This podcast will help you attract new subscriber members, keep them longer and grow a vibrant tribe.
• You’ll learn easy-to-implement shortcuts for fast membership and subscription growth.
• You’ll discover how to get more new members to join and what to deliver that improves membership retention and creates membership growth.
• You’ll discover the best membership practices, proven retention strategies and unique insight into the membership and subscription economy from some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the subscription economy and membership economy, including specialized information publishers, associations, subscription boxes, digital subscriptions, SaaS, loyalty programs and more.
Our mission is to serve you with the most current and useful information available. Your host, Robert Skrob, has been growing membership groups for over 20 years. Robert has been sought after by billion-dollar businesses for his membership training, content creation, and for speaking engagements. He has successfully helped clients improve their onboarding and retention rates in various membership industries on five continents. Robert is a membership retention expert, consultant, speaker, and content creation coach, as well as an author of 5 books on marketing published by Entrepreneur Press.
Subscription Box Retention by FabFitFun - What Your Members Really Want Each Month
Most subscription companies think if they just increase the value they deliver to their members, that retention will improve. While adequate value is crucial, delivering more value does nothing to increase retention.
Instead, you grow your community, create engagement and build the value of what you're delivering and show the customer how what you're delivering solves problems. Then show them how they can use it in their life and how they can get tremendous value. It's not about the product you're delivering, you must demonstrate how to use you're the product you are delivering to improve or solve problems in your members' lives.
There are a lot of great insights in today's episode with my guest Leslie Emmons Burthey, VP of Marketing for the successful subscription box, FabFitFun. A subscription box with a great retention rate, even though it's one of the premium priced offerings within the subscription box niche, thought by many, to be dominated by discount offers.
It's Not About What You Deliver, It's How What You Deliver Impacts Your Subscriber's Life
One of the things that sets FabFitFun boxes apart from their competition in the luxury subscription box business, is the multi-page, color magazine insert that tells the story of each product. Customers can see the time and thought that goes in to each product that is included in the box.
The magazine also gives information on how to use the products. While the monetary value of each product is important, teaching the customer how to use the product in their life is what makes it valuable. Leslie says, "Really to understand the product we want you to know why we chose that product and how we think that that product is going to enhance your life. "
The magazine also highlights customer experiences with products and often tells the stories of the buyer, delivers announcements, enhances the customers knowledge of each product and how to use it in their lives.
A Community Generates Retention without Increasing Fulfillment Costs
Leslie says, at FabFitFun, "It's not just about the physical product, it's also about the community you build. "Customer Forums give people a place to give feedback about the products, share comments, personal stories, and interact on a deeper level. There have even been personal meet ups and spin-off communities in some of these forums.
When customers have relationships with other members, their loyalty extends well beyond the products they receive each month. They don't want to leave because they'll lose the relationships, and your member satisfaction and enthusiasm remains high.
Deliver More of the Value Your Customers Want
FabFitFun looks for new ways to engage customers and add value beyond the products inside the box. Their TV channel has fitness classes and soon will be launching a food show, more benefits of membership, that don't fit into a box.
A robust referral program also helps bring in new subscribers. The most recent box was a contest for videos and getting subscribers engaged by promoting the box out to their list and contacts. "People love sharing things that they love with other people, and so having a contest was just a fun way to take the behavior that was already going on and tell our members: We see you. We appreciate you. We would love to interact with you and make this fun and exciting."
I hope you find the full interview with Leslie as fascinating as I did! I think we all can learn from her how build community with our customers, add value to your subscribers, and think beyond the box for creative ways to keep people happy and continue subscribing.
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Subscription Box Secrets to Growing Monthly Recurring Revenue
Thousands of new subscription boxes have launched in the last two years; however, only a few have reached one thousand subscribers. Sadly, many failed boxes did manage to grow to 10,000 or even 50,000 subscribers initially. What are the differences between the subscription boxes that grow versus the ones that never launch or those that stall? This answer can help you grow any subscription business to generate steady monthly recurring revenue.
Stefan Pretty runs a software platform for subscription boxes called, Subbly. Thousands of boxes are managed with his software, and he has access to their proprietary numbers.
I asked Stefan what the difference is between subscriptions that grow within a few months from the ones that never seem to get off the ground?
