Dog toys, dark romance novels, beard balm, makeup, craft liquor, curated clothing—enthusiasts of all kinds of things sign up for subscription boxes. While many people look at a subscription box as a new retail model, it’s also a lens for understanding how to create, curate, and capitalize on a specific topic or passion.
As content marketers, we’re always hard at work breaking through the noise, connecting with audiences, and developing unforgettable brand interactions both online and offline.
Here’s what you can learn about wowing audiences from some of today’s best subscription boxes.
The Rise of the Subscription Box
Subscription boxes emerged at scale in the last decade, and they’ve since rocketed in both popularity and diversity. Research for the company Zuora found that 74% of individuals across 12 countries subscribe to at least one box. According to Digital Media Solutions, demand has only grown over the past year.
As physical product businesses aim to get products into the hands of consumers—as well as to move toward agile service models that don’t require a brick-and-mortar location—subscription boxes have become a smart offering to bridge 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 bring the same clarity to their writing and enhanced content. Simon Sinek became synonymous with the question “what’s your why?” after his iconic TED Talk; for subscription boxes, what compels customers to join?
The decision typically boils down to four key reasons:
- Saving money, either through bulk purchases or promotional discounts
- The convenience of home delivery
- Relying on a knowledgeable partner to curate a category or experience so they get the best products or save time
- An experience that introduces them to something they can’t get elsewhere
Content marketers should also consider asking a few relevant questions:
- Why do customers engage with your content?
- What’s the specific value driver you create with each piece of content? What tangible value should a consumer be able to associate with it?
- What experience does your content create, and how does it tie back to the larger customer experience?
Capturing a Sense of Belonging
That last question is worth a deeper dive. Often, customers choose you because they want a specific experience, whether it’s an extension of your brand or something you’re simply best positioned to deliver. Subscription boxes are anchored by a theme—typically one that belongs to a specific group, fulfills a need, or supports a passion. Does your content provide that same visceral connection?
Consider the experience of being a redhead. I’m from a family of redheads who married into a family of redheads. The pride is alive and well. Many redheads see their hair as one of their defining physical characteristics, and they’re excited about aspects of that lifestyle. It’s the rarest hair color; they also have unique genetic features, such as resistance to anesthesia. There’s a whole mythology.
There’s also a practical side. Have you ever tried to match eyebrow pencils to ginger hair? Drugstore options don’t exactly abound. Enter How to Be a Redhead, which doubles as a content destination and a subscription box service that’s tapped into the zeitgeist. For content marketers, their model is an opportunity to reflect, refresh audience profiles, and ensure that the value you’re delivering aligns with the right interests.
- Curating relevant content and experiences?
- Surprising your audience with insights that meet their needs?
- Packaging content in different ways that can be appreciated in multiple formats?
Don’t Get Burned by Churn
Just because a customer signs up for your newsletter or follows you on social media doesn’t mean they’ll stick around. You have to prove that you understand your audience, have a unique POV, and bring real insights to the table. That’s a constant challenge in the world of the subscription box—keeping the value clear and the take fresh.
Research from McKinsey shows that half of people who sign up for a subscription box cancel in the first six months. Email marketing benchmarks from Mailchimp suggest that across industries, you can expect about .26% of your audience to unsubscribe each time you send an email. It’s a constant fight for both subscription boxes and content marketers to earn and keep audience attention once they have it.
Luckily, it’s easy to borrow some tactics from subscription boxes:
- Consistently develop your pipeline: Great content marketing is meant to be consumed. Keep dual strategies in place: constantly hunt for new audiences to reach, and create avenues to introduce those audiences—prospective consumers, buyers, and followers—to your content. Even as natural attrition happens, you’ll still fuel your growth and learn how to expand your impact.
- Develop your engagement strategy: The subscription box model demands more than just securing a subscription and mailing out a box of products; they carefully consider how to engage audiences for the long haul. Subscription box companies create exclusive events, such as Q&As with the producers behind the products they share. How are you deepening those connections with your audience?
- Keep things fresh: Subscription boxes can’t rest on their laurels. A makeup box that sends out the same brands month after month will lose subscriptions faster than one that connects them with beauty trends, new brands, and recently launched products. What are you doing to keep your content fresh? This may involve experimenting with new formats, featuring new voices, or reaching new distribution channels.
