What if your content marketing was so perfectly aligned that the audience trusted you to become the flavor maker in your field? Welcome to the world of subscription boxes.
Dog toys, dark romance novels, beard balm, makeup, liquor, curated clothing – enthusiasts of all kinds sign up for subscription boxes. While many people view a subscription box as a new retail model, it is also a lens to understanding how a particular topic or passion can be created, curated, and used.
As content marketers, we always work hard to break the noise, connect with audiences, and develop memorable brand interactions both online and offline.
Here’s how to inspire audiences from some of the best subscription boxes today.
The rise of the subscription box
Subscription boxes have emerged on a large scale over the past decade and have grown in both popularity and variety since then. Research for Zuora showed that 74% of people in 12 countries subscribe to at least one box. According to Digital Media Solutions, the demand only grew last year.
As physical product companies aim to get products into the hands of consumers and focus on agile service models that do not require a stationary location, subscription boxes have become a smart proposition to meet those needs.
What’s your why
The best subscription box services have a very clear understanding of who their customers are and why they need a box in the first place. Content marketers can make their texts clearer and better. Simon Sinek has become synonymous with the question “What’s your why?” after his legendary TED Talk; What forces customers to join with subscription boxes?
The decision usually consists of four main reasons:
- Save money, either with bulk purchases or with discounts
- The convenience of home delivery
- Rely on a knowledgeable partner to curate a category or experience so they can get the best products or save time
- An experience that introduces them to something they cannot get anywhere else
Content marketers should also ask some relevant questions:
- Why are customers engaging with your content?
- What is the specific value driver you create with each piece of content? What material value should a consumer be able to associate with it?
- What experience does your content create and how does it tie in with the larger customer experience?
Capture a sense of belonging
This last question is worth a deeper dive. Often times, customers choose you because they want a specific experience, be it an extension of your brand or something that you are simply best positioned for. Subscription boxes are anchored to a topic – usually one that belongs to a specific group, fulfills a need, or supports a passion. Does your content offer the same visceral connection?
Consider the experience of being a redhead. I come from a family of redheads who married into a family of redheads. The pride is alive and well. Many redheads view their hair as one of their defining physical characteristics and are passionate about aspects of this lifestyle. It is the rarest hair color; They also have unique genetic traits such as resistance to anesthesia. There is a whole mythology.
There is also a practical side. Have you ever tried matching ginger hair eyebrow pencils? There isn’t an abundance of drugstore options. Enter how to be a redhead who doubles as a content destination and subscription box service that harnesses the zeitgeist. For content marketers, their model is an opportunity to reflect, update audience profiles, and make sure the value you are delivering is in line with the right interests.
- Curate relevant content and experiences?
- Are you surprising your audience with insights that suit their needs?
- Package content in different ways that can be appreciated in multiple formats?
Image attribution: Zachary Keimig on Unsplash.
Don’t let churn burn you
Just because a customer signs up for your newsletter or follows you on social media doesn’t mean they’ll stick with it. You need to prove that you understand your audience, have a unique POV, and bring real insight into the table. This is a constant challenge in the world of the subscription box – keeping the value clear and taking it fresh.
Research from McKinsey shows that half of people who sign up for a subscription cancel in the first six months. Mailchimp’s email marketing benchmarks suggest that across industries, you can expect approximately 0.26% of your target audience to unsubscribe every time they send an email. It’s an ongoing battle for subscription boxes and content marketers to earn and hold audience attention the moment they get it.
Fortunately, it is easy to borrow some tactics from subscription boxes:
- Develop your pipeline consistently: Good content marketing should be consumed. Stick to two strategies: Constantly seek out new audiences and create opportunities to introduce those audiences – potential consumers, buyers, and followers – to your content. Even if there is natural wear and tear, encourage your growth and learn how to increase your impact.
- Develop your engagement strategy: The subscription box model requires more than just securing a subscription and shipping a product box. They carefully consider how to appeal to the audience in the long run. Subscription box companies create exclusive events like Q&A with the makers behind the products they share. How do you deepen these connections with your audience?
- Keep things fresh: subscription boxes can’t rest on their laurels. A makeup box that ships the same brands month after month is losing subscriptions faster than one that associates it with beauty trends, new brands, and recently launched products. What do you do to keep your content up to date? This could include experimenting with new formats, adding new voices, or reaching new sales channels.
Like content marketing, the world of subscription boxes is a crowded industry. The audience is tired and it’s easier to get away from the noise than it is to spend money, time, and mindshare consuming your products. However, if you get smart strategies out of winning subscription boxes – by understanding the specific value proposition that audiences want for a churn plan – you can get the best of both worlds and deliver the next level digital experience that keep the audience busy for the long term.
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Selected image attribution: Gabby K on Pexels.