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How to Start Your Subscription-Based Business in 7 Easy Steps

How to Start Your Subscription-Based Business in 7 Easy Steps

by Adrian Ababei on Jan 23 2017
Do already vizualize the confidence-boosting number of subscribers that you'll “hook” after just one week? And even the one scored on the first month after the launch?
 
Are you secretly fantasizing about the profits closely related to these “alluring” numbers?
 
Mind you don't plunge too far into the future and get “intoxicated” by your predictions. Mind you don't overlook the “closer to the present” key phases of your business: its pre-launch and its launch!
 
It's in these preliminary steps that lies your business's striking long-term success or maybe its “premature failure”.
 
Now that you've (hopefully) shifted your attention from the final results to the two-step preparation process itself (way too often underestimated), keep reading on how to actually get these 2 steps right.
 
On how to make them “turbocharge” your subscription eCommerce business from its very launch.

 

Pre-launch: Turn It Into a Strategically Structured “Teaser”

 
You're about to write history: your own subscription business' history!
 
It's during pre-launch that you determine, through all the major and minor decisions that you'll make, your business' longevity.
 
Now if it's a story about success that you want to write, make sure to structure your eCommerce business's pre-launch phase as following:

 

1. First, Craft Your "Teaser Page" for Success

 
It's crucial for you to get some sort of early feedback from your prospective subscribers.
 
In this respect, a teaser page is the perfect “means” for you to create “feedback-generating buzz”. Which you can, later on, turn into “pure gold”: use it for fine-tuning your launch!
 
But what is, in fact, a “teaser page”?
 
A truly basic definition would be: it's the much simpler “equivalent” of a standard landing page! It's a definition that our team of developers in Toronto has come up with!
 
What will you accomplish with a teaser page (“with a well-design one”, we need to add)?
 
Several goals, in fact:
 
  • you collect valuable email addresses
  • you get early feedback
  • you build credibility around your soon to be launched business
 
What makes the difference between “just” a teaser page and an efficient one?
 
A whole set of key elements to be included in your teaser page:
 
  • a professional logo: needless to add that your logo will enhance your existing brand's credibility and recognition and establish trust in your unknown business
  • a catchy tagline: keep it short (one line will do), make it encapsulate the “luring essence” of what you're offering to your prospective subscribers
  • suggestive imagery: think it as the first “influencer” that your potential future customers, who know nothing, yet, about your new business, will get in contact with. Turn it into a highly suggestive and nonetheless highly influencing “sneak peek” into your business: carefully choose the right mood-inducing color scheme and the “leading actor” of you image itself. Will you be showcasing an “hypothetical” customer expressing precisely the mood/emotions that you'd like your future subscribers to associate with your products or rather... a “tantalizing” image of a your subscription box itself?
  • a brief description: which should include straightforward answers to all the “why” and “how” questions your future subscribers might ask themselves; keep it succinct: tell them why they should subscribe
  • an email call-to-action: be straightforward, let your readers know exactly what “they're supposed to do” after they've read your “teaser page”. So, go for a clear, more-than-obvious “email call to action” section, instead of a subtle, ambiguous “empty form” whose purpose they should guess instead.

     
  • an email sign up incentive: why should anyone disclose his/her email to an unknown company? Well, come up with a reason why they should, come up with a “temptation”: free subscription, a special discount, you name it. Also, consider rendering your incentive attention-grabbing: “play” with typography, bold colors, with eye-catching boxes that you could place them in, till you've found your “winning formula”. 

     
  • social sharing options: give your subscribers the chance to turn into your businesses' promoters. They might feel like sharing your teaser page so, why saying “No” to some free promotion?
 
Note: consider a pre-launch video, too! Since “video content is king now” (and, even more: about to turn “emperor” sooner than you think) why not turning it into a booster for your own pre-launch strategy. It will help you put a face on your new subscription business and this is huge for building a sense of authenticity around it!

 

2. Next, Optimize It To Perfection

 
Be always ready to tweak, to revise, to replace, to experiment, to test and then to test some more!
 
At this point you can and you're greatly advised to!
 
Get to the point where you cast away all your doubts and where you “know for sure” what business strategy works best for your teaser page. 
 
