6 Reliable Methods to Turn Customers into Subscribers [Updated]
December 6, 2017//2,070 words
Do you want to grow your business?
Would you sleep better at night as a small business owner if you knew you had sales pretty much guaranteed already for the next day?
I propose that subscribers are more valuable than customers, and by converting your customers into subscribers you will develop loyalty, see your business grow both in sales and valuation AND sleep better each and every night!
Let’s get right to the 6 best and most effective (and proven) ways to perform the conversion of customer to subscriber.
Have an open mind.
There is a subscription model opportunity out there for every business.
The Front of the Line Subscription Model
This is a sure-fire way to make your customers feel important if you offer services.
The Front of the Line method allows people (who pay a premium) to receive expedited services and basically skip-ahead of other customers regardless of the situation.
Let’s face it, there are certain things that, when arise, we don’t have the patience or funds to wait for a resolution.
We would rather it just be fixed RIGHT NOW!
I can think of a time that I let my heating oil get a little low and, when I realized the gaffe, I went into panic mode and needed my tank refilled ASAP. Sure, this could have been avoided, but things happen, right? If there was a form of a Front of the Line subscription available for this (or other home utility needs), I would likely pay to ensure that any home issues will be resolved quickly.
The example of my procrastination in having my oil tank refilled put me in the category of a customer who would lose money or suffer serious consequence if I had to wait my turn.
Another form of customer who may go for this model is one that simple is willing to pay for faster service.
There are examples of this need-to-be-faster desire present everywhere in our day to day lives:
- Buying an EZ-Pass to go through the toll-booth quicker on the way to work
- Signing up for Amazon Prime to get free 2-day shipping
- Pre-ordering your Dunkin Donut’s coffee on your phone so you won’t have to wait in line
Those are just a few things that I do regularly.
Regardless of whether or not the human-race should slow down, that likely won’t happen, so if there is a way for you to offer your service to “VIP Customers” faster, there will likely be customers racing to the front of the line!
The Peace of Mind Subscription Model
Most of us have some form of car insurance, house insurance or life insurance, right?
And we have these assurances in place even though it’s likely we will go through each day not needing any of them.
However, even knowing that, we’re still glad to have them, right? Why?
Because it’s one less thing to worry about.
Let’s face it, people worry – we worry! So if there’s something that I can do to reduce that worrying – I’m going to do it!
One of the most popular app services over the past couple of years has been Tile. With Tile, you never have to worry about losing anything every again.
In fact, here are some other possible ways that having a Tile can calm your fears (from it’s FAQ page)
For prices starting at $25, you can have some much-desired peace of mind.
While we’ve covered why people clearly desire this subscription model, it also makes sense for your business if:
- You have the equipment, people or other assets at the ready if a claim is filed
- The rate of subscriber calls (and claim amounts $$$) allows you to still bring in more over time than you need to spend on claims
Sit down and do the math. If you can discover your current customer’s trends and call-frequency, you could be sitting on a gold mine.
The Consumables Subscription Model
What a pain it is to have to go to the store on a weekly basis for the same old items.
This is where the Consumables subscription model comes into play.
Consumables are basically items that we purchase on a regular basis:
- Razor blades
- Toilet paper
You name it.
Now, sometimes we want variety, but other times we just want to get these shopping chores over with (and we would likely forego the variety to do so!).
There are some companies that have utilized this subscription model to great success:
- Dollar Shave Club: Automatically sends you refills on razor blades
- Amazon Dash: Connects to certain household items and reorders when low or out
- The Honest Company: Recurring orders on diapers and cleaning items for the home
For your business, this will work if you have:
- A steady supply of inventory at the ready
- Ability to offer unique experience to your subscribers
You don’t have to try to compete with Amazon, however, if you do have a physical product that would be purchased more than once (in the span of a month or even a year), then there is likely an opportunity here for you.
The Simplifier Subscription Model
As was covered in the Front of the Line model, we (people) are in a hurry. Why?
Because we want more time.
The simplifier subscription model allows people to automate their lives (a trend that has been growing ever since Timothy Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book by the way!)
Yes, this is similar to the Consumables Subscription Model, but think of this also in terms of the services that you offer.
People who are interested in this model are likely of Timothy Ferriss’s mindset – to automate life. Or at least automate the difficult/annoying parts of life so you can be free to do the fun stuff!
If the price was reasonable, would you consider outsourcing any of these tasks:
- Mowing the lawn (or raking the leaves!)
- Cleaning your house
- Getting your oil changed
- Managing your email inbox
- Blogging (or research)
- General administrative tasks
Could your business perform any of these tasks in an efficient or affordable way?
Or, maybe you already offer these services but hadn’t thought to offer subscriptions until now.
Many of these tasks are not even difficult – people just don’t want to do them! Maybe there’s an opportunity there waiting for you!
The Surprise Box Subscription Model
This subscription model is less about solving a need or making your life more efficient.
In fact, the Surprise Box model is tailored more to people who have a certain hobby or desire to learn more and try new things.
Consider Birchbox, a subscription business that will send you a random assortment of beauty products on a monthly basis.
Birchbox was started to help women find the perfect beauty supplies (which can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming) by trying and testing many different offerings.
A monthly surprise box may look like this:
After you try these items on the cheap ($10/month), you can actually purchase them at the Birchbox online store.
And amazingly, even though Birchbox offers you a way to try products until you find the right one, subscribers continue to stick around (over 400,000).
Is there a way that you could offer people samplings of your products, or something that may nicely accent your products?
The Surprise Box Subscription Model isn’t the home run your company is looking for, but it may help to introduce people to your business or product in an easy, fun and friendly way.
To stick with the baseball theme (see “home run” above), think of the Surprise Box Subscription Model as the steroids that will make hitting a home run that much easier.
The All You Can Eat Library Subscription Model
Do you have valuable information that others would like to have?
How about specialized skills that you could put down on paper in the form of:
- Video Tutorials, etc.
Could you build a library of your resources that would be extremely valuable to someone else (and they might even pay $10/month for)?
We think of the big guys, you know, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Ancestry.com, when thinking of information or content available for a recurring fee.
It doesn’t have to be that large-scale, however.
Joshua Jacobo built newmastersacademy.com at first, using only his own resources and information, turning his knowledge into videos and courses. Now, the website has over 2,000 subscribers (from $19-$39/month) and 350 hours of video lessons available.
Does your business provide specialized skills to customers? Could you turn some of that knowledge into a library of e-books or video courses and sell them online to subscribers?
Think of this as the tip of the iceberg. Some people are more likely to sign up for a subscription to content than sign up with you for consultant services, however, if they like the value they receive from the subscription, there’s a good chance that they will upgrade.
If you’d like to take your knowledge of this topic a bit further, I would recommend that you read or listen to John Warrillow’s The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry.
And please share your thoughts with other readers below!