The Rise of The Subscription Economy 2.0

Introduction

If you’ve not seen our latest webinar ‘The Rise of The Subscription Economy, Part 2’ then you can catch up right now, right here:

For anyone looking for reliable and efficient techniques to scale their app, our webinars provide essential guidance from people with voices of real-world experience. Part 1 was a success, discussing the aspects of onboarding and monetization, but we didn’t have time to go further.

Our latest webinar tackles in-depth the vital issues concerning what comes next, acquisition. retention and the longer-term operation of a subscription app.

As part of a continuing series of panel discussions on the important topics/issues effecting the mobile app world, we invited a group of experts to discuss just how to acquire then retain users when running an app based upon a subscription model.

Acquiring subscription users can tend to be quite expensive, our panel discuss their individual approaches for successful acquisition and retention. Learn exactly what has been their most important lessons when optimising their subscription model and what strategies they may have implemented that ultimately drove that all important customer acquisition and retention.

Our Panelists

Sue Azari is Head of CRM at AllBright, a global members club and digital community for women to network and upskill their careers/businesses. The AllBright Digital app was launched during the pandemic, providing women with networking opportunities, virtual events, and career advice. AllBright was featured on the app store as ‘new apps we love’ in 2021 by Apple.

Hannah Parvaz is Head of Marketing at Uptime, launched in January 2021, Uptime offers its users the big ideas from the world's greatest minds, all packed into 5-minute Knowledge Hacks. Presenting the world's best information on self-help, Uptime has already earned recognition by being named amongst Google’s Best Apps of 2021 and FastCompany’s Best Apps of 2021 as well as also being an Apple’s Editor’s Choice.

Jakub Chour is Head of Growth at HER, one of the world’s biggest dating apps for queer women. With 9 million users globally and a growth rate of 70%, HER are doing something right. The app was featured many times by Apple as ‘Apps we love’ and awarded ‘Apple’s Editor’s Choice’.

What Our Panel Know is Worth Knowing!

The discussion takes a long hard look at running a subscription-based app, specifically the essential factors of acquisition and retention, as well as the sustained and successful operation of just such a model…

Our three panellists come from three very different companies - AllBright and Uptime are relatively new, and HER is more established. All are actively focused on customer acquisition and retention and their views and strategies for both were all similar. When establishing and maintaining which channels work best for customer acquisition and contact, the ethos was test, test and test again. Everyone agrees that testing acquisition strategies is vital and a dedicated budget for that testing is very desirable.

To have a dedicated line within any acquisition budget that's solely for testing for new channels has proved to be extremely useful for growth. In terms of ongoing acquisition channels like paid social, for instance, or PPC, it’s vital to be constantly testing different formats and different copy; creating fresh in-app and web content to complement those strategies and to be working closely with the development teams to adjust content on either side of the subscription firewall.

Given all the recent privacy changes lots of marketing budgets have been scaled back or shifted. The question of how to demonstrate that there is still a need for a marketing budget comes down to more communication about the learnings. Keep your team and your investors informed was the collective answer.

The user experience of their apps is constantly monitored with regular experiments on different parts of each life cycle, to make sure that the app is exactly what people want and need.

In terms of lessons learned, Hannah was keen to share that having patience is a good asset to have on your side. Campaign learnings and lessons do take time, take some time yourself to breathe a little now and then.

It’s a sentiment echoed at AllBright, give your campaigns and you’re testing enough time to optimize. Time being an important commodity, it’s also worth extending usage terms with any brands and partners. Past examples of this include creatives on paid social starting to work and show great efficiencies, only having to stop running when usage agreements end.

AllBright launched in May 2020 - for the first 12 months the focus was very much on acquisition and fast growth of the user base. They have focused heavily on the product experience, working very closely with their in-club and in-app community to gain feedback and using lots of testing strategies to enhance value and reduce churn.

Build a Community

All of our panellists agree that building a community that people want to come back to is essential when thinking about retention of your user base. Hannah felt that constant experimentation and frequently talking to customers was key, as well as building in as many touch points for your audience as possible, allowing you to hear and understand more about them.

This is particularly relevant for a dating app like HER - having a sense of community keeps users returning when they’re not swiping. The nature of the app and the consumer need it meets, means that HER remains in pursuit of new users with most of their efforts going into acquisition through various channels. However, they’ve noticed that approximately 50% of users that have been on the app in the past, are returning and staying with an average retention of approximately 90 days – having returning customers who are loyal presents an opportunity for customer feedback and community.

An app that charges £15 per month such as AllBright may be considered a premium subscription model, so onboarding and guiding a user through the experience of the app itself is vital to keep them engaged and reduce churn. Post sign-up, CRM is a big channel for retention, over the past six months AllBright has worked very heavily on lifecycle programs that help reduce churn of their established customer base.

Building your Email Database as a Tool for Success

The contribution of building your email database as a tool for success can’t be understated either, emails or lead generation campaigns on paid social channels will drive perhaps a third of registered users. Life cycle communications, renewal reminders and other ways to remind your users about the benefits of your app will always counter the dreaded churn.

A product marketing flow with ideas such as newsletters, event calendars, anything that can educate and inform a user, elements like this work well for generating more active users and subscriptions. Stay human, stay relatable and stay accessible are three tips to remember for community building.

Keep Those Users WARM!

Re-marketing to your users through any channel page or CRM should start as soon as your customers come into your app, push notifications, welcome emails, subscription confirmations or deep links. The feeling was very much to employ anything you can to keep users warm, build a relationship and get them familiar with your offering. Building a good relationship with your users obviously has a positive knock-on effect with a big increase in lifetime value.

Closing Questions

Drawing the session to a close, we take questions from the floor with active participation from the viewing audience.

  • Just how do you ensure that your CRM isn’t perceived as too invasive or too spammy?

  • What is the best approach to testing, which tools and platforms do our panellists recommend?

  • Perhaps most essential of all, what are the top tips for securing renewals, at the end of a user’s subscription term, how do you get them coming back for more?

Watch Again or For The First Time!

To find out answers to those questions and to hear more from the panel, simply lick HERE to watch the Webinar - The Rise of The Subscription Economy 2. Dont forget to use the password: Subscription2!

‘The Rise of the Subscription Economy 2’ is just one in a continuing series of our webinars, offering anyone with an app effective guidance and simple advice on how to succeed.

You can also catchup on the first webinar, read our blog and watch again HERE.

Stay tuned for more updates and we’ll keep you posted on all the ways you can make your app the best it can be!

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Mark Greenaway
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