Depending on the early feedback that you'll get put together your A/B testing email campaigns:
 
  • should you lower your price or this decision doesn't influence your prospective subscribers much?
  • should you you go for a once or twice a month shipping instead?

     
Fine tune your teaser page through constant testing and experimentation till you've built the desired level of attention around your business launch! 

 

3. Build Some Buzz Around Your Upcoming Launch

 
And here you are: 100% sure of your business strategy's efficiency (after all the testing and experimentation steps you've taken). What next?
 
Well, now it's about time you built some buzz around your upcoming launch!
 
How? By co-opting influencers from your niche! 
 
And here is how you do it:
 
1. you first sit down and put together a list of 100, 200, 300 (the no. is up to you) of influencers in your niche: reviewers, social media experts, bloggers... 
 
2. next, you send them, each, emails explaining what your new business is all about. A straightforward approach works best: let them know what you're actually kindly asking them to do for promoting your business. Also, promise them a compensation of some kind, quick after the launch. Thus, you'll show your gratitude for their cooperation!

 
3. you build and constantly update your own social media channels: make a habit of posting topics relevant in your niche; it will gradually help you build your community of followers, a way too valuable “audience” to appeal to on launch day! 
 

4. Craft, Schedule and Send Out Your Email Campaigns

 
Make sure you don't “neglect” your existing subscribers on your “hunt” for potential ones!
 
Get them “teased” and increasingly curious about your launch with periodic email updates: update emails, thank you emails, reminder emails, call to action emails. 
 
Note: mind you don't “annoy” them! Keep your emails to “one per week” increasing frequency to 2-3 times a week, in the weeks just before the launch! 

 

Launch: Break the Suspense and Head Straight to Success

 
Enough with the teasing, with the buzz building, overall: with the strategically prolonged suspense!
 
It's time you launched your subscription-based eCommerce business! 
 
Just a piece of advice: make sure not to rush it, though. Experts with a far richer experience than the one gained by our team of Toronto developers, would advise you to go ahead with the launch only after you've collected at least 2000-5000 of email addresses!
 
And here's how we advise you to structure your launch strategy if you want to aim for success instead of adopting a “spray and pray” method:

 

5. Upgrade Your Teaser Page to a “Legitimate” Landing Page:

 
What does this “upgrade” evolve?
 
Here are some key improvements you could apply to your teaser page for leveling it up to a “standard” eCommerce page:
 
  • add more incentives: make your offer even “harder to resit to”. Go for an additional giveaway, for “early birds” discounts: raise the stakes
  • highlight the retail value: make it really clear for your potential subscribers how much they'll actually save: let the numbers do the "recruiting work" for you! 
  • include more descriptions: speed up their decision making, reveal even more luring details about your offer 
  • switch from email-call-to-action to sales call-to-action: level up from collecting emails to closing sales. Think through the most efficient techniques for crafting and placing your call-to-action button on your landing page

     

6. Reward Your Early Subscribers 

 
Handle these early-adopters with extra care! 
 
They've taken some risks subscribing to an unknown service, so consider shattering some of their doubts or post subscription regrets with some discounts/additional compensations!
 
They've been the first to “reward” your brand with trust from an early start. So, it's common sense that you should find a way of showing your gratitude and turning their “curiosity” into loyalty to your brand.
 
Note: make sure you make your “early subscribers” discounts' terms and conditions visible on your landing page, lest you should face an “avalanche” of complaints from “regular” subscribers claiming their own “early bird” discounts, as well!

 

7. Plan Your Your First and Second Shipment Strategies

 
Important reminder: keep in mind, when you're sending out your first shipment, to include, in addition to those “special early-adopter boxes”, the free of charge ones to all the influencers who will have supported you in the pre-launch phase!
 
As for the second shipment, consider it as “exceptional”, too, and try these strategies for boosting your new subscription business and ensuring its early success:
 
  1. carry out a new round of “influencers wooing”

     
  2. try a new “discount” method for “early birds”, but make sure it's not as tempting as the first one, lest you should lose your early-subscribers' trust, who will legitimately feel “cheated”.
 
 
This is our step-by-step guide to a “success-oriented” launch of a subscription eCommerce business!
 
How about you? Do you have any tips and tricks to share from your own experience as a subscription-based business owner?
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