The subscription business has seen exponential growth since the last couple of years. In fact, according to BusinessWire, “subscription businesses grew revenues about five times faster than S&P 500 company revenues and U.S. retail sales.”
Gartner – world’s leading advisory and Research Company predicts: -
Over the last few years, surprisingly, many companies have begun to adopt the subscription-based business model. These companies that once offered the product and its ownership to the customers changed their way of doing the business. Customers get access to a service instead of full product ownership.
One of the best recent examples of a famous brand that adopted a subscription-based model is Adobe.
Adobe did a great job successfully transitioning itself into a SaaS company.
Adobe products used to update yearly, and the users had to pay every time to keep up with the latest trend. Adobe solved this problem by launching Adobe Creative Cloud Platform, where the users can pay $29.99 to access one product each month or $49.99 to access the entire Adobe Creative Suite.
With the subscription model, users don’t have to pay every time a new product is launched or an old product is updated; instead, they can buy a monthly subscription and access all the latest products.
But, unlike Adobe, several Subscription & Recurring Companies fail to identify their perfect online marketing mix and goals. In this article, we are going to show you the best online marketing channels beneficial for subscription businesses.
Finding the Right Marketing Channel
Finding the right marketing channel can be time consuming and challenging. However, through a strategic and comprehensive plan and continuous testing, you can grow your subscription business online through the right marketing channel.
But, before you get started you need to frame some of the essential questions.
1. Who is your audience?
2. What problem does your subscription product or service solve?
3. What’s your business value?
4. What resources do you already have?
5. What is your position in the current market?
Unless you've sorted out the above questions and found a perfect strategy to overcome future problems that are going to take place, then it's not recommended to market your subscription-based product or service online first.
How to Promote your Subscription Products and Business Online the Right Way
With a high number of subscription businesses all vying to market their products or services among the vast online landscape, it can sometimes feel like fighting a losing battle, especially for those SaaS or subscription businesses that are just starting.
There are plenty of both free and paid ways to market a company online. In this post, we share the right way to promote your subscription business with the help of online marketing and target the right audience.
How to Grow Your Subscription Business with Organic Marketing
Organic marketing refers to the practice of growing your business online without any paid ads, sponsored tweets, or any paid promotions. The organic marketing method includes blog posts, content marketing, guest posting, case-studies, podcasts, live videos, and many other things that we are going to show you in this article.
The organic marketing strategy helps to get customers naturally over time; every subscription business must realize the sooner they start organic marketing, the better. Here are some of the best ways to promote your subscription product or service for free online.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the process of increasing your website’s traffic by ranking higher for search terms related to your business in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). All the organic online marketing is a part of SEO, including the ones that we’ve mentioned in this blog post.
Knowing the white-hat, aka legal strategies to do search engine optimization for your website is essential. There are specific guidelines provided by search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) that a website owner must follow to increase their site’s ranking and overall traffic. You can utilize the SEO process and gradually increase traffic or target audience to your website to get more sales.
Benefits of Search Engine Optimization:
• Increase quality traffic
• Get leads for free
• Grow your business over time
• Get ahead of your competition
• Build brand recognition
Best SEO Tools:
• Google Search Console
• Google Analytics
• Keyword Planner
• Bing Webmaster Tool
2. Blog Post
Blogging is an inexpensive way to promote your product or service online. Your target audience is looking for your product and service online or searching for solutions related to it. Offer the solutions, answer their queries, and provide them with regular updates with blog posts.
It is an effective ways to boost your search engine optimization as Google loves fresh and quality content. It can also help you connect with your site visitors and develop relationships with potential new or existing customers.
Benefits of Blogging:
• Boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
• Get more leads and clients
• Develop relationship with new or existing customers
• Gain wide audience
• Offer value, information, and updates regarding your business to customers
• Create opportunities
Best Blogging Tools:
• Keyword Planner
• Google Docs
3. Content Marketing
Content Marketing is a method of providing free or additional value to your target customers that you already have through a blog post, e-books, emails, infographics, and videos. Content marketing aims to stimulate your customers' interests for your products or services rather than promoting your whole brand.
Content marketing is the foundation of organic marketing; without content marketing, it'll be tough to grow your subscription business organically, especially if you're in a market where there are more competitors than the actual customers.
Benefits of Content Marketing:
• Increase brand’s visibility over the internet
• Improve brand awareness and recognition
• Build trust and loyalty
• Gain authority and credibility
Best Content Marketing Tools:
• Google Docs
4. Product Review Websites
Review websites have the right presence on Search Engines, get your product listed, and gain some good reviews on the review website to build the brand’s authority and credibility. The reviewers use a combination of online research and product testing before adding a review for a particular product or service.
There are tons of websites where they let your customers add a review about your product or service they previously used. Trustpilot, Yelp, Google My Business - are some of the examples of user-generated review sites. However, there are many industry-specific websites where you can list your business and generate some good reviews about your business.
