You may have just set up your subscription business or you may be a seasoned subscription box company looking for subscription box marketing ideas that will yield results.  Whichever the case, this guide will help you grow your business.

Growing at a rate of 200% a year since 2011, the subscription box industry is in a rapid state of expansion with more than 10,000 subscription boxes now on the market.

With so many subscription boxes it’s a wonder how most make it through their first year. There’s bound to be some subscription box crossover and fierce competition.  So how do you stand out in a saturated market? How do you make your subscription box stand out and gain new loyal subscribers?

Whether you want to start a subscription box business or you already have a one and need to step up your marketing, this blog post is an absolute must read.


Reach out to social media influencers

To exponentially grow your customer base and bring awareness to your subscription box, getting your boxes in the hands of influential people on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube is essential.


The first thing you need to do is find an influencer who promotes products similar to the ones you offer on their profile.  To get started, message the influencer directly and offer to send them a box in return for an honest review.

Read More: Brand Building for the Instagram Generation

Established Businesses

If your marketing budget is more flexible, the best way to expand your customer base is by starting an affiliate program.  Most subscription companies tend to use ShareASale as it’s one of the most user-friendly and affordable programs out there.  Some other options include Avantlink, Rakuten, and Impact Radius. These tools will simplify the process of paying influencers and bloggers for reviewing or featuring your boxes on their profiles.

If you send a free box to an influencer, make sure they get the same products a paying customer would receive.  Over-hyping your subscription box on social media will only make paying customers feel like they’re getting the short-end of the stick.  And this is not the way to go when you’re trying to establish your business in a value-centric market.

Popular subscription box influencers include:

My Subscription Addiction (@SubscriptionBox)

Subscription Box Mom (@boxmom12)

A Year of Boxes (@AYearofBoxes)


Pay for social media ads

This is one of the best subscription box marketing tools.  Effectively target new customers by paying for ads and sponsored posts on social media.

Subscription Box social media ad facebook

Whether you’re promoting a discount on your box on Instagram or encouraging people to purchase a subscription for a special freebie, using paid social media ads will help you reach your target audience.


Offer free shipping

Consumers’ biggest pet hate is hidden shipping costs.  In fact, a staggering 60% of people abandon their baskets due to shipping and handling fees.

Subscription carts are no different than ordinary ecommerce baskets.  If a subscription advertises their costs and then puts the shipping cost in parenthesis or – even worse – adds it at the checkout basket, they risk losing potential subscribers.  Unclear subscription pricing has knock-on effects on buyer trust, brand credibility and, above all, sales.

The solution is simple.  Add the shipping costs to the price and offer ‘free shipping’ instead.   CPCstrategy found that free shipping is deemed critical by 73% in making a purchase and it encourages 93% of shoppers to make a larger purchase.

Customer-facing costs, however, are only the beginning of shipping and handling.  Subscription businesses also need to ensure the actual service is impeccable.  You may have required less time and money to get repeat purchases due to the nature of the subscription box model, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to invest in keeping your existing customers happy.   Find out more about providing an outstanding fulfilment service here.


Add a social cause to your box

According to Gallup, research has found that when choosing between product of equal value and price, 94% of shoppers will choose the brand connected to a social cause.


Society Socks donates a pair of socks for every dispatched box

So whether you own a sock box or you send delicious snacks monthly, making it a mission to make a donation to the less fortunate for each new subscription will help consumers better connect with your brand and respect what you’re doing.


Build a loyal social media community


Create engaging social media content on instagram, facebook, and twitter to connect with your customers and future customers at a more intimate level.

Best of all, building a social community makes it easier to drive sales.  Here are a few subscription box businesses who have a great social media presence:

Birchbox Instagram feed -subscription box marketing

Instagram feed example - subscription box marketing

What do these instagram profiles have in common?

They don’t show pictures of their boxes.  Instead they focus on creating great content for their audience – which basically gives them more brand awareness.

Content such as recipes, quotes, featured photos and memes help create an experience-focused community around the brand.   Subscription sales don’t feature and only come as by-products of these successful subscription businesses.

User Generated Content

Create a hashtag just for your box and encourage followers and subscribers to use it when they take and post pictures of their box on social.  But don’t stop there.  If their content is good, share, comment and even repost it onto your business account.  Don’t forget to credit them.   This will help people feel involved and valued by your brand and it will create a strong community around your subscription.  The stronger the community, the more committed people will be to investing in longer subscriptions.

Read More on how you can utilise user-generated content


The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the reason subscribers stick around is the sense of excitement they get from opening a box each month.  Creating that excitement through subscription box marketing should be every business’ priority.   From utilising influencers and social media, to ensuring the boxes are nicely packed and timely delivered,  subscription brands are presented with an array of tools to help them succeed in this market.

If you’re just starting out, all successful subscription businesses recommend outsourcing manufacturing and logistics so that you can easily scale from day one and focus on building your brand, not packing.

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