Decision Drives Success
He said, "People who tend to actually succeed in gaining traction quickly, are the ones who, either have a: experience, or b: sheer determination." It takes tremendous drive to stay focused on what customers want and need, and are willing to pay for.
Businesses who don't succeed often over-focus on the wrong things or lose sight of customer satisfaction along the way. Maintaining a subscription base requires constant engagement with the customer.
Make All of Your Marketing More Effective
Stefan says, start by identifying your ideal customer: "The first thing is, figure out who you're selling to, and then once you know who you're selling to, offer them the opportunity to buy it, and keep tweaking it until it is exactly what they want."
Once you identify your customer, make it easy for customers to give you feedback. Be willing to change based on their comments. They may want something entirely different than you expect. It doesn't matter what you think they want, "At the end of the day, your customer is your product."
Retention is the Key to Subscription Growth
Ultimately, " It's the perceived value of the items in the box that's really important." Constantly ask yourself, "How can we add more value?" People love the element of surprise that comes with receiving a subscription box. It's the "hook" that keeps them coming back for more.
Once they are hooked on your subscription, keep them satisfied with excellent customer service and communication. Make sure every aspect of your subscription, from delivery, to marketing, to billing, aligns with your customer's desires and expectations. Excellence in all aspects of the subscription is essential to retaining customers and boosting revenue.
To learn more about how to deliver benefits members want and will pay for, listen to the full interview with Stefan on the Membership and Subscription Growth podcast.
How to Compete and Win Against the Biggest Publishers in the World
Do you find yourself competing for subscribers against free or low-priced content?
What if you had to compete against the Wall Street Journal, Investors Daily, Financial Times, Barron’s, MSNBC, Yahoo Finance and thousands of other paid and free resources. Dan Fink, managing director of Money-Media, offers innovative solutions and lessons learned from his years of competing against some of the biggest publishers in the world, and winning.
I recently interviewed Dan for my Membership and Subscription Growth podcast. In a world where everyone is playing on the same connected stage, Dan can show you how to compete (and win) against the biggest publishers in the world.
Create a Quality PublicationDan says the first step is to “Make sure you have a product concept, a market, an audience that you can serve really well.” Forbes and other financial publications are essentially marketing to the same consumers, but Money-Media distinguishes itself by targeting a specific audience and offering content that is not easily available anywhere else.
Money-Media also invests heavily in the staff and technology to create a quality publication: “We have just really smart journalists and editors that produce really good content. And we invest in the technology that delivers it. Whether it’s through company websites, mobile and tablet apps, RSS feeds, or CRM integration, “however people want to consume our information, we want to make it available in all those channels.”
The Decision Maker May NOT Be the Person with the Biggest TitleOne of the challenges in subscription sales is getting your product to the person or people that have the money and the authority to make the decision. Dan’s team learned over the years that most corporate boards have a specific liaison within the company who control the majority of the communications that goes out to the board. The board will usually reach a decision by consensus, so the old sales question “Who makes the decision” is not really relevant.
Instead, ask your lead contact if they would like a personal free trial subscription. Once the publication is in the hands of this person acting as “gatekeeper” for board communications, the content should sell itself. When the trial is over, Money-Market converts these free subscription l to sales by only offering licenses to corporations – not individuals. This motivates the gatekeeper to reach out personally to the people who make the decision and have the budget to purchase subscriptions.
Monitor Subscriber EngagementCustomer service is key to retaining subscribers. Money-Market uses a number of monitoring system to make sure clients are receiving their subscriptions. Dan says, “There's all sorts of things that happen along the way, so we have a number of sort of digital and human monitors in place making sure that we're always able to deliver and they're always actually receiving in the end.”
“It's really about having a 365-day mentality that if you're going to try and renew these people a year later, your job starts in day one to make sure that they have a good experience all year long. And then the pressure's off when renewal time comes.
Find out more about Money-Market’s products at money-media.com. You can find information there on each publication and link through to a free trial. Listen to the full interview with Dan on the Membership and Subscription Growth podcast.
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How to Create Great Content That Your Subscribers Want and Will Pay For
The real money in a subscription business is not in getting new subscribers, it is in keeping them and increasing their value. They might visit if your sales process is good, but they’ll only stay if your content is truly engaging and you are communicating with them in an entertaining and engaging way.
