Why You Need To Build Your Email List As A Subscription Business

Building a good email marketing list can support the growth of your subscription business

Building a good email marketing list can support the growth of your subscription business

Are you looking to be a successful subscription business in 2015? Then you’ll need an email list to develop leads, sell your subscription business and upsell to your current subscribers. In fact, the commercial success of your business could rely on your ability to grow and maintain an email marketing list.

Why Is Email Marketing So Important?

Many businesses believe that email lists are an expensive and time consuming endeavour. Yet in truth they can save time and cut the customer acquisition costs for your subscribers. This will give you more long term funds for you to grow your business and invest in technology and other customer service needs required.

One of the principle benefits of email marketing is that it is permissible. That means that customers actually want to receive your content and are actively looking at your promotions. This is backed up by research. Merckle found in a customer survey, that 74% of consumers prefer promotional material to be sent to an email address than any other customer interaction point (telephone, door, mail, etc).

Therefore, you can gain a significant advantage in gaining new customers and selling products to your existing customers.

At the same time, email users are more active than users on Facebook or Twitter. Statistics show that 91% of email accounts are checked every day for new messages. Social media performs particularly badly. Only 11% of accounts are active every day and while Facebook performs significantly better; only 66% of registered users check their status daily.

Therefore, you have a higher chance of getting your message to a targeted audience who are interested in your marketing message and the services you offer through email marketing.

Likewise, when you’ve reached that audience, it is going to return better results. Research has stated that only 1% of all online sales can be attributed to social media. In contrast, 13% of all online sales can be attributed to email marketing. Email marketing is actually the second best performer after organic searches.

LinkedIn is also a particularly poor seller as no users like to receive promotional material through the social media platform.

Not Just For New Customers

As well as selling your subscription service to potential customers, you can also use email marketing to sell add-on services, complimentary products or advertise affiliate products. This helps you to earn more money from your existing customers who are easier and cheaper to sell to.

It can also be used to bring back customers who have left your subscription business as it is unlikely that they have unsubscribed from your mailing list at the same time.

Some Rules

To be effective at email marketing you have to actually ensure that you are following several international laws. Here are some of those rules for you to consider:

  • Subscribers have to state they want to receive your marketing messages. Pre-ticked acceptance does not demonstrate this. It is therefore best to use a double opt-in process.
  • You must provide an unsubscribe link, physical address and a way to contact you via email.
  • You cannot cold email an individual.
  • Sole traders and partners count as individuals, even if you are selling something to their business.
  • If there are any personal details in the email address (e.g. doe@company.com) they cannot be cold emailed, even if they are part of a limited company.

Conclusion

Email marketing is an effective way to grow your online subscription business. It helps to reduce your costs, improve returns on investment and will be received better by your audience. Therefore, for little effort you can improve your subscription business.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

4 Subscription Billing Mistakes You Need To Avoid

ID-100146108When you are managing a subscription business you will face many challenges. Customer acquisition and retention are normally the prime concern for many. However, numerous SaaS start-ups believe billing to also be a major concern that confuses them and lowers margins.

Your SaaS business depends on the subscriptions from users to generate the majority of your revenue. Without an efficient system to collect the subscriptions, you can expect high cancelations and poor uptake of higher level or add on services.

Therefore, you need to establish steps so users understand the recurrent billing pricing and are encouraged to pay on time to maintain your business’ cash flow.

The problem is that many SaaS businesses make several mistakes in their attempts to regularly bill clients. Here are some of the common mistakes made:

1. Making No Reference To The Charges

Customers need to know the reason why they are being billed, the amount they need to pay and when it should be paid by. If the charges are related to a renewal, upgrade or special offer, you’ll also need to inform the customer and this is best done via email.

It is best practice not to send billing charges through a generic email informing the customer that their credit card will be debited a certain amount. Instead, put your customer at ease by providing as much information as possible about the billing.

2. Sending The Receipt After Processing The Charges

You should always attempt to make the client aware they are being billed, before the payment is due to be charged to their account. This means that you should be sending a friendly reminder and an invoice prior to the renewal date.

If you don’t do this, then you could end up wasting funds processing refunds for clients who don’t wish to continue with the subscription. Alternatively, you could be given a chargeback request. You’ll also suffer from a damaged reputation as people will find this dishonest.

3. Poor Customer Support

Customers aren’t as price sensitive as some businesses make out. Many consumers will prefer to buy from a company with a good reputation and excellent customer service even if the service is offered cheaper elsewhere.

You need to put as much effort and funds into your SaaS customer service team as you would in the development, distribution and marketing. The customer service team can be worth the investment by helping to retain clients for longer, increasing their life time value and a contributing factor in clients deciding to upgrade or buy additional services from your subscription business.

