By Sharon L. Hadden on April 21, 2017
Subscription boxes are fun and profitable business models, but the truth is, there are so many to choose from that it can be hard to set your subscription box apart from others.
Of over 200 subscription boxes that I’ve researched, only four have earned my business. Here’s how they made their way into my heart, and how to market a subscription box using the same concepts.
1. Acknowledge that you are different from boutiques, shops and e-stores.
Subscription box marketing is different from marketing a traditional business because instead of a one-time purchase, customers are committing to a recurring transaction. This means you have to win over customers not once, but every single month!
Flitwicks is one of four boxes I’ve subscribed too. Every month, the brand delivers three unique jewelry items straight to your door, for 12 bucks. Flitwicks doesn't double as an in-person boutique, or an online shop—they've intentionally focused on the element of fun, fashion and surprise via a subscription box.
Traditional businesses don’t get the chance to show off from month-to-month. Use this difference to your advantage, to make improvements to your offering in real time. Acknowledge that you are different from other online businesses, and you'll be able to curate the subscription box of your customers' dreams.
2. Win big by building a community first.
The best way to market a subscription box is to help customers with the decision making process. You can do that by building an online community.
I subscribed to New Hobby Box because the brand is about more than just selling a box of crafts. They want to inspire more people to try something new from month-to-month, and most importantly, they want to be included in those new experiences. New Hobby Box shares beautiful photos, friendly reminders and glowing reviews on social, and their website features tutorials and how-to guides, to support their crafting community.
You designed your subscription box to cater to people with common interests: beauty, pets, wine, food, fitness, etc., and your perfect customer is just waiting for a good reason to hit “subscribe”. Build a community around that common interest, and watch the awareness, demand and support for your brand take off.
3. Use keywords, key phrases and hashtags to your advantage.
What good is your subscription box offering and passion-filled community if customers can't find you? Not only will you be able to sell more faster by using relevant keywords, key phrases and hashtags in your content, you'll also open yourself up to being found by influential bloggers and online publications who can put your box on the map with just a mention.
Let’s use Ellie, an active wear subscription box, as an example. Ellie not only uses branded hashtags like #ellieactivewear in social posts, you’ll find tags like #fitnessmodel, #activewear and #fitspo in their messages. If you do an online search for phrases like “active wear subscription box” or “active wear monthly”, Ellie pops up in the first five listings.
The trick to using keywords, key phrases and hashtags to your advantage is to choose phrases that customers naturally search for or use as tags for themselves. Brainstorm your keyword list and use those keywords throughout your web copy, social posts and other creative content. Your current customers will be able to quickly refer your business, and new customers will be able to find you with ease.
4. Give customers an offer they can’t refuse.
Word of mouth is an extremely powerful method of marketing for subscription boxes. Stay on your toes by collaborating with influencers, partnering with new brands and encouraging current customers to review and refer your offering.
I stumbled upon Le Tote while skimming through fashion and lifestyle blog posts. The blogger explained that with Le Tote’s unlimited tote model, she only went about 10 days each month without new clothes. Can you imagine wearing new outfits 20 out of 30ish days per month?! It’s an offer you can’t refuse, and I certainly didn’t. If you're interested in trying LeTote, you can get $25 off your first month using my invite code - here.
The moral of the story is to make sure all of the great benefits of your subscription box are clearly visible around your website, hyped on social media and infused into reviews and arti
cles from customers and influencers. Use content like blog posts and video, to provide an unforgettable glimpse into what will be delivered to your customer’s door each month, and use social to build buzz for an offer followers can't refuse.
The best way to market a subscription box is not a one-size fits all answer. What’s your biggest marketing challenge? Perhaps our Savvy Guide to Content Marketing can help you on your journey to overcome it.