Dose #109: Tactics to Convert More Subscribers

Two things you can do to get more subscribers

Matt here with your weekly Subscription Prescription 💊

This week, we cover two things that I don’t see happening enough to boost subscriber acquisition. The first is better design, with contrasting options between ‘one-time’ and ‘subscribe and save.’ The second is not defaulting to the subscribe and save option. In this week’s dose, I share some great design examples and make the case for how you can be more successful at converting subscribers.

This week’s dose includes an interview with Aaron Argueta, the cofounder of Bailey’s CBD. Get links to the interview at the bottom of this newsletter.

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Retaining subscribers is great, but to become a killer subscription brand you need to acquire new subscribers.

How to do so is the question at the heart of every brand. When you start to find success, growth comes, and retention becomes even more important.

In this week’s dose, I want to focus on two things I advise all the brands I work with to improve subscription conversions. You’ll see a few visual examples, because that’s some of what you need to make this work.

Design Improvements on Your PDP

In past doses and a lot of my social media content I talk about the offer. This is what people buy, what they pay, and how you can improve it to make it a no-brainer for potential subscribers.

While that is still something you should work on, and you can read specific tips for that in this past dose, this bit of advice is all about how you position what you’re selling.

The subscription option needs to be incredibly clear for people to see the value difference. When I see product pages that don’t do this well, it’s no surprise they struggle to convert subscribers.

In this example, pulled from a growing brand here in Utah, if you look closely you can see a price difference on the two options. But that’s it. What’s worse is that the color highlights the selection, so you have nothing to draw attention to the subscription discount.

Let’s look instead of two examples from product pages I love.

Obvi does several things well here. First, they default to the Subscribe & Save option (more on this below). Second, they have the discount amount (15%) in the option to subscribe & save. Finally, the text is highlighted pink so it contracts strongly with the one-time purchase price.

This one from Flaus is my favorite PDP for a subs offer right now. Take a look and let’s break it down.

First, I love the list of “Includes” and the checkmarks highlighting what the product gives you. This spells out just what you’re getting for your money.

Second, Flaus put some effort into a Subscribe and Save option so that it is much more than just a line of text. You see the “Free Shipping + 20% off” button right next to the option. “Most Popular” also highlights that option.

Third, the prices have clear strike throughs to show value.

Finally, you see the “90 floss heads delivered every 3 months for $15 (that’s 17 cents a day). Putting that price breakdown so clearly makes it feel obvious for anyone that thinks flossing better is worth $0.17 a day!

Making the option clear to see, eye-catching, highlighting benefits and what’s most - contrasting pricing, is the key to increasing subscription conversions.

Default to the Subscribe and Save Option

This one is a bit controversial, but bear with me for the argument. I know brands have tried this in the past, so I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but I have seen it be a total game-changer when done well.

The two examples I showed above both default to the subscribe and save option. Brands that complain about this strategy mention an increase in chargebacks, customer support tickets, and generally overall negative attitude from customers.

I haven’t seen their data, but I will point out two things to consider when making this decision.

First, from a design perspective, you should make it abundantly clear that this is the subscribe and save option (like the examples above). Shopify even requires people to check a box at checkout that they understand they have a subscription. But making it very clear will reduce people feeling like they were tricked.

Second, if you could triple your monthly subscribers but only see a 50% increase in support tickets, would you do it? Most businesses would say yes.

At the end of the day, those are the types of results I’ve seen. 2x, 3, and even 4x increases in the amount of subscription conversions. It’s nuts.

If you want to read more about the psychology behind why this approach works and dive deeper into how to do it well, please check out this past subscription dose.

Final Thoughts

No one thing done in a vacuum will completely transform your business. But when you default to the subscription offer and invest in better design, you can see dramatic changes in subscriber acquisition. Keep in mind that people need to see and understand at a glance what they’re getting on a subscription.

Put some effort into better design to acquire more subscribers!

That’s it for this week! Stay tuned for next week’s dose out on Tuesday.

 - Matt Holman 🩺

The Subscription Doc

This week’s dose is one you need to follow along with: