4 successful subscription businesses and what to learn from them

The popularity of subscription businesses has grown dramatically over the past few years. They have attracted 11 million subscribers in the US, while the entire industry has now been growing at 200 percent yearly. Furthermore, Stanford Business predicts that every business will soon be a subscription business. The reason for that is simple – subscription plans are highly personalized, exciting, and delightful. They increase people’s brand awareness and boost their loyalty.

Lessons we can learn from successful subscription businesses

Here are a few lessons we can learn from some of the most popular and successful subscription businesses out there.

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1. Dollar Shave Club: Emphasize brand value through exciting content

You probably remember the famous “Our blades are f***ing great” ad by Dollar Shave Club. Why did this ad go viral?

  • It states the purpose of the subscription in a fun and engaging way– you get high-quality razors at your doorstep for only $1.
  • The ad emphasizes the benefits of the product, saying that it’s so gentle a toddler can use it.
  • It is highly convincing – it encourages you to buy regular razors and start wasting money on “shaving tech you won’t use.”

They sure understand their audience and know how to entertain them.

This can be seen from the Dollar Shave Club’s website, as well.

Once you land on their homepage, you will see a clear value proposition: “Get ready to look, feel and smell your best.” Dip your toes into the Dollar Shave Club waters by paying only $5 per month. You will first get a box with trial-size items. The , choose when and how you want to get your restock box with full-sized products. You can even gift their products to your friends or send Dollar Shave Club e-gift cards.

The idea behind their marketing campaigns is simple. Joining the club is exciting, easy, affordable and, above all, it brings value to a customer.

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2. Birchbox: Build trust with subscribers

Birchbox is one of the most famous subscription businesses. Namely, they offer monthly women’s and men’s boxes for all users that subscribe to their monthly semi-annual, or annual plans. Most importantly, they incentivize their new subscribers by sending out top-quality welcome gifts. Birchbox also has an awesome loyalty program that helps you save 10% on purchases for every $1 you spend.

Once you land on the brand’s website, you will notice that they’ve optimized it to the max. First, they explain how subscriptions work using simple language and lots of visuals. Second, they have a clear and simple menu. Users can find all relevant details about products, offers, and loyalty programs. Third, the Birchbox website also includes a comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. It answers their customers’ most common questions and inspires them to subscribe faster.

Most importantly, they provide customer testimonials that build trust with their audiences and make them more relatable. Namely, recent statistics prove that over 90% of online consumers say online reviews impact their buying decisions as much as families and friends’ recommendations.

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3. FabFitFun: Help your customers save up

The popularity of FabFitFun lies in their customer-centric approach. Probably the first thing you will see once you click on their website is a highly informative popup window. It encourages you to get the box to “discover products for a life well lived.”

The website further emphasizes how FabFitFun’s boxes benefit customers. Namely, by paying $49.99 each season, you will become the club member. You’ll get premium beauty and fitness supplies valued at over $200. These significant savings are, in fact, what grabs their customers’ attention and keeps them loyal.

In addition to providing great deals and massive discounts, you should also consider tailoring your payment services to your customers’ needs. Always combine multiple billing methods to appeal to wider audiences. Set up an automated direct debit system that lets you create multiple payment plans. It provides flexible payment options for your recurring customers. This will increase their overall satisfaction with your brand and get them to convert faster.  

Most importantly, FabFitFun is all about building and growing an engaged online community. They emphasize the benefits of their loyalty programs, where customers can save up to 70 percent on exclusive sales. FabFitFun also encourage customers to join their vibrant social community and connect with other FabFitFun members, share tips, and ask questions. They even have a dedicated #fabfitfun hashtag that encourages brand awareness. It increases brand exposure in the overcrowded digital marketing landscape.

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4. Blue Apron: Encourage conversions through transparency

This is one of the most creative subscription businesses. Four times a week, they ship original recipes and fresh ingredients you will need to prepare them. Meal plans are adapted to the customer’s preferences. They can choose between 2-person and 4-person plans. They can opt for three different kinds of menus: the signature menu, the freestyle menu, and the vegetarian menu.

Blue Apron wins their customers’ hearts through utmost honesty and transparency.

  • On their website, you can find the information about their commitment to food safety, their animal welfare policy, their sustainability goals, and the way they build their food chain.
  • They also provide customers’ testimonials to gain new visitors’ trust.
  • They have a detailed FAQ section that covers all relevant questions, such as accommodating specific diets, pricing, and delivery information.
  • Blue Apron also has an amazing blog. They cover news related to their company and discuss a myriad of topics related to cooking such as how to small-dice an onion or choose the right wine.
  • They include highly informative and to-the-point call to actions (CTAs) that inspire immediate action.

What you can learn from successful subscription businesses

The number of successful subscription businesses is growing at an astonishing rate. You just need to have a unique business idea. Pick your niche on time. Build a solid plan that will back it up. Even though there is no one-size-fits-all solution to launching a subscription business, there is one thing remains the same. Always build a customer-centric brand that makes your subscribers your heroes and brings true value to them.  

This guest blog post was written by Elaine Bennett who is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she’s a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing.