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How to Create a Successful Subscription Box Business

More than 1 in 4 Brits (27.4%) were subscribed to at least one subscription box service in 2018 (Finder.com).

The subscription box industry has taken the world by storm with its insane popularity over the past 5 years.

It has turned regular hobbyists into millionaires for sharing their passion with loyal fans who like to receive their personalised content.

Subscription box businesses have the capability to go from a small Facebook community to a large eCommerce store within months if the business owner knows the key steps to launching the business.

Businesses like Glossy Box started off small and now require over 300+ staff members to source, produce and distribute subscription boxes in over 10 countries.

It started off in 2011 and used the steps outlined below to become what it is today.

In this article you will discover the key tips that help skyrocket small businesses to worldwide subscription services like Glossy Box.

glossy box

Similar to competition websites, which we have an extensive amount of knowledge on, gaining a community is the hardest part.

It’s great to have an amazing product, but you need to target the correct demographic to sell via digital means, such as social media or cold emails.

Now, let’s delve into the key steps that can help transform small subscription businesses into global powerhouses.

What you will find in this subscription box guide

Step 1 – Get a professional eCommerce subscription platform developed.

Step 2 – Boost your organic social media outreach.

Step 3 – Personalise your boxes & add Xmas treats.

Step 4 – Create a community social media group for subscribers.

Step 5 – Build anticipation for box releases each month.

Step 1 – Get a professional eCommerce subscription platform developed.

It may seem unnecessary if you are just starting out to have a professional eCommerce website developed.

There are three main reasons to getting a website which this article will discuss:

1. Growing your business with a website is easier.

If you currently have below 50 subscribers for example, you may not think you need a website.

If you had a website designed it would start off with 0 users.

At this point search engines won’t rank the website highly because it has no proof from data that this website is useful to its users.

Google ranks websites in search results based on a multitude of metrics, including average time a user spent on the website in one visit.

If you have a professionally designed website vs a website you created yourself in Wix, users will spend more time on the website.

Therefore search engines will rank your website higher in the search results for queries like “Subscription box for F1 fans”.

But you still need to get users onto the website to provide Google with data.

Here’s where your 50 subscribers come in.

Create a social media post to advertise your new professional website.

This starts the snowball effect for your website because these users will typically spend more time viewing the website as they have previously interacted with you.

To continue growing using a website you need to put new content out, in the form of pages like about us, or blog posts.

This allows search engines to learn about your website and promote your website on search queries it thinks are relevant to what you provide.

2. Facilitating subscriptions automatically will allow your business to scale faster.

Imagine how much time you’d be able to reinvest into the business if you didn’t have to facilitate the subscription payment process yourself.

An eCommerce platform can sort all that for you and even generate useful reports to evaluate your profit, subscriber numbers and more.

Users will be able to subscribe, freeze subscriptions and cancel subscriptions without ever having to contact you.

This enables you to have more free time to spend improving the business.

An advantage of having a website using WooCommerce is managing subscriptions easily.

Through the dashboard you have functionality to add subscriptions, in the instance somebody won a giveaway.

You can suspend subscriptions if somebody directly contacts you and is no longer interested.

There is a great amount of functionality that can be used to excel your administration side of the business, which often takes up a massive amount of time without business owners realising.

3. The ability to add newsletter functionality.

Newsletters, such as MailChimp, can inform your customer of sales, new subscription boxes or provide a platform to advertise any news that may interest the reader based on your niche.

A newsletter is similar to a website in the sense that its your platform.

You can post however you like which a lot of business owners find as a website’s main selling point.

No more Twitter character limits.

The benefit of having a professionally designed website is that a newsletter can be easily integrated into the website to incentivise users to subscribe upon checkout.

If you use online shopping there’s a 99% chance you will have bought something and received promotional emails afterwards.

This is the benefit of a newsletter because it retargets customers who have previously subscribed to one of your boxes, so will be more likely than a new user from Google or social media to read your newsletter or be attracted to a sale you promote.

Step 2 – Boost your organic social media outreach.

When you get your professional website, the next step is to harness the full potential of social media to grow your audience.

This section will explore specific tips for subscription box businesses to drive traffic from social media to subscribe on the website.

The first tip is you need to be posting what you’ve sent out for previous months.

This will give customers an idea as to what they can expect when they subscribe.

