lot about the product and have the possibility to return the product if it does not fit their need,
A lot of consumer groups are putting importance on having a meaningful relationship with the company. They want to know what company they are attached to.
- Consider influencer marketing - influencer marketing has been on the rise since a few years now and is known to yield positive results.
When done correctly, influencer marketing can be an effective way for companies to reach new audiences and increase their brand awareness. Influencers have built trust with their followers, and their recommendations can carry a lot of weight. By partnering with the right influencers, companies can tap into their audience and drive sales.
In fact, a survey by Influencer Marketing Hub found that 89% of marketers believe influencer marketing can increase sales and 63% of consumers have made a purchase after seeing an influencer's recommendation.
However, it's important for companies to choose the right influencers to work with and ensure that the influencer's values align with their brand. Additionally, it's important to track and measure the success of influencer campaigns to ensure a positive return on investment.