To help with customer service, create guides on how to troubleshoot most problems and have them available on your website. You should also employ 24/7 customer support through all communication mediums like email, phone, online chat and even social media.

4. No Marketing Copy In Your Invoice

Finally, you should also promote other services and deals that you are currently offering customers on your invoices. This is a great way to build sales of complimentary services. It is far easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new customer and therefore your business can grow faster by offering great deals to those already known to the business.

Conclusion

There are several mistakes that SaaS subscription businesses are making in their online invoicing process. One of the best ways to combat this is to use a system that can process the subscription billing for you. Therefore, you won’t make the same mistakes as other businesses and you’ll see an improvement in retention and customer lifetime value without much effort.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How Content Marketing Can Help You Build Your Subscription Business

word-cloud-661058_1280Content marketing is one of the best solutions for generating traffic to your subscription business. It has the power to draw in traffic for the short term as well as for years to come. It also has the power to inform visitors to your site of your expertise and the power of the services that you offer.

This article explains how content marketing can benefit your subscription business and the best practices for your own campaign.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is any marketing that involves creating and sharing media and publishing content to acquire and retain customers. The majority of today’s marketers tend to consider blogging as one of the main aspects of content marketing. However, other content such as videos, podcasts and infographics can also be counted as types of content marketing.

Some individuals will also include content on social media as part of content marketing campaigns. This is because similar processes to create and share content are used in social media as blogging. Also, many content pieces are shared across social media.

What Are The Advantages Of Content Marketing?

There are numerous advantages to content marketing. Firstly, blogging and other mediums give you a form of rich data which allows you to demonstrate your expertise and develop a bond of trust between you and your target audience.

Large proportions of consumers and business people (46%) read blogs every day. Blog content is also highly trustworthy (81% of consumers trust blog content) and it sells well (61% of consumers would buy from blog content).

Content marketing can also be used to improve your standing on search engines. By using the right keywords and key phrases, those looking for terms that are business related can found by search engine users in their queries.

For instance, if you run a tax software company, your target market could use the search terms “tax returns” or “tax calculations” in their search queries. If you create content that contains those terms your audience will find links to your blog posts and other content. Research has shown that the more content you produce, the greater your rank will be on search engines and the more pages you will have indexed.

Finally content marketing activities have been proven to have a positive return on investment of 70%.

What Are The Best Practices?

As with any marketing campaign, there are several best practices for your business. Here’s a list of the best practices to implement:

  1. Create Content In Advance: 65% of blogs have been inactive for more than a year. The biggest problem is that the owners don’t create content in advance. Creating a schedule and content weeks before the intended release date can help maintain a steady flow of marketing content.
  2. Provide Valuable Information: Blog readers like to read content that they can use and share. Therefore, make sure the content on your site is not too promotion and contains valuable content.
  3. Use Images and Videos: They are excellent at keeping your content interesting for the reader. Insert images with every post and include videos when you have something relevant to display.
  4. Blog often: Research has shown that those who blog more often get better results. Ensure that you are producing at least one blog post a week; however, more than one every day is often cited as achieving sales regularly.
  5. Ensure quality: Nothing turns potential customers away as having a poorly written and edited blog post. Keep your content clean by making sure you have fully proofed your content so it reads well.

Conclusion

Content marketing is one of the best ways you can generate interest in your brand and start people down your sales path. By including valuable information you can draw people to your website and blog, from social media and through organic searching. These targeted individuals can then share the content you have provided or become leads and eventually customers.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

7 Ways To Promote Your Subscription Business On Social Media

How can you promote your business on social media?

How can you promote your business on social media?

Social media is one of the best ways to promote your business online. Any activity on social media can instantly be seen by thousands, if not tens of thousands of users, each one ready to consume more content and look up deals that are suitable for their needs.

However, social media is not an effective sales channel. Only approximately 1% of all online sales can be attributed to the marketing avenue. It is much better deployed as a relationship builder and the start of the sales funnel rather than the end.

That being said, there are still numerous ways you can use social media to attract your target market. Here are seven of the best ways to promote your subscription business online.

1. Direct Audiences To Offer Pages

Although social media is notoriously bad for selling, an offer is practically the only update that attracts attention. Therefore, every so often you should promote your subscription offers on social media. On Twitter this should be done about once every ten to twenty updates. On other social media channels only promote it once, when the deal starts.

2. Direct Audiences To Blog Content

81% of the US market trusts information that is published on a blog and if written correctly is not overtly promotional. When people read your blogs they will be interested in your expertise and should sign up to your emailing list, where people are more open to promotional content.

You can even create blog posts on sites like LinkedIn that can act as a proof of your industry expertise.

3. Offer Advice

Short snippets of information can provide evidence of your expertise which can persuade them to find out more information about what you offer. The snippets can be very short (on Twitter) or longer (on LinkedIn / Facebook / Google+).