Don’t ruin the surprise and post immediately after you’ve sent the boxes though, as that is often the thrill of not knowing what you’re going to get that your subscribers love!

Bonus points for including a review for social proof of current subscribers loving the previous boxes.

The days of following hundreds of accounts who follow an influencer in your niche is over due to social media limiting follows per minute.

The next best thing is to use influencer marketing to get to your target audience by paying for a post / story.

If you’re just starting out don’t spend a month’s wages on this, but giving it a try on an account with 10k – 50k followers could provide an estimate on how well this will work for your business.

Ensure that the account doesn’t just spam their feed with promotions, or their followers will likely ignore your post / story.

This will get your brand out to the best possible audience and hopefully either gain a bigger audience on your own social media or convert some users to subscribe on your website.

Furthermore, promoting the backstory to creating each month’s box would provide a good opportunity for a reel / short video content.

Another amazing way to advertise your previous boxes to new customers and it will encourage current subscribers to view your social media each month for the backstory to what they have received.

Interested further in how social media can accelerate your business growth? Read our extensive award-winning social media guide here.

Step 3 – Personalise your boxes & add Xmas treats.

Personalisation is one of the best ways to maintain your subscribers.

It’s one thing to get somebody to subscribe, but keeping them enjoying your content and most importantly telling their friends about it is much harder.

That’s why this section goes through a useful strategy to keep subscribers interested.

If you work in the mindset that each box you send out is unique rather than just a bulk shipment of products being dispatched each month, you’ll easily grow your subscription box business. 

There are a few method of personalisation that you can implement to give your customers the feeling that their subscription matters to you.

Firstly, including a personalised handwritten note in each box is a great way to show you care.

Bonus points for writing To (Customer Name).

This is a great way at the start of the business to get loyal subscribers.

However, this method isn’t scalable when you reach 100+ subscribers as you’d be spending a significant amount of time writing letters.

Something that is more scalable is to include a small extra gift in a box when it’s the subscriber’s birthday.

You can get this information using your website when they subscribe and export to an Excel sheet. A small gesture such as that will show that you are grateful for their subscription.

If you already have a large amount of subscribers or lack the time to send handwritten notes / birthday treats you can send something a little extra in a December box.

Why not add a bauble with your logo on it?

Chances are they will put it on their Christmas tree for guests and social media posts to see.

Little innovate ideas like this will help push your brand and keep subscribers interested.

Step 4 – Create a community social media group for subscribers.

A community social media group for your subscribers is an amazing way to keep an engaged community.

There are a few reasons why you should create a group with as many of your subscribers as possible.

The first being they can interact with each other and share their experiences / interests with the group. Even if the conversation goes off topic.

It is still beneficial because each time somebody checks the group they are interacting with your brand, so make sure you name the group appropriately e.g. “Jason’s Coffee Subscription Enthusiasts”.

Try to post as much as you can yourself to create discussion around the content of the boxes or your niche area.

This is your chance to ask people for feedback which you can use in social media posts to gain new subscribers for your business.

If any news or interesting articles are posted in your niche subscription box area ensure you post them in your group.

Subscribers will continue to check the group for new updates instead of disregarding the notifications or leaving the group because it doesn’t provide them with anything.

You need to ensure that you are giving each member a reason to stay in the group, so constantly evaluate what content your subscribers would enjoy and always try to engage discussion with phrases such as “What do you think? Leave a comment”.

Step 5 – Build anticipation for box releases.

Creating anticipation for the monthly delivery of the subscription box is ESSENTIAL to business growth.

If you subscribers don’t remember the box is coming, they likely won’t engage with it when it arrives.

By posting teasers on your website, social media group and social media pages you can create excitement for what’s to come.

Typically subscription boxes have multiple small items each month. Build anticipation by releasing a hint about one item.

This is even more important if you are considering creating a new subscription box on your website.

If you don’t build anticipation, you won’t get the launch reaction you’d hope for because nobody has been waiting for it.

Countdowns are an amazing way of building anticipation.

Do you have something extra special in your December box?

Design a countdown video for your website and social media to remind subscribers about their incoming delivery.

A similar post to this would serve perfectly.

Bright colours, clear message of what to expect and when to expect it.

If you create a countdown every month it will become saturated and your subscribers will ignore it.

But, in moderation it’s a great tool that should be utilised by every subscription box business.

If you are in need for a professional eCommerce website – Check out our startup websites page.

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