Grow Your Subscription Past the Plateau

blog marketing Nov 06, 2022

 

I dreamed of starting a subscription box for 18 months before I launched. I spent that time curating boxes and designing packaging in my mind, imagining how much my customers would love them. I also spent that time figuring out how many subscribers I would need to generate enough recurring revenue to cover my business’s overhead. 

The answer was 100 boxes. When I was ready to launch, I had a goal of reaching 100 subscribers by the end of the first year. 

I launched with 44 subscribers and within three months had reached my goal of 100! After nine months, I had 300 subscribers. I felt incredible. Heck, I felt invincible. 

 

 

I knew I had something people wanted and it looked like it would just continue to grow. 

It didn’t.

I hit a plateau. 

I couldn’t grow beyond 300 subscribers. Even worse, the occasional cancellations that are part of any subscription box business meant my subscriber numbers slowly started to shrink. 

I worried that my subscription box had grown as much as it was going to grow. I wondered if that was as good as it was going to get. Then I got scrappy. I refused to believe I couldn’t continue to grow my subscription box business and gain subscribers. 

I busted through my plateau. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of creativity and hard work. But I did it. Today I have thousands of subscribers. 

 

 

Nearly every subscription box owner will hit a plateau at some point. It happens. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong or that your business can’t continue to grow. Listen to episode 69 of the Launch Your Box podcast to hear how Launch Your Box member Traci broke through a plateau in her subscription box business. 

Let’s talk about four things you can do to grow your subscription past the plateau. 

 

1. Shake things up!  

Our audience gets used to seeing the same things from us all the time. When that happens, our posts no longer stop their scroll. This doesn’t mean you can’t regain your audience’s attention. It just means you need to do something different. 

Your audience wants to see something new, fresh, and fun from you! When you hit a plateau, you simply can’t keep doing the same things and expect to get results. 

 

 

Scroll through your own feed and notice what gets your attention. What is it that makes you stop your scroll? Get inspired!

  • Do short-form video - the algorithm and your audience want it!
  • Do long-form video - go LIVE. 
  • Try new images in your posts. 
  • Consider trying paid ads if you haven’t.

Don’t be afraid to try some things and see how they work. Shaking things up is all about getting your audience’s attention. Have some fun!  

 

2. Reduce churn by increasing your retention rate.  

Do you know your numbers? What are your churn and retention rates? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Knowledge is power and part of growing your subscription is knowing and understanding the data. 

Your churn rate is the percentage of people who cancel their subscriptions each month and your retention rate is the percentage of people who remain subscribers each month. 

A retention rate of 90% or above means you’re doing great. 

If your retention rate is below 90%, there is something you need to fix. Talk to your subscribers about why they are canceling. Again, knowledge is power. If you find out what is causing a higher churn rate, you can make the necessary changes. Check out this blog post for more on retention strategies. 

 

 

Even if your retention rate is more than 90%, try to increase it by 1-2%. A small increase will help you grow. Think about it. If you gain 10 subscribers in a month but also lose 10 subscribers, you’re still not growing. You’re remaining flat. 

An increase of 1-2% in retention can be achieved by reducing involuntary churn. This is churn due to bounced payments rather than a subscriber intentionally canceling. 

You should have automated processes in place to recover bounced payments. However, adding a personal touch can make a HUGE difference, the kind of difference that results in an increased retention rate. 

Add an additional step to your payment recovery process - a personal step. Send a personal email or text message offering to help a subscriber update their credit card. Place a personal phone call to a subscriber asking if you can help them update their payment method so they don’t miss out on the amazing box you planned for them that month. 

 

3. Up the exclusivity factor of your subscription box. 

Can someone buy what’s in your box without being a subscriber? 

If they can, even if they pay a little bit more, why should they subscribe? 

One way to push past a plateau is to up the exclusivity factor of your subscription box. This means reducing the availability of the items that are in your box. 

By removing access to those items, you incentivize people to subscribe. Let your audience know ONLY subscribers will have access to the items in the boxes. 

 

 

I understand that sometimes you have excess items and want to sell them in order to free up cash flow. But in the short term, while you’re working hard to break through that plateau, you might need to sit on those items. 

Remember, your messaging needs to generate feelings of urgency, scarcity, and exclusivity. Put that FOMO to work for you and let your audience know the ONLY way to get certain items is by being a subscriber. 

 

4. Get in front of new audiences. 

I met a woman at my Mastermind earlier this year who said something that really hit me. She said, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Meaning if your business is not growing, it’s dying. 

That may seem dramatic but think about it. Your business needs to continue to grow in order to survive. We all know the statistics about small businesses. Don’t let yours be one of the many that doesn’t survive. 

 

 

In order to grow, you need to get in front of new people. You can’t simply market to the same people over and over again. 

 

Get in front of new audiences by: 

  • Getting on a new platform. If you haven’t tried Pinterest or TikTok or YouTube yet, give one of them a try. 
  • Partnering with someone and getting in front of their audiences. 
  • Targeting new audiences with Facebook Ads. 

 

One of the ways I get in front of new audiences for Launch Your Box is by being a guest on someone else’s podcast. If you have a craft or DIY box, consider teaching inside someone else’s membership. Again, have fun and be creative! 

 

 

Every subscription box business hits a plateau. It’s part of the business. Those subscription box owners who are willing to shake things up, get to know their numbers, and get creative about getting in front of new audiences are the ones who break through the plateaus and continue to grow. 

 

 

Learn from me:

  • Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
  • Launch Your Box: My complete training program walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
  • Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired! 

 

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