3 Steps for Taking a Subscription-Based Business to the Next Level

Brian Deignan
Brian Deignan
November 6th, 2017
Estimated read time: 3 minutes, 48 seconds

So, your business’ pricing strategy includes subscriptions? Excellent: It’s one of the best ways to boost profitability for your SaaS company. But are you maximizing your subscription sales? Here are some bold steps you can take to elevate your subscription-based business to a new level of success.

1. Identify What’s Holding You Back

Subscriptions can grow your customer base exponentially, so when sales are sluggish, it’s frustrating. It feels as if everything is at a standstill.

The first step in fixing the problem is identifying it. Why, exactly, aren’t you getting more subscriptions? Here are some common reasons.

Barriers to Subscription Success

Affordability: Is your service too expensive? Research your competitors. Develop a tiered pricing model that makes the first month very inexpensive for your customers. This reduces the up-front cost for new buyers and breaks down barriers to long-term purchasing.

Retention: Are you sure you’re doing everything possible to retain customers after the initial sale? How do you reach back out to them? Is your messaging consistent and friendly? Are they receiving a good follow-up offer?

Inflexibility: Maybe your customers wish you had more flexible payment and billing options. Is it possible for them to pay yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily, if they prefer? Do you take their country’s currency? Can they customize and upgrade their order? In a global marketplace with endless choices, inflexibility is a major turn-off to customers.

UI: Take a hard look at your customer service platform. Is it intuitive and user-friendly? Is it a hassle for new users? Conduct a usability study among people who have never used your service before. Ask them to be honest about the subscription barriers they encounter.

2. Refine Your Subscription Strategy

After you identify your subscription roadblocks, you can begin to break them down. Now it’s time to refine your subscription strategy and implement some best practices from other successful SaaS businesses.

Subscription Strategy Best Practices

Limit options. That’s right: Reduce your subscription choices. It sounds counterintuitive – because people like having options – but by reducing the number of choices, you can actually boost your subscription numbers. Choices are stressful, so having too many options can make people abandon the process. Stick with two or three, definitely no more than four.

Be transparent. People won’t buy from a company they don’t trust. If they fear negative consequences, they can’t trust you. So state your policies right up front. Make it easy to cancel a subscription. State how you will use your customers’ personal data. Reassure them that there are no risks or hidden catches to doing business with you.

Be consistent, but human. Use a robust platform to manage your subscriptions and customer service efforts. It should be able to generate automated messages, but in a way that feels personal. The best platforms manage a deep database of customer information flawlessly, so each customer interaction feels helpful and genuine. It’s almost a form of storytelling, where each step in the process builds a positive story for the customer.

3. Expand Your Message and Drive Traffic

After your refined subscription strategy is in place, trigger an influx of new traffic. It’s time to welcome customers to try your service and benefit from a slick new subscription model.

Use multiple online storefronts. Think outside the app store. That’s where all your competitors are sitting, too. Make sure you have your own online storefront and ensure it’s 100% mobile-friendly. Explore selling options and widgets connected to other sites.

Master social media. Maintain a strong social media presence. If it’s half-hearted, people will notice. When done correctly, social media helps people think of your company as a friend. They’ll share positive experiences and market your business for you, at no cost. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some basic social media sites you should include in your social media plan.

Drive long-term re-engagement. Selling subscriptions means building long-term relationships with your customers. It’s crucial to keep them engaged beyond a trial offer or 3-month subscription. Implement re-engagement strategies like timed offers, loyalty plans, and refer-a-friend promotions. Invest in delivering helpful content like blog posts, ebooks, and videos – and don’t forget about the power of YouTube, which has quickly become one of the world’s top sources for how-to videos and product recommendations.

Ready to take your subscription model to the next level? Partner with FastSpring, an end-to-end ecommerce platform that delivers smooth billing for SaaS success. Click here to get access to your free demo today. 

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