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A laptop, megaphone, and letter pouring into a funnel, resulting in cash

One of the most common questions subscription merchants have is how to convert their one-time purchasers to subscribers. Though subscriptions are common and expected for consumers, there still remains the FUD factor (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). “What if I won’t be able to cancel easily and I’m locked into a long-term commitment?” “What if I don’t like the product?”

There’s tremendous upside to conversion to subscription. Not only are subscription merchants 2—4 times more valuable than their counterparts, but they also have higher average order values (AOV), lower churn rates, and higher lifetime value (LTV).   

Create a subscription landing page

Too often, subscription businesses forget to create a subscription-specific landing page that informs customers about the value of subscribing, while also answering commonly asked questions.

Close up shot of someone typing on a laptop

It’s important to include not only your value-add messaging on this page, but also to remove roadblocks that would potentially prevent someone from coming back to you after they skip or cancel their subscription. This illuminates the low-risk opportunities for subscribers, in that they don’t have to worry about how hard it may be to cancel.

Default to subscription

In the checkout process, a great way to encourage more subscribers is to have the default option be “subscribe.” The caveat here is that this tactic must be paired with an excellent and strategic subscriber journey mapped out. If not, you increase the potential for an explosion of support tickets.

Utilizing this strategy can also help your conversion rate, in that it builds additional awareness to your subscription offering. Even if the customer ultimately toggles to a one-time purchase, they still have an active awareness of the option to subscribe if they choose to at a later date.

Illustrate the value of your subscription offering

Subscriptions can provide tremendous value to customers who take advantage of them. Whether that’s in the form of convenience, discounted pricing, early access to new products, or exclusive membership opportunities, the value to a subscriber is unmatched when compared to their counterparts. 

The value you provide to your subscribers also cultivates loyalty. You’ve invested in a long-term relationship with your customers and in doing so, are creating a two-way line of communication and engagement. 

Someone receiving a shipping box from a mail carrier

Implementing a loyalty program can also formalize that relationship by providing incentives for subscribers based on the actions they take. Perhaps it’s as easy as awarding subscribers more points per purchase than one-time purchasers, or a special gift or discount after so many renewals. Whatever way you choose to structure your loyalty program, it’s imperative that you make it social and attractive for those taking part.

Include subscription messaging in your marketing efforts

In any marketing campaign capacity, your conversion rate can very quickly help you measure the impact of your messaging and allow you to pivot as necessary to create verbiage that really speaks to your target audience. When marketing your offerings, be sure to include language that directly highlights the option to subscribe.

This can be paired with general messaging about your brand and products, or it can be a standalone message with a highly targeted group—perhaps those who have abandoned their carts. 

Make your subscribe option prominent on your website

Have you ever been to a website and browsed around later to discover there were options you didn’t even know existed? A challenge many brands face is how to get everything they want to say in a prominent place on their website without overwhelming their customers.

Instead of taking up valuable space on the homepage with subscription messaging, try including it in the navigation as a separate pathway from a one-time purchase flow. A great way to try this is via a quiz or questionnaire. Not only are you able to provide personalized recommendations for customers based on their answers, but you can also highlight the convenience and value of subscribing. 

Retarget abandoned cart users with offers

Using technology to your advantage to meet customers where they are can greatly increase your conversion rate when it comes to obtaining new subscribers. 

When customers build their first subscription box with you or add it to their cart but don’t cross over to the final purchase phase, you can use their information to send them highly-targeted and specific messaging to entice them to return. Perhaps it’s in the form of a discount for their first box—though we recommend using this sparingly as after that trial period is over, they are more likely to cancel. You can also offer a gift product or samples to include in their order if they return to help give them a little extra incentive. 

Whatever value-add you provide, it’s also important to reiterate the FAQs of subscribing with you in that abandoned cart messaging. What are the 2—3 key wins a customer would see if they subscribed with you, and what is your return and cancellation policy? Outlining those up-front can remove any last-minute doubt and push them to try it out.

Converting subscribers is a multi-faceted approach

Just as there’s no magic wand to make your business successful, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to converting one-time purchasers to subscribers. Utilizing these tactics along with others that are unique to your brand and vertical can allow you to set yourself apart from your competitors and start bringing in recurring revenue.