Benefits of Listing your Product or Service in Reviews Website:
• Instant promotion for free
• Rich snippet schema markup
• Gain legitimate reviews
• Build a reputation
• Increase customer trust, authority, and loyalty
Review Websites for SaaS and Subscription Business
• Finances Online
• IT Central Station
One great way to grow your subscription business is to answer people’s questions related to subscription business on Quora. It is one of the best free ways to promote your subscription product or service to your target audience.
You can publish content, just like LinkedIn content publishing platform Pulse, and attract thousands of target audiences for free.
Benefits of Using Quora:
• Gain exposure to 1 million active Quora users
• Build expertise and authority in your niche
• Crowdsource ideas
• Become an expert
• Learn from others
Quora Niche’s for SaaS and Subscription Business:
• Subscription Management
• Recurring Billing
• Payment Gateway
LinkedIn is known as the social selling channel for SaaS. Most of the people who work in the SaaS industry can be found on LinkedIn. A business can thrive by making a connection to relevant LinkedIn users. A company can engage with their target audience on LinkedIn.
Another reason to use LinkedIn is to showcase your profile, expertise, connections, and recommendations. Your profile demonstrates your credibility in the industry, make sure to add everything, and include recommendations in your LinkedIn profile.
It’s quick and informative for your audience; it can help you grab their attention. Make sure to include text and add a quality picture to make your post stand out among others.
Benefits of Using LinkedIn:
• Join professional groups
• Get recommendations
• Establish your expertise
• Showcase your profile
• Gain business connections
LinkedIn Marketing Tools:
• LinkedIn Plugins
• LinkedIn Small Business
• LinkedIn Navigator
Facebook features can help you connect with your target audience and drive attention towards your subscription product or service. Use Facebook posts, live streaming, stories, videos, memories, and other free features to promote your subscription business and grow your audience.
Come up with quizzes, contests, new creative, and hashtags to engage your target audience and try attracting prospects with these features. Create a Facebook community (Group) of like-minded individuals, use the group as a forum, and answer your group's queries.
Benefits of Using Facebook: -
• Reach billions of users
• Share regular information about your subscription business
• Connect with new and existing customers
• Increase traffic to your site
Facebook Marketing Tools: -
• Facebook Messenger
• Post Planner
All these platforms and promotion strategies will cost you nothing and help you grow your subscription business if done right. In our next part, we will show you how to improve your subscription business using paid online marketing strategies.
How to Grow Your Subscription Business Using Paid Online Marketing Strategies
Paid online marketing is one of the most important things you can do for your subscription business; unfortunately, when you are just starting, you might not have a huge marketing budget. First of all, remember that you don’t need to have a huge marketing budget to make it big in the subscription industry; all you need is the right product.
Since paid marketing is hard and can guarantee short term success, we are going to show only those paid marketing strategies suitable for the subscription business. For example, you don’t want to run ads on Snapchat and hope for better results because it’s not possible. Why? Since your customers don’t use those channels, the correct paid marketing platform should be LinkedIn Ads, and the reason is self-explanatory.
Some crucial online marketing advice that you could apply on your business to make an impact
1. If you’re serious about growing your subscription business, then put some revenue aside to invest back into your business with marketing and advertising.
2. “Testing.” The key to finding the right paid online marketing platform and strategy is to test your ads on different platforms and test different A/B strategies. See what works for you and use it to grow your subscription business.
3. After getting all the data by running paid ads and organic marketing, try to analyze them. See where you can improve or where you are lacking. During the data analysis step, some tools are beneficial. Stata, Visio, Rapid Miner, KNIME, and Excel are all excellent tools for advanced statistical data analysis.
As marketers, we all know that the best way to market online is to be found on Google SERPs (Search Engine Result’s Page) when a user searches for a product or services related to your business. But doing this is a monumental undertaking, and being found for high-volume keywords has become more challenging than ever.
What does it take to promote your subscription business online without waiting for months to improve the rankings on the Google SERPs? Well, the answer is paid marketing. Again, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find success with it if you don’t identify your target audience and the right marketing platform to promote your recurring service. Here are some of the right platforms to advertise your subscription product or service.
1. Google Ads
The massive benefit that Google Ads has in comparison to any other paid marketing platform is its ability to produce fast results! By using proper keywords and the right strategy, you’ll be able to put your ads in front of your customers who are primarily looking for your product or service.
You can try different types of ads based on your product or service and choose from several targeting options. If you have the budget and don’t have time to wait to see the results that other organic marketing can deliver, then Google Ads is for you.
