Using Email Marketing to Build Retention for Subscription Services

Using Email Marketing to Build Retention for Subscription Services

In the modern world of marketing, email is still an incredibly effective tool. At the same time, many companies have found success with subscription services that can guarantee repeat customers and consistent income. In this article, we’re looking at ways that email marketing can be leveraged to get the most retention out of subscription-based services and so you can strengthen your existing customer base and get even more sales.

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Personalize at All Times

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Personalization is important in any email marketing, but a subscription service lends itself incredibly well to the customization that email marketing offers. Most subscription services are not a subscription to an exact product, they are a plan or a specific bundle of services. Every purchase is unique, which means email marketing can be unique.

Personalization in this case goes beyond just putting the user’s name in the subject line. Instead, it means that you can base the contents of the email on the package they have subscribed to. Here are a few ways you can use a customer’s current plan to generate email content:

  • Give tips on how the customer can make the most of their current plan
  • Upsell a higher plan by showing the limitations of the current one
  • Offer plan changes based on known life events or holidays
  • Fun personalized usage statistics
  • Offer tutorials to those who have not made much use of your service

The more you know about your customer, the more you can target them for specific offers. Use the knowledge you have to your advantage, and you will see retention go up!

Convert One-Time Customers to Subscribers

If you are a subscription-based company that also offers single purchases, the ultimate goal will be to convert those one-time purchasers to monthly subscribers. You’ve already done the hardest work, which is letting these customers know you exist and convincing them to purchase from you in the first place! Turning them into regular subscribers won’t be easy. But it won’t be your hardest email marketing task by a long shot.

You will already have their email addresses and some information based on what they ordered the first time. Therefore, you can upsell to a specific subscription package. With email segmentation, you can specifically target these customers and customize the emails based on what their one-time purchase was.

Remind customers of the many benefits of subscribing and why your service is of high quality. Consider what competitors the customer may have sampled, and what their benefits are. How can you make a more compelling argument and position your service as the best option? You can even offer discounts, special promotions, or “last chance” deals to the customers that just aren’t taking the bait. All of these tactics can increase retention in your subscription service.

Win Back Former Subscribers

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Eventually, some subscribers will fall off and stop subscribing for various reasons. The first thing you should do is send an exit survey to find out why these subscribers ended their service. For some, it will be personal financial reasons, but it’s important to pay attention to the answers that indicate your service is too expensive, doesn’t offer enough of the right thing, is too inconvenient, or has unsatisfactory customer service. These are all things you can do to find out where your subscription service went wrong for some people, and improve in the future.

You can use what you learn to retain existing customers, but what about regaining those lost subscribers? These former subscribers are already familiar with your brand and your offerings so all you need to do is convince them that they need you again. The easiest way to win back customers is with a limited-time discount. This gives customers an opportunity to get your subscription for less, and adding a limited-time element to it will give a sense of urgency.

Eventually, you will need to give up on getting a customer back, but there is nothing wrong with waiting 6 months or a year longer and reaching out again if the customer hasn’t unsubscribed. That’s the beauty of segmented lists!

Add Value to Your Automated Emails

Automated emails for invoices or order confirmations tend to be pretty boring and cookie-cutter. Places like this are a perfect opportunity for adding additional value in small ways to increase retention. When a customer receives an order confirmation, there could be a section at the bottom of the email with a couple of quick tips for using the product or subscription that they ordered.

Or, including some frequently asked questions that are common responses to this type of email. If the email is based on statistics or metrics, then offer links to a resource that can help the customer with areas that they’re struggling in. Automated emails are also a great way to remind users of where they left off. Cart abandonment emails are often effective, but they can extend beyond just shopping carts and also extend to browsing history on your store. Automated customer support emails like password resets should be friendly and give detailed instructions on how to resolve the issue. At all times, be sure that your company is helpful and making life easier for the customer!

Build Retention Through Emotion

two men talking while looking at laptop

Selling is your primary purpose. But pushing sales and providing tutorials aren’t the only way to build retention with your email list. It’s good to remind subscribers that your company is made up of human beings. If the company contributes to a charity, supports a social cause, has implemented new policies that help employees, or just do something a little bit out of the ordinary, that’s worth an email! How a customer feels about your brand is an important factor of their engagement. These emails are for brand trust and going beyond just selling a product. An emotional connection is even more valuable than a financial one in the long term. Building up goodwill with customers will mean that even when they unsubscribe, they will think of you first when it comes time to find a solution again.

Email marketing is far from dead, but retention is more important than ever. Gaining new subscribers is so much harder than keeping ones you already have. So follow these tactics to keep your current customer base active and purchasing!

Read next: The Biggest Marketing Trends for 2021

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