Not all online sales at e-commerce sites are driven by quick-and-easy one-time purchases. Many sites get a substantial portion of their revenue, or even most of it, from customer subscriptions.
Optimizing your website to capture the greatest possible number of subscriptions and then managing those subscriptions seamlessly so as to garner high customer retention rates is easier said than done. To make the process a little easier, here are 5 ways to maximize your subscription-based revenues:
1. Rely on a Billing Service
Outsourcing your subscription management to a professional recurring billing service is the number one way to maximize subscriptions. These kinds of services will help you create a seamless checkout experience, ensure that correct and timely invoices are created and delivered, help you manage the free trials and other special offers, and allow customers to self-manage much of their own account information.
That’s a load off your shoulders with optimized results that are well worth the investment. Plus, you save time and effort, which you can, therefore, devote to building and expanding your business.
2. Use Real-time Data to Quickly Adjust
A software system that allows you to see all your relevant metrics at a glance and in real-time is an invaluable tool for growth. By constantly monitoring new subscriptions and comparing the rise and fall of growth rates based on your new strategies, ad campaigns, and changes to your website, you gain insight into what works and what doesn’t.
3. Focus on Your Existing Customers
While you need outreach to gain new clients, and an initial free trial period or other special deals can give your revenues an immediate boost, long-term, it’s all about keeping the relationships.
If people quickly cancel in droves after the initial trial period or within a matter of months, you will be forced to spend much of your limited time and resources on hunting up “newbies” to take their place. Better to focus on existing clients and give them a reason to stay.
Renewals, upgrades, and add ons constitute the bulk of your subscription changes, and those are all things only existing customers do. Use your client email list to give them special offers or reminders, and consider rewarding them for referrals as well.
4. Re-position Your Opt-in Offers
It can be just as critical where you make an offer as what offer you make. Put your opt-in offer to potential new subscribers in a highly visible location on your website.
Your subscription offers should be placed on your homepage, preferably in the upper left-hand corner, where people naturally turn their eyes when first viewing a page (both online and in a physical book).
If that isn’t possible, choose at least somewhere on the top section of the homepage which is visible before having to scroll down. If your opt-in sales page is too long for such a narrow placement, then put a short reference to it in those prime locations and link to the full offer, which should be placed no more than the “second page down.”
5. Focus on Accurate, Efficient Bill Generation
To prevent loss of subscriptions due to billing errors, and to ensure you keep your business cash flow moving, either outsource recurring billing or organize a very focused in-house system and staff.
Prorated accounts, widely varying bill due dates, usage-based charges, and application of all your special offers requires a good deal of attention. It can literally take weeks to generate and verify accurate bills. Any failure in this area will pinch the lifeblood of your company, so be sure you have a reliable process in place at all times.