The subscription box world, not unlike content marketing, is a crowded and cutthroat industry. Audiences are tired, and it’s easier to relegate you to the noise than it is to commit dollars, time, and mindshare to consuming what you’re producing. But lifting smart strategies from winning subscription boxes—from understanding the specific value proposition that audiences want to having a plan to fight churn—lets you embrace the best of both worlds and deliver next-level digital experiences that keep audiences engaged long term.
Eager for more insights like this? Sign up for The Content Standard today.
Best Email Marketing Practices to Generate Leads
Have you implemented email marketing in your digital strategy? If you answered no, now is the time to do so.
There are many new and innovative ways to market to your target audience, however, email marketing remains one of the most reliable and effective ways to generate leads. With the right strategy in place, you will be able to convert prospects into paying customers who truly value your brand.
In this guide, our expert digital team at Bold x Collective discusses everything you need to know about email marketing, as well as some of the best practices that will help your business generate leads!
To preface, you always need to ensure that you do not buy into email lists. Doing so will result in prospects moving your content into the trash or ending up in their spam folders.
This also eliminates prospects’ free will of being able to opt in to emails. This starts the brand-to-customer relationship on a bad note and will result in a higher rate of opt-outs for emails. And not to mention… it is illegal!
Once you have a curated list of prospects that were gained organically through website traffic and membership sign up’s, you can move on to the next step of optimizing your email list by lead scoring. This tactic will filter which prospects are opening your emails, and which ones are worth putting more effort into.
By putting together this new refined list of prospects, your brand will be able to obtain higher conversion rates and a greater return on investment as your efforts are being focused on where it matters most.
Now that you’ve organized an optimized list of prospects, it’s time to create the actual email. There are many tactics you can use when drafting an email, but these are some of my favorites that will really allow your email to stand out in your prospect’s inbox.
- Name the offer in the subject line, in a fun, intriguing way that will make your viewer interested!
- Keep the main message and call to action above the fold.
- Include a personalized touch by adding your name and having a sign-off; viewers love it.
- Have a clean and concise email – no one likes too much content at one time!
First off, having your offer, promotion or main announcement in the subject line is more likely to grab the attention of the reader as it gets straight to the point and gives them an immediate reason to look for more details. For example, when the subject line states “25% off the ENTIRE site”.
This line introduces an incentive that will be received if you choose to purchase with them, ultimately decreasing their opportunity cost. This will create the feeling of “FOMO”. Fear of missing out and entice readers to browse your website and shop.
Along with this strategy, it is also beneficial to keep the main message of the email and call to action so that readers can see it at first glance. This means the information they first receive upon viewing the email and upon opening it without having to scroll down.
Not everyone opens every email they get and will often only view the text that shows above the fold. If that text is intriguing enough, they will seek to learn more. So now you have your readers’ attention, the contents of the email above the fold are what is going to keep their attention and be the driving source of whether they become paying customers.
This study was done on users’ scrolling and attention spans tell them that nearly 57% of users’ page-viewing time is above the fold (information that is visible without scrolling).
Therefore, they can use this information to their advantage by making sure the most important details are included above this fold.
Now that you’ve figured out where to put the most relevant information, let’s get into elements to include in your email content that makes it effective. My personal recommendation would be to include personalized touches such as a personalized greeting and signature sign-off.
A greeting with the contact’s name helps to grab their attention right away as they are being addressed personally. In addition to a personalized greeting, having a signature sign-off that shows the reader that there is a real person on the other end, adds to the level of authenticity that it comes across.
The more of a connection the customer creates with the brand, the more purchasing power they will have. How do they create a connection? With authenticity!
My last tip, a very simple one, but crucial… is to keep your email clean and concise. No one wants to spend longer than they must, to read an email.
It’s important to keep things looking visually appealing, straight to the point, and summarized in an intriguing and digestible way.
By doing this, you are allowing prospects to gather just what they need to move forward with the buying process. So don’t overthink it, quality is always better than quantity!
To start your journey with email marketing, here are some of their favorite email marketing apps at Bold x Collective:
- Active campaign
And while you’re at it, check out Bold x Collective’s blog on how you can get email marketing started for your business! Need some extra guidance and assistance with your email marketing channels? Contact their team to receive a complimentary consultation!
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