When do you start building loyalty from your subscribers? The second they sign up!

Women working in customer service

Share This Post

Subscription POV #33

By Morten Suhr Hansen

We are living in economically uncertain times and it is still becoming harder and harder to attract new subscribers. Perhaps you have already experienced this in your own subscription business? If not, you are one of the lucky few. This means that the work of building loyalty and a long lifetime for your subscribers is becoming even more important in the coming months.

But when does the work with building loyal subscribers start? The answer is: The second they sign up for their first membership period. We call this process ‘onboarding’; it is fundamentally about successfully getting your subscribers ‘on board’ from the start. Make them feel welcome and give them a sense of the company and the subscription product that they have just purchased.

My assertion is that good onboarding is one of the most important and strongest moves that you can make as a subscription business for building loyalty and retention with subscribers. Nonetheless, I often experience that way too many subscription companies take this job lightly and therefore lose a fantastic possibility to create a lot of value for the customer and for the company itself.

Remove friction and create instant gratification for your subscribers

So, how do you create a good and welcoming experience for new subscribers? Luckily, there are a lot of ways to do so. In the book, “The Membership Economy”, the American subscription expert, Robbie Kellman-Baxter gives his take on the three most important principles of successful onboarding.

  1. Remove friction. Make the entire experience from sign-up to membership as simple and frictionless as possible, and make sure that the subscriber feels as welcome as possible and understands, what he/she has purchased.
  2. Create instant gratification. Make the subscriber use the product right away – and teach them how to use it correctly. Create ‘instant gratification’ and ask for feedback from the subscriber on how to improve the membership.
  3. Reward desired behaviour. Motivate the subscriber to recommend the service to family and friends and quickly start to ‘customize’ the membership experience based on data and the actual behaviour of the subscriber.

Obviously, these are generic recommendations which in any case needs to be translated in to action that fits your subscription company, but allow me to offer an example of a company which has aligned with these principlees and offer a very strong onboarding experience to new subscribers.

Goodiebox offers new subscribers a warm welcome

The good example is Danish Goodiebox which delivers indulgence boxes in nine European countries. Goodiebox has built a special onboarding process, where members receive seven e-mails over seven days and receive targeted communication that explicitly explains their product and mission.

Goodiebox works to create a strong expectation with new members, even before receiving the first box, when they thoroughly illustrate the value of the box and underline the amount of money that you save (removes friction). They also encourage subscribers to share experiences and pictures when receiving the box (creating instant gratification) as well as giving the opportunity to rate products included in the box (creating instant gratification).

In addition, early in the process, Goodiebox offers new members the possibility of recruiting new members and receive a small gift (rewarding desired behaviour).

My clear hypothesis is that the thorough onboarding for the membership with Goodiebox acts as an important part of creating loyalty and longer lifetime for the members of Goodiebox.

Great onboarding creates a true membership feeling

Goodiebox is just one of many good examples of subscription companies working with how they welcome new members. In recent years, we at Subscrybe have received the opportunity to build many exciting welcome programs for all types of subscription companies across different industries. Even so, I do experience that many companies completely overlook this very important aspect of their subscription!

But why is it like that? My experience is that the more traditional and ‘old-fashioned’ a company is acting, the less focus they have on this task. Great onboarding is closely tied with the wish to build a real membership feeling with your customers. A metric associated with ‘Subscription 3.0’ (Check out my e-book “The Subscription Movement” for an elaboration)

So, good onboarding will contribute to creating a true membership feeling that will convert into longer lifetime and an increased lifetime value (CLV). This should be enough that all subscription companies will take onboarding seriously.

Read more Subscription POV here.