6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Subscription-Based Startup Even the smallest improvements can lead to serious compounding growth over time.

By Sujan Patel

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Do have run a subscription-based business? If so, get your to-do list ready.

As you may know, in a subscription-based business, even the smallest improvements can lead to serious compounding growth over time. So you should always be looking for ways to optimize your subscribers' experience.

Don't know where to begin? Here are six easy, actionable ideas to help you get more from your subscription business now.

1. Get insight first.

The biggest mistake subscription-based business marketers make is not learning about their subscribers by getting insights before they change anything. I know it can be exciting to jump in and make lots of changes in hopes for faster improvement, but if you don't know about your customer, how do you know what will actually improve things for them?

Related: How to Start a Subscription Box Service (Infographic)

This is why you need to collect all the information about your customers and their behaviors that you can to get the most effective results. The good news is there are plenty of easy ways to learn about your customers.

First, if you don't already have an analytics tool installed on your website, consider installing one that is made to help you understand your customer such as Kissmetrics or GoSquared. Once you've installed your analytics tool and collect some meaningful data, you'll want to find out what will improve your website.

This is easy to do with tools such as Crazy Egg's website heatmaps tool, Webengage's polls tool and Inspectlet's session recording tool that lets you watch video of your users while they on your website. If you're looking for an all-in-one customer insight tool, you can try something such as HotJar.

2. Improve each email you send, individually.

Your email marketing campaigns should keep your subscribers engaged throughout their entire lifecycle. If you want to boost conversions, take a look at the emails you send to your customers and revamp them to reach your business goals.

Can sending more emails reduce your subscription-based businesses' churn? Can a higher open rate help increase your subscription-based business upsells?

Evaluate your entire email marketing campaign -- including newsletter and lifecycle emails (the behaviorial and transactional emails you send as receipts, payment reminders, etc). Then test your email marketing to answer questions such as these and improve your overall conversions.

If you aren't sending lifecycle emails (emails that are sent based on your customer's behavior), you must start now. In fact, according to Forrester Research, trigger-based email marketing campaigns can generate four times more revenue and 18 times greater profits. With tools such as Madmimi or free lifecycle email marketing tool Autosend, there's no reason you shouldn't make more money from your email marketing.

Remember, no matter how unimportant an email in your email marketing sequence seems, look it over and see what you can test. Even something as small as a better subject line can unlock a huge growth opportunity.

3. Use text messages to drive customer loyalty.

SMS is more personal than email, so it's easy to see why they help improve customer loyalty.

Believe it or not, customers appreciate text messages from businesses. A 2014 SMS marketing survey asked 297 16- to 45-year-old Americans about their thoughts on SMS marketing and found that only 33 percent of the respondants are against receiving text messages from businesses. Even more interesting, more than 37 percent said they wouldn't mind receiveing text messages from business one to five times a week. Twenty percent said they'd like to receive text messages as often as they're helpful from businesses.

The bottomline is start texting your customers.

Related: 40 Email Subject Lines Research Shows Your Subscribers Can't Resist

I know what you're thinking. What kind of text messages can I send my customers that won't annoy them but will help me grow my business? Try sending messages for billing notifications, thank you notes, discount codes and other offers.

SMS works best for important, time-sensitive and actionable messages. Sending messages that fit this criteria can help you keep more of your customers.

4. Run tests on your pricing.

There are a lot of things you can test in your search for a better pricing model. Don't be afraid to A/B test higher prices. Discounts for annual payments and other prepayments will reduce churn and improve cash flow. Get more subscribers by accepting payments in different currencies. Overhaul your pricing page to convert better.

Small tests on your pricing can lead to big wins.

5. Create new forms of content.

Content marketing isn't just about writing articles. There are many different forms of content you can use to give new life to your content marketing plan.

Did you know that 69 percent of businesses plan to increase their content production in 2015? If you want to stand out and get results from your content marketing plan, you need to focus on creating new and unique forms of content.

Take Dollar Shave Club as an example. This subscription-based grooming service went viral because of a video they created. The good news is you do not have to create a funny viral video to change things up. But creating new forms of content can help you reach a larger audience and recapture the interest of your exisiting audience.

Don't forget to get the word out about your new content. All your efforts go down the drain if no one sees your content. The best way to get the word out is to email people about it -- particularly anyone mentioned in your content. You can do this manually or use a helpful tool such as Content Marketer to do the dirty work for you.

6. Improve your upsells and upgrades.

How many of your customers are upgrading their subscription plans? Increasing the number of upgrades helps you grow revenue with your current customers. Acquiring new customers costs more than increasing the value of the customers you already have.

To get more customers to upgrade, find out what causes customers to upgrade and use that to run tests. Send your upsell emails at different times. Optimizing upsells, such as reducing churn, will lead to a higher customer lifetime value.

What other tips would you add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below!

Related: Why the Membership Model Makes Sense

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

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