Dose #112: Subscription Pet Peeves

Make These Changes Today

Matt here with your weekly Subscription Prescription 💊

This week’s dose is all about the little things brands get wrong on subscriptions. These are simple things, but getting them right can make managing subscriptions a lot easier. We walk through different subscription touchpoints so you can see some great places to improve.

If you’d prefer to listen or watch me rattle off the places brands can make simple improvements to subscriptions, you can here:

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Pet Peeves in Subscription Management

Today’s dose is a dive into common pitfalls I see brands make. Talking to hundreds of brands, these are some of the first things I point out.

Consider it like a doctor's advice—highlighting what's unhealthy and pointing out the positives and areas for improvement.

1. Neglecting Customer Quizzes

Brands that don’t utilize quizzes are missing out. Quizzes help in understanding customer needs, from protein powders to sleep supplements. To maximize their effectiveness:

  • Ask Detailed Questions: Beyond basics, delve into personal experiences with similar products.

  • Educate Along the Way: Provide informative content through each step, explaining the benefits related to their responses.

2. Underutilized Product Pages

A well-designed product page without sufficient subscription-focused content is a missed opportunity. Here’s what you can do:

  • Invest in Quality Copy: Highlight the long-term benefits and regular usage scenarios for your subscription products.

  • Default to Subscribe and Save: Although controversial, this often results in higher subscription rates. Just ensure it’s clear that it’s a subscription option.

3. Insufficient Post-Purchase Surveys

Most brands ask where customers heard about them but miss deeper insights. Essential questions include:

  • Purchase Motivation: Understand what prompted the purchase—was it a discount, bundle, or compelling copy?

  • Use Case: Ask how they plan to use the product to gather valuable data for improving retention strategies.

4. Inadequate Welcome Emails

Your welcome email sequence should go beyond order confirmations and tracking updates. Initial product adoption is one of the best ways to improve retention; using emails right away can help. Suggestions include:

  • Dedicated Subscriber Emails: Tailor content specifically for subscribers, emphasizing subscription management, perks, and product benefits.

  • Engaging Content: Share founder stories, product details, and related content like recipes or usage tips. Sharing success stories from other customers is a great idea too.

5. Ineffective Unboxing Experiences

An unboxing should focus on creating a successful initial interaction. Instead of just brand promotion, consider:

  • Guided Usage: Offer detailed instructions or tips for the first use of the product.

  • Value-Added Content: Include recipes, usage guides, or community highlights related to your product.

6. Overwhelming Cancellation Surveys

While gathering feedback is crucial, overly detailed cancellation surveys can be counterproductive. Simplify by:

  • Fewer Options: Limit to the most common reasons for cancellation. Rely on “Other” to collect random or little-selected options.

  • Detailed Follow-Ups: For specific issues like "too much product," differentiate between over-ordering and non-usage for better-targeted solutions.

7. Misunderstanding Contribution Margin

Understanding your contribution margin per subscriber is vital. This should guide your decisions on product offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies to ensure profitability.

While some software can make this easier, you can use Excel to calculate this.

8. Mindset Shift: Focus on Empowering Subscribers

Rather than stressing over churn, think about how to delight your best customers. Questions to consider:

  • Upsell Opportunities: What additional products can you offer to your loyal subscribers?

  • Enhanced Control: How can you improve the subscription management experience?

The goal of a great subscription programs is create a program your best customers love. Focusing on making that happen will solve a lot of other retention problems.

Final Thoughts

Focusing on these areas can turn common pitfalls into opportunities for growth and retention. Empowering subscribers and understanding their needs will drive your subscription business forward.

That’s it for this week! Stay tuned for next dose #113 out next Tuesday.

 - Matt Holman 🩺

The Subscription Doc