Why You Need a Performance-Led Strategy to Reach Subscription Customers

Why You Need a Performance-Led Strategy to Reach Subscription Customers

In the past, subscription services were reserved for newspapers and milk deliveries, now we have the option to enjoy almost everything as a subscription – from entertainment to groceries to fitness classes.

“37% of UK consumers signed up to a new subscription service during lockdown”(WARC)

Direct-to-consumer brands repopularised this model as subscriptions fitted perfectly with their digital models. They saw the opportunity to offer subscriptions either as the center point of their product or an alternative revenue option. As the pandemic has accelerated the need for brands to undertake a direct-to-consumer option, we are seeing an even greater switch to subscription.

“27% of consumers will increase their number of subscriptions in 2021”(Paysafe)

While this option may seem attractive to brands, it’s only as good as the marketing strategy behind it. By understanding why consumer behaviour is driving towards subscription models, we’re able to effectively target and engage with this changing consumer base.

How subscription services meet the demands of the modern consumer:


By offering a service that replaces perishable goods, life becomes even easier. Demands are met before even realising they are needed. The regularity of the product and payment can be adjusted to the needs of the individual. Not only does this prevent waste, but it also provides options for different personas, expanding the consumer base.

The world had a recent wake up call to the importance of disposable necessities when there was a sudden shortage of toilet paper. Who Gives a Crap, a subscription-based toilet paper service, were perfectly placed to restore supplies for unexpectedly desperate customers. The ‘toilet paper that builds toilets’ donates 50% of their profits and managed to make a donation five times larger than the year before during the pandemic. The convenience of never having to worry about that last toilet roll again may have initially attracted a new audience to this service but it’s the brand and what they stand for which will likely keep their customers locked in for the future.


In a competitive market, the service that can provide and predict the best product for the individual will achieve the highest level of success. With the data collection supplied by a long-term digital relationship, as seen with subscription, brands are able to understand the consumer better than ever and personalise their experience.

While everyone has been stuck at home, a personalised care package has proved a source of joy to many, making the subscription box more popular than ever. The subscription box market is predicted to grow 77% by 2022 with a value of over £1 billion and representing 55% of all total subscriptions. Birchbox is often highlighted as one of the leading subscription boxes, and it’s their personalisation that sets them apart. Based on a questionnaire completed on registration, Birchbox provides you with five mini make-up, skincare, body, and hair care products, promising never to send the same item twice. Embracing personalisation and contextualisation, Birchbox is able to continually deliver a new set of products and avoid subscription fatigue.

Brand Building

Another key differentiator demanded by the modern consumer is to build a connection with a brand. A subscription offers a regular interaction with the individual creating an opportunity to improve or build on the relationship. They create greater brand loyalty and will reward companies who stand for more than their profit. For those with an already loyal base, subscription is a no brainer.

With the nation relying on businesses in walking distance, some favourites have been left isolated and at risk of not returning when the customers do. One such example is London based coffee company Grind. While they may not be able to host coffee connoisseurs at their cafes, they have developed a letterbox subscription service delivering compostable Nespresso pods to their loyal customers front door. While other brands may be in limbo, Grind is growing and building relationships with their customers. Their price point may not be the cheapest, but their compostable pods, sleek branding, and store quality coffee, are enough value add to make up the difference.

The demand may be there, but does the right audience know about it? Launching a different revenue model, like subscription, needs its own bespoke marketing strategy to reach, engage, and optimise for the relevant consumers. The overall conversion objective should be the guiding light in any marketing campaign and winning subscription customers is no different.

Here’s our top tips for converting subscription customers:

1 – Utilise specific marketing levers along your journey that trigger subscription customers

Subscription customers will have different demands and interests to other customers. By analysing your existing audience, and understanding their user journeys, you’ll be able to create a perfect user journey to attract similar users.

2 – Harness the data you have on your customers to inform your strategy

Having a customer regularly use your service through a digital portal means you have valuable insight into the success of your products – particularly with subscriptions where there are options. You should constantly be analysing this information and using it to inform your ongoing strategy.

3 – Adapt your messaging to entice subscription customers

Whether this is offering incentives, promotions, or reengaging with different products, your messaging should be tested and optimised to drive conversions.

4 – Consider the lifetime value of your customer from the first point of contact

Some customers may only be interested in the free trial, a successful campaign will be able to identify and target those with a higher lifetime value. You should be dedicating your resources to reach those valuable customers, even if the initial cost per acquisition may appear higher.

To hear more about our bespoke marketing solutions, performance marketing, and how we’ve driven subscribers for world-leading brands get in touch.