Jim Sinkinson founded Infocom Group in 1980 and sold it in 2015. The company produced online data services, newsletters, webinars, books, special reports, ad-based media, live professional development conferences and seminars for the PR/corporate communications market.
Jim knows exactly what to create in order to get your members to be engaged in your product – and keep paying for it. He’s been teaching this to editors and content creators for decades, both within his own business, and within his consulting work.
I recently interviewed Jim for my Membership and Subscription Growth podcast. In a world of free information and lead generators, Jim can show you how to create the content your subscribers are craving, and are willing to pay for.
Compelling Content is Key
Jim says: “content is a key to many membership experiences.” People join for the content that you provide. That content could be in a newsletter. It could be a chat group, or at a conference or coaching program.
It’s a challenge to create content worthy of a high membership price and a long-term relationship. Many organizations don’t spend equivalent energy, time and money on improving the quality of the information or the content that they are providing to subscribers or members.
Today, we’ve got this content marketing industrial complex that’s teaching folks how to churn out content for free in order to try to generate leads and attract customers, and position marketers as experts. Yet, there are all these publishers and associations out there trying to sell access to their content.
As Jim Sinkinson said, “Expertise isn’t what folks want and will pay for. Instead, it is change, benefits, impact on their lives.”
Connect the Promise to the Content
While it’s never been easier to reach customers, and grow your business on a global scale, hiring great writers doesn’t guarantee great content or great results.
Often, content creators are separated from the rest of the operation. The challenge is to get both the marketing team and the content creators together to agree on what promise is being offered to the consumer. Most writers, editors, or conference organizers just don’t realize that their job is to sell the subscriber on a transformative experience.
“Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that even though I’m dealing with extremely intelligent people, very capable people, and highly motivated people, just to tell them how to do it, and even leave them with a set of rules for how to do it, is not enough to transform them into brilliant copywriters, or into content providers who can think this way. It is a matter of consciousness.”
Marketing can sell all it wants, but if the content doesn’t match the promise, you have a problem. Bridge that gap by bringing those two teams together and getting them to agree on what the job is.
Create a Transformative Experience
Jim says, “It’s not enough just to deliver information, the draw is what accessing this content can do for them.” Knowledge alone doesn’t change anything.
“What we want to do is, not to focus on the knowledge that we’re giving somebody, but what the knowledge can do for them, that is the benefit.” Just buying the product once is not enough – they have to use it or they will not see the value of an ongoing relationship.
Keep in contact regular contact with customers. Highlight what they can do with the knowledge you are providing. Give them case studies that allow them to see the impact your strategies can have in their lives.
Yours FREE. Three Decades and Several Billions of Dollars of Subscription Revenue Growth Secrets
When you are delivering subscriptions to hundreds of thousands of customers for more than three decades you develop a profound understanding of how to attract, retain and increase the value of your subscribers. Although he became president and COO of Guthy-Renker, that has at least one billion-dollar subscription product, Proactiv, Georg Richter began his career with Double Day Book Clubs, then BMG music club before today, the CEO and founder of OceanX.
Georg has been an executive at the highest levels of some of the largest, fastest-growing subscription businesses for the last three decades. And, for you, he reveals the biggest subscription mistakes to avoid, how to deliver value subscribers will eagerly pay to receive, and the single most effective strategy in jump-starting membership growth after it has plateaued.
How would you like to sit down with a subscription marketing master to learn how to grow your recurring revenue? Well, today is your lucky day.
Are You Making Any of These Common Subscription Mistakes?1. Choosing the wrong product
Too many subscription businesses are starting up with great enthusiasm and fading away faster than they started. To secure a good start, one of the first things to do is study the market. Find an area in the market, a niche, that has isn’t currently being served.
2. Failing to secure enough funds on the front-end
Even though the wonderful byproduct of the subscription model is recurring revenue, you need to have a source of funds to get things started. You will have testing and development costs, shipping costs, marketing costs, etc. that will start before your first month of recurring revenue comes in. “The most important thing to understand is, it needs money, it needs upfront investment, it needs careful planning,” advises Georg.
3. Investing funds in incorrect proportion for growth
You need to be liberal with your media promotions and conservative with inventory orders.
With all of the digital marketing opportunities available today, you should be experimenting with as many as possible to see what works best for your target audience – interactive websites, social media, blogging, videos, and influencer marketing are just a few of the many resources available. Georg shares, “One of the mistakes I see is that people don't plan for any media spending. They have a lot of passion around the product, they just want to start it, but then they have not enough money to promote it. That's a mistake.”