4. Communicate With Your Audience

You should also consider speaking to your audience about events, news and subjects that interest them. Communication is one of the best strategies because users like to interact with brands that have a personality. By regularly communicating you can build trust and develop a relationship that will lead to an eventual sell.

5. Sign People Up to Your Mailing List

Email marketing is much more successful at selling to your target audience because it is a permissible marketing avenue; i.e. the receiver has given authorisation for the company to send marketing materials. If they like your conversations online, they will be highly interested in receiving content from you via email.

6. Advertise Premium Content

If you are offering a subscription service that is based on providing content to those who have paid, then you can advertise new premium content you have created and added to your site. This is highly effective as it demonstrates that you are constantly adding value to your subscription site. This will persuade people to join up when they see you are actively developing your subscription packages.

If you are a software provider, constantly noting when you have made changes to your software such as new features, fixed bugs, etc. will have a similar impact.

7. Advertise Others

By sharing content that has been produced by others who are not direct competitors, you can develop friendships across social media. The more you share, the more that will be shared by other brands that will reach new audiences and attract potential customers to your social media profiles and website.

Conclusion

Social media is one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. However, it is not always best to sell your subscription packages directly. It is more effective to demonstrate your expertise and move your audiences through a carefully planned sales funnel. Then you can grow your subscription business and offer more features and content.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

How Prioritising Your Business Goals Will Help Your Subscription Business

Growing your subscription business can be taken in small steps when you prioritise your business goals properly.

Growing your subscription business can be taken in small steps when you prioritise your business goals properly.

When you are building your subscription business it can be easy to forget your business goals or just amalgamate them into a single aspiration to expand. While this may be an important end result for your business, it is not really a sustainable goal.

What Is A Sustainable Business Goal?

A sustainable business goal is something that can give you focus, direction and an end point. Usually, business leaders use the acronym SMART to create a series of business goals to develop their organisation further. Creating SMART goals is a brilliant way forward and will allow you to achieve the end result you want (a successful subscription business) while also giving you steps to do so.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART specifically stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. What you should do is write down your goal and check it against the elements of the acronym. For instance, ‘building a bigger business’ doesn’t match many of the SMART requirements. The goal has relevance and could be measurable – but it is not specific (there are no markers to determine the end position), attainable (there is no way to tell if you have achieved the result) or timely (there is no end point).

However, if you stated: ‘I want to add 50 new subscribers in April’ you are creating a SMART goal. The goal is both specific (new subscribers), measurable (50), attainable (gaining new subscribers is part of your business), relevant (subscription is your business model) and timely (it has to be done in April).

Therefore, when you are starting to talk about growing your business, think about measuring that goal against the SMART criteria.

How Do You Go About Prioritising Goals?

Once you have set up your main goal you need to start thinking about activities that will support it. For instance, how are you going to go about growing your business? Is your main marketing activity going to be blogging, social media, email marketing, direct mail, TV adverts, etc? Each one of these then becomes a goal in itself. You could go on to say: “I want to write and publish five new blog posts in April to attract website visitors”. This is again a SMART goal.

And, as you are being timely with your goal setting, you will be able to produce a schedule for your working week. This gives you and your team focus to complete tasks, which in turn will help you achieve a better subscription business.

How Do I Prioritise Tasks?

The major problem with goal setting is the importance of each task. There is no simple way to determine which task has to be done first, only that if a task is required to be completed before another can be started it should be done as soon as possible.

At the same time you should consider what tasks are going to have the greatest impact and complete these early on in the schedule. This is because a quick succession of high performing tasks will motivate you and your team to work harder and could improve the results from the other tasks that are expected to have poorer results.

Conclusion

Goal setting is an important part of running your subscription business. Set yourself SMART goals to define exactly what you want to achieve, and then prioritise these so you and your business team have focus. Then you can start to grow your business and expand.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Build And Maintain Your Subscriber List In 2015

sylvester-534233_1280If your subscription business is going to be a success in 2015, it will need to grow and maintain a healthy subscriber list. There are many routes your business can take to achieve this. Some of these are rather simple to undertake and require limited effort; others require greater input but can yield better returns.

So here is the definitive list on how you can build and maintain a subscriber list that will grow your business in 2015.

1. Incorporate A Strong Digital Sales Funnel

During 2014, the amount of goods and services being bought online grew 13.8% in the US and 18.4% worldwide. This makes the potential value in developing a digital marketing strategy highly valuable. Digital marketing channels are not about developing one strong point of contact but about building a process which attracts an audience and then develops a relationship with them from first contact right through to after sales.

