In Advanced, Brand, Business, Business Model, Community, Products, Strategy

How to Increase Subscription Retention

If you’ve jumped onto the subscription bandwagon in your personal brand…SWEET. If not, consider these reasons why it’s a strategic part of your logical product progression. Now it’s time to dial in retention!

Selling your subscription is the EASY part. The second you make the sale, your job is to obsess over that stick rate, optimizing your follow-up sequence, offer stack, messaging, product components and community conversation. Increasing retention in your subscription is an on-going dance of revision, iteration, and putting in the legwork to be OUTSTANDING for your clients.

After all, if you’re offering a subscription, there’s at least 20+ competitors out there offering the SAME product or service on a recurring billing basis (weekly, monthly, annual, etc.)

You don’t have the luxury to do this thing at half mast. You must be exceptional, or else you may find yourself disappointed in your stick rate.

Here are 4 strategies to implement and refine in order to increase retention and support your clients over the long term in your subscription service!

1. Strong Follow-Up (But Not TOO Frequent)

This piece is key.

Once someone joins your subscription program, your job is to WOW them. Retention depends on the way you follow up with new buyers via email, SMS, in the community forum, etc. This is especially true for a subscription program.

The time period in which you need to ‘wow’ them varies depending on the design of your subscription.

For example, one way you may have structured the offer is a 7 day trial for $1, followed by $29/mo thereafter. (To set up your subscription offers leveraging trials, check out Spiffy!) That means that for the first 7 days, you want to introduce your new subscribers to great value, and you want to communicate with them effectively immediately upon purchase.

Upon purchase, make sure that you have a solid purchase confirmation page that outlines what they should expect, and how to navigate their subscription.

Should they schedule the next weekly or monthly live call in their calendar right away? Are there any training videos you want to direct them to right away? Do they need to set up an account to participate in the community forum for the subscription?

Be clear the moment they purchase what you’d like them to do next.

Also, make sure you have a follow-up email sequence in place. They should receive a purchase confirmation email with similar copy and CTAs as your confirmation page.

Depending on the trial period duration, make sure you email them with information about their bonus materials (and when those become available), any training or content that is available immediately in their member’s area, and more.

Craft effective messaging that frames the experience for them, and drives them into your subscription content.

You WANT your new subscription members to consume your content; if you’re good at what you do, and they get an ample taste, they’ll stick around.

As part of your follow-up sequence, make sure that you get them to any LIVE trainings you offer as part of that subscription service. If you do a live call every month on a particular date…

  • Ask them to schedule it in their calendar in advance. Post this information in the member’s area, on their confirmation page upon purchase, and in the email follow-up sequence.
  • Send a reminder email and SMS prior to the training.
  • After the training, send them a gratitude email or SMS notifying them that their training materials are now available for them in their member’s area! (Keep driving them back to where the goods are! Encourage product consumption at every turn).

2. People Want Community, So Give It To Them (And Watch Your Stick Rate Hold Steady)

When it comes to your subscription, it’s important to understand that people come for the content, then stay for the community. Offering a community component is key to increasing retention and providing the value your community wants.

Maybe you’re offering value every month (or even every week) as part of the subscription. This may take the form of an evergreen hour long training video that drips in your online course platform to paying clients. Or maybe you offer a live 1 hour training each month.

The thread to keep your clients’ engagement consistent, though, can be built in with community.

Create a space where your clients can come together and share their successes, challenges, questions, insights, and results with one another. You can create this space in platforms like Facebook closed groups, Mighty Network or the like.

But providing a community space is just one piece of that equation. The other piece is effectively curating that space!

Make sure to incite engagement in the community forum amongst the subscription members, while also making yourself and your team available to them in that forum. Field questions regularly and publicly in the community area. Ask content-related questions to get clients into the deeper work of the curriculum. Invite clients to share their success stories in the community area. They’ll shine, and your brand shines through their example.

Community has the power to amplify the impact you’re making on the lives of your clients, due to the collective effort issued by all. You’ll see subscription retention increase when you nurture this piece!

3. Under Promise and Over Deliver

Jenna Kutcher, host of The Goal Digger Podcast, aptly addresses this topic in episode 275 of her podcast.

You want to offer value, and continue to offer NEW value, during your relationship with your subscription client.

Why? Well, your subscriber can leave you at anytime!

What you don’t want to do is over-promise and under-deliver. That’s just a recipe for disaster, not only injuring retention, but also risking more long term reputation damage. That’s harder to come back from, and it’s preventable.

Become known for being the personal brand that over-delivers. Surprise your clients consistently for the win.

If you’re not keeping your subscription members on their toes by addressing the LATEST concepts and pain points they face (at THIS time – not last year), then they’ll move on to the next hot training.

You’re not the only show in town. Outstanding performance on your end is essential for subscription retention.

We see brands do this effective with subscriptions all the time, across entertainment, thought leadership and more

For example, Hulu and Netflix add new TV seasons or hot new narrative and documentary films/series to their library of content, over a recurring basis. There’s an intentional cadence to those releases, to keep their subscribers engaged and to increase retention amidst competing services in the marketplace. Not only that, but you’ll notice that they offer unique content, distinct from their competitors. That’s not by accident. You can’t find Handmaid’s Tale on Netflix, so you decide to subscribe to both platforms.

Similarly, you can apply this strategy in the personal brand space. If you do a monthly training, you can over-deliver by offering one BONUS training tip during your live monthly training session. Make it something that your competitors are NOT saying; something that is truly distinct in your vertical.

Or, perhaps during your live session, you can offer 1 hour of a real-time Q&A session in a digital chat feature before the next live training, where clients can ask you questions and receive answers real-time. This brings the community together as well as provides more access to YOU. You as a thought leader are inherently distinct (if you’re positioning yourself as the product or the service you offer is directly tied to you).

Remember: this monthly training, YOUR job is to deliver innovative, distinct information, case studies, personal results, client anecdotes and more.

Get creative with your over-delivery of value, and reap the benefits in subscription retention.

4. Stack the Offer to Support Retention

The relationship you are building in this subscription is one that is layered.

Perhaps you offer 6 weeks of bonus trainings that roll out each week from the start of the subscription. Right there, you’ve incentivized 2 months of membership right off the bat.

Or, perhaps you host a periodic in-person training series as part of your products and services. You can throw in complimentary access to that training, 2x per year, so long as they’re active members of your subscription. You’ve now incentivized them to stay by including them in your event series.

What’s happening here with this stacking is: you’re designing a temporal structure where, in order for them to benefit fully from you and your layered offering, they’ve got to stick around.

You’re not just offering 1 hour of training per month via a Zoom call. You’re offering digital trainings they can experience anytime they want, in the members area. You’re offering them in-person experiences to learn MORE from you, in an immersive, community-centered fashion. You’re offering them a community to connect with each month on the live Zoom calls, as well as in the member’s area anytime they want inbetween those monthly sessions!

You’re treating this relationship as an immersive experience, marked by depth of value, diversity in touch points and continuous innovation. Increasing retention will simply be a by-product of these foundational elements running on all cylinders.

Final Thoughts

There are a range of ways in which you continue selling your product, AFTER the sale. That’s the secret to increasing retention in subscriptions.

With a saturated market, and LOTS of great options out there for continuing learners, media and product consumers, and conscious citizens, we as personal brand developers and marketers must commit ourselves to driving our clients’ attention to the value and messaging that supports them – and our ongoing relationship with them.

You have great, distinct value to offer your clients, and we want to make sure they stick around to receive it. Go all in with your post-purchase process, and you’ll see a stick rate and retention you can stand by.