And for inventory, Georg advises against getting carried away. “People say, ‘No, I'll have 100,000 members immediately,’ and then they buy inventory like crazy, and they sit with a pile of stuff they can never sell, which is a sad story. I would always encourage people to be conservative in the beginning, rather work with scarcity and build up slowly. Conserve your capital. Be very cognizant of capital and spend it in media, and try all kind of channels you can try.”
4. Letting your emotions override your planning
Too many subscriptions are starting with high enthusiasm and no plans for maintaining that enthusiasm long term. Georg suggests, “If you start a subscription you've got to think ahead down the line, what are you going to do in three, four, five, six months? Because there will people, if you do that well, stay with you for a long time. You have to always give them something interesting, original, value, but the main thing is it has to be interesting. You have to be inspired to get that subscription, there's so many out there.”
How to Create Value Subscribers Are Willing to Pay ForWhether you are a publisher competing against free information or sell physical products and you are competing against retailers,
How to Attract and Retain Customers in Your Non-Membership Business by Creating a Membership
Attracting new customers is the hardest, most expensive aspect of any business. Getting attention from your prospects, encouraging them to trust you and to take action, to do business with you, takes a tremendous amount of work. For a small business marketing nationally, it can be impossible to break through the clutter and get your message heard.
However, a membership program instantly positions you as an expert in your field, making your communication welcomed by your prospective customers. It makes you a celebrity in the eye of your consumer. And, when it comes time to sell your business, you generate the sales price from your core business and you can sell your membership as well.
My longtime client, David Lucca, was co-owner of an investment management firm. His firm worked exclusively with airline pilots, and he was looking for a way to attract airline pilots to become clients of his firm, versus all of the financial investment choices out there. David launched a new stand-alone company, the Airline Pilot Financial Association, to become the marketing arm of his financial management firm and provide great custom created financial resources for airline pilots across the country.
I recently interviewed David for my Membership and Subscription Growth podcast. He has moved on from the investment management firm and the association he created, but what he has to share about his experience is astounding. He reports that, after starting the association, he grew his firm by over $150 million in just a few years. David shares some advice for how others can do the same.
A Membership Establishes Yourself as an ExpertRather than competing like everyone else, you distinguish yourself by being the leader of your membership. David shares, “Before we started the association, nobody knew who we were. We had a few clients who were pilots. They flew with American, and they had just come to us by way of referral. I decided that I would like to reach out to that group as a primary niche for our firm. The wonderful thing of course about entering a niche with something like that is you have instant credibility. So, when people say, "Who are they?" The answer was, "Well, they're the ones that started the US Pilot Financial Association. They're the experts on our retirement plans."
By creating a membership association, David was able to jump in front of a long line of competitors. The membership association established a relationship of trust, expertise and authority with the members. When you’re doing business in an area of heavy competition, where there are tens of thousands of other businesses trying to get in the face of your customers, this can be a game-changer.
It's easier to be an expert when you tightly refine your niche. They didn’t just narrow their target audience to pilots, but went as far as limiting it to the pilots of just 3 airlines. This narrow niche allowed them to be more specific in their message. “As soon as you speak with one voice, that process of creating value that results in a transformation is just so much easier. It's just like instead of your brain going 10 directions, your brain just has one thing to think about. And the process of looking at their specific dangers and the specific opportunities that are in front of them, it all just becomes so much clearer as to what you can do to solve their biggest problems. Every time you go through another round of value creation, what you're offering to your niche is more and more powerful,” advises David.
Celebrity Power to Generate Referrals and Excitement No one likes salespeople. And, ordinarily, a chance meeting with someone who is looking to sell you something is not an enjoyable experience. However, everyone is excited to meet a popular celebrity.
David shares a memory of being in line at an airport.
Very Focused and Informative
I just listened to Robert's first interview and found it fascinating. Because of his deep understaning of the recurring revenue business model and membership retention, he knows exactly what questions to ask and how to get the most from his guests. To me, it opened my eyes to many new ideas about not just selling memberships but keeping people engaged and from leaving. If this was his first interview, I can't wait to listen to the others. I subscribed and if you are interested in this topic, you should too.