The advantages of a digital sales funnel is that not only does it attract new customers but it also allows you to use the power of referral marketing; to spread news of your services to friends and family of current users. The contacts of your best customers are also likely to be highly interested in your services and therefore more liable to become customers.

There are many elements to a strong digital sales funnel, including blogging, social media, email marketing and landing pages.

2. Keep In Contact With Your Subscribers

When you are selling to your target audience you are looking to build trust with your clients. Once you’ve gained their trust and they’ve converted you shouldn’t end your contact there. Email marketing is one of the best options for maintaining contact, but at the same time there are other options. Regular phone calls or dropping into their office (if they are local) are excellent ways to keep those bonds of trust strong.

Try to keep your relationship going with regular meetings but you have to be careful not to overload yourself. So get your diary out and plan time every week to connect with your audience. One of these times might be going to networking events in your local area or signing up to a trade show.

3. Keep Developing Your Product

Businesses throughout the world have failed in the recent decade due to one very specific cause: a lack of adapting their business to new environments.

One of the best examples is the collapse of Blockbusters. The video rental store was once a staple for families in many countries for their Friday and Saturday night entertainment. However, other companies such as Netflix began to offer consumers easier ways to receive rentals, starting with home delivery before moving onto video streaming and then blockbuster’s market share dropped. Eventually they got their business model right and started operating a video streaming service, but it was far too late to break into the market with those who had already established a presence – some of them like Netflix with a subscription model.

Part of the reason for this failure on Blockbuster’s account was to not adopt new digital practices their competitors were using. You can avoid the same, by looking at new ways to deliver your product and ensure you have the market advantage, to attract the customers who are the first adopters.

Conclusion

Your business in 2015 could be one of the best on the subscription market. All you have to do is ensure that you are communicating with your audience and deliver your products to the market in new and innovative ways.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

How To Identify Your Target Customer In A Subscription Based Business

ID-100144308If you want any business to be successful, you have to ensure you reach out to the correct audience. If you aren’t, then you could have a lower rate of return and poor customer retention rates. This could lower your profits and possibly mean your subscription based business is running at a loss.

Learning who your target customer is and how to engage with them through whatever marketing tactics you plan to use is an important step. Identifying your target audience isn’t as easy as stating it’s a certain group of individuals. Instead you have to ask yourself a set of questions to define your target audience.

So what questions must you ask and how do these help your business from identifying your ideal subscription customers?

1. What Solutions Do You Offer?

The first step in the process is to identify what the problem is that your subscription business solves. When you have discovered what you are offering, then you can start to work out who is going to benefit the most from your product.

2. Who Is Your Customer?

This is the part where you describe in detail who your customer is. This doesn’t need to be a real person, but it helps to create someone for your marketing team to imagine they are talking to. To help in this process, start by listing all the different types of customers that experience problems your product solves. Then group these customers by certain criteria (i.e. location, income, reading habits, etc).

Once finished you should start to see patterns. This is how you construct your average customer. Give them a name, age and a family to help bring this customer to life.

3. What Is To Gain From Your Offer?

You need to ask yourself two main questions:

  • Who suffers the most from these problems?
  • Who will lose the most by not dealing with these issues?

Then you need to demonstrate that the cost of not dealing with the issues will be greater than the cost of buying your product to solve them. If you can prove this, your sales pitch will be very compelling.

It is important to consider aspects like emotional upheaval, stress and reputation when answering this question. Research has often found that customers don’t mind paying a higher price for good service as it is the total value that they consider more important.

4. What Is Your Market Like?

Today’s global market is niche. There are almost unlimited choices for us when it comes to products and services. The web is a perfect platform for this. Now you can be ultra niche to deliver more personalised packages to a select group of online customers.

Therefore, now is the time to segment your market further and build on your customer profile. For instance:

  • Define the exact profession of the target market.
  • Where are they based?
  • What type of person are they? Risk taker, friendly…?

5. What Skills Does Your Company Have?

Within your organisation, whether large or small, you will have employees with certain skills and knowledge that will be highly valuable. This could be someone who has worked with your ideal customer, is great on social media or possesses expert knowledge of a certain location.

Whatever your knowledge and skills, you should use these to create a focus on those potential customers who share similar skills and knowledge. These people are more likely to speak to someone who has similarities and therefore, they could be your greatest asset.

6. Your Competition

Then you need to look at your market and see what else is available and who they are targeting. For instance, is there a similar accountancy market designed for small recruitment businesses? If so, then you might want to avoid going up against those who have already established a reputation as it can be difficult.

Alternatively, if they don’t offer a good service, then perhaps you can snatch the market from them by learning what they are doing wrong.

Conclusion

Target your customers correctly and you’ll have an easier time attracting subscribers to your business. Use the list of questions above to refine your understanding of your target audience and achieve a better rate of conversions, ROI and profit.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net