Last updated: December 21, 2022
“You never know until you ask” is the perfect mantra and phrase to live your life by. But asking for something too soon or not soon enough can lead to problems. That is why nailing the timing of whatever you are asking for is of utmost importance.
Knowing not only when, but also knowing who to ask to buy more from you is a valuable skill when you are running an ecommerce subscription business. For example, if you were to ask a “non-subscriber” customer who recently left a negative review of your brand to become a subscriber, you would likely run the risk of losing them ever becoming a subscriber in the future. Knowing when the right time to ask your customer and email subscribers to convert into paying subscribers is a science and an art.
Subscriptions offer your business stability in that they are a predictable form of revenue that you can bank on each and every month. A recent report put out by eCommerce Fuel indicated that brands that offer subscriptions see about 30% of their monthly income derived from subscriptions. The stability that subscriptions offer a business put less stress on your overall acquisition funnel and drive growth. That same report indicated that brands that offered subscriptions grew 26% faster and were 14% more profitable than those brands that didn’t offer subscriptions.
While words like stability and growth are the friends of any ecommerce business, in order to realize stability and growth through subscriptions you need to know when the right time to ask your audience to subscribe to your product or service is.
Read on to learn three points in the customer journey that indicate that it’s ok to ask your customers or email subscribers to become paying subscribers.
Right when a new subscriber opts into receiving emails from your brand
An email subscriber is often the most engaged right after they become an email subscriber. They likely don’t know much about your brand and are looking forward to getting to know what your brand and products are all about.
A welcome message is the perfect opportunity to tell a new subscriber about your brand. It is also a great time to tell the new subscriber that you offer subscriptions and to subsequently ask your new email subscriber to become a subscriber to your brand.
While a new email subscriber may not be ready to commit to the subscription off the bat, you don’t know that until you ask them. Just by asking a new email subscriber to become a subscriber to your brand, you will be letting them know that you offer subscriptions. So while they may not be ready to commit to a subscription at this point in time, just by asking them to become a subscriber, you will be planting the seed in their heads that if they try your product and like it, then they can become a subscriber in the future.
Not asking a new email subscriber during your first touch-point with them is a missed exposure opportunity to build your subscription business.
After a customer has purchased a number of times from you
When a customer has come back time and time again to your brand and made a number of purchases, they clearly like what your brand has to offer. Whether those purchases have occurred over a three month or three year span, they keep coming back and choosing to spend their money with your brand which is a prime indicator that they are fond of your brand.
These customers would be good subscribers since they are already loyal, so don’t miss the opportunity to market your subscription offering to them. Create a segment of these “VIP” customers that have purchased from you a certain number of times (for example, customers that have purchased from you 4+ times) and send them an email asking them to become subscribers.
Rather than worrying about “why” they haven’t subscribed in the past, sell them on why they should become a subscriber in the messaging. Perhaps they didn’t know that you offered subscriptions or the timing wasn’t right for them in the past. But now could be a better time for them to become a subscriber so it’s best to ask them to become one.
Once a previous customer places a reorder
If a previous customer comes back to your brand and purchases the exact same product from you that they’ve purchased in the past, it’s the perfect time to ask them to become a subscriber. Maybe they were using their first order to get a sense of your product’s quality to ensure that they liked it before committing to a subscription. Or perhaps they underestimated how quickly they would need to replenish the product.
A reorder indicates that the customer enjoyed your products enough to spend their hard-earned money on it again…so don’t wait until they reorder it again, ask the customer to become a subscriber right after they place a reorder. You can set up a flow (or automation) via your email service provider that is triggered a week or two after they place a reorder that speaks to the reorder and asks the customer to become a subscriber. Perhaps you want to entice the customer with a special discount, but this is a great time to ask the customer to become a subscriber so don’t miss the opportunity to do so.
Building a subscription business takes time and patience. Most importantly, growing a subscription business requires that you pay careful attention to certain signals and customer flashpoints like the ones outlined above to know when the right time to ask either an email subscriber or current customer if they’d like to become a subscriber.
Upscribe is the perfect solution to help you build, grow and scale your subscription business. If you are looking to learn more about how Upscribe can help you take your retention business to the next level, schedule a demo with our team here.