Benefits of Google Ads:
• Faster results
• Measureable results
• Complete control
• Reporting and Tracking
• Brand Recognition
Best Google Ads Tools:
• Keyword planner
• Ad preview and diagnostic tools
• A/B Testing Calculator
2. Google Display Ads
Google Ads can be categorized into two types. Search Ads - where businesses put text ads in the search engine results page (SERP) and Display Ads - where companies place display advertisements on vast networks of websites throughout the web. Google's Display Ads Network is still one of the most effective ways to catch customer interest and generate leads for a business.
Google Display Ads provides the opportunity for a subscription business to display advertising across the web on specific websites and blogs. The Google Display Ads network has over a million websites, videos, and apps that can display ads; Display Ads is one of the best paid online marketing platforms for subscription businesses to extend their product or service reach.
Benefits of Google Display Ads: -
• Google Display Ads builds brand awareness
• Target with custom audiences settings
• Pretty much cost-effective
• Increase your sales
Best Google Display Ads Tools: -
• Keyword Keg
• Shark’s Video Maker
3. Paid Advertising on Review Websites
Software Reviews and Rating websites get millions of traffic every month because they perform very well in the search engine. Your subscription business can take advantage by placing your ads in reviews and comparison websites where you can reach thousands of target audiences looking for a product or service related to your subscription business.
The amount of leads you can collect from these websites, both organically and through paid promotion, is surprising. One of the main goals of a subscription business is to reach the potential target audience and generate leads, but it isn’t easy in this niche. Reviews website is a great way to find your audience and turn them into potential customers.
Review Websites for SaaS and Subscription Business
• Finances Online
• IT Central Station
4. Press Release
A Press Release is an information released by an organization related to its products, services, or any changes within the organization to media-persons such as reporters, publishers, and journalists. A press release aims to officially declare a significant event, new product launch, significant updates, partnership, and any event in the company.
Press Release delivers exceptional results for a subscription or recurring based business model, regardless of its size or profit margins. It is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about subscription-based products or services without spending thousands of dollars to reach targeted customers.
Benefits of Press Release: -
• Reach your existing & target audience
• Build brand reputation by getting mentions from top news websites
• Solid relationship with journalists
• Promote your products or services to millions of readers
• Boost SEO
Best Press Release Distributor Website
• PR Wire
• Business Wire
• News Wire
5. Video Marketing
Video contents are king now, and users have been consuming more video content than text-based content from the last five years. There are also new video platforms where you can promote your product and service for absolutely nothing. The videos can be product descriptions, services-based, tutorials, case studies, promotional, how-to’s, and reviews.
In this article, Video Marketing is listed in paid online promotion strategy; to make the most of this form of advertising, you need to have excellent video equipment that will cost you hundreds of dollars, such as high-quality video recording cameras, external speakers, webcam, tripod, lighting, and video editing software.
Benefits of Video Marketing:
• Increase conversion rates
• Builds trust, authority, and credibility
• Help your customers with product or service tutorial
• Influence buying decisions
Video Marketing Websites:
• Facebook Videos
6. LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network; it has to be one of the effective marketing platforms for subscription businesses. LinkedIn Ads are challenging to master, and I’d recommend you to use the expertise of specialists instead of trying on your own.
You can run different types of Ads campaigns on LinkedIn, which can easily attract new potential clients for your subscription business. If you have a limited budget, try to target a restricted audience on LinkedIn and bid the lowest amount per click. This can help you test and try different strategies, and you may find one working plan.
Benefits of LinkedIn Ads: -
• Target your audience based on interest, profile, and locations
• Create variety of ads
• Customize budget for business
• Connect with professionals in your industry or market
• Leverage leads nurturing possibilities
LinkedIn Marketing Tools:
• LeadGrabber Pro
Reverse Engineering Competitors
Reverse engineering is a process of analyzing a successful existing system, process, or structure that is already there in the market and applying those current systems, methods, or strategies in your own business, product, or service.
There are certainly subscription business companies that are already producing excellent results in the subscription industry. Why not take advantage of the competitors who are doing great and reverse engineer their organic or paid strategy and apply them in your business.
• Exploring existing ideas
• Save marketing cost
• Reconstruct a product or service that is outdated
• Create a reliable model for future reference
Best Competitor Analyzing Tools:
• Google Alerts
• Social Blade
These are some of the most effective paid marketing platforms and strategies for a subscription or recurring based business model. Apply these strategies in your SaaS to increase your signups and reduce your customer churn rates.
Paid and organic marketing both have their benefits and drawbacks. Paid online marketing allows advertisers to reach their target audience instantly and more directly. In contrast, in organic marketing, you need to spend hours on research to craft quality content that ranks higher on search engines and attracts traffic.
Paid marketing can be expensive, whereas organic marketing is free. As a subscription business, you need to utilize both the forms of online marketing to promote your subscription-based product or service. Don’t ever rely on a single marketing channel for leads; usually, paid online marketing puts your subscription business in a much stronger position than organic. Paid marketing takes a lot of tests, reports, data, and experience to master, but once mastered, it can be a massive asset to your subscription business.