You’re probably familiar with the fact that going from a one-time transaction to an ongoing relationship with your customers is good for business. It also helps differentiate you from competitors and opens up new revenue channels.
The subscription billing model can be an especially effective tactic for driving recurring revenue growth as it shifts customer focus away from price and toward value, which makes it easier to upsell. And while many businesses are still trying to figure out how they can best leverage the subscription model, others have already achieved impressive results—such as Netflix’s 57% increase in annual recurring revenues since they introduced their streaming service in 2010. Here are four key strategies that can help you reap the same rewards.
Differentiate your offers with multiple subscription plans
There are many ways to differentiate your subscription offers from the pack. One of the most effective is offering a variety of plans. Depending on your business, you can offer different plans to meet different customer needs and preferences, or even create multiple points of entry into your product or service (a free trial is one example).
For example, if you’re selling software that helps people organize their calendars and schedules, it would be helpful for them to know if they have time available during certain hours each day—and where they should spend time to get things done as efficiently as possible. You might decide that there are three types of customers:
- Those who don’t care when they work but want to keep track of what they do. These individuals might be satisfied with a free plan while they figure out whether using this type of software would help them.
- Businesses looking for more comprehensive features and services than what can be found in a free plan. These businesses may want more flexibility but don’t necessarily need sophistication and are looking to lock in a low monthly or annual price point.
- For people who need advanced features like built-in collaboration tools or automatic billing for employees; these companies will likely benefit from more complex billing packages than those offered by competitors.
Create a more connected experience
The first step to building a revenue-driving subscription billing strategy is to integrate your billing system into your product. This will create a more connected experience for customers and make it easier for you to scale up as you grow.
Make sure that the gateway supports recurring billing. You may have heard this referred to as ‘recurring payment’ or ‘subscription’ in your industry, but this means any type of plan where customers pay on an ongoing basis rather than one time only—for example, paying $10 per month instead of $10 one time only. If this isn’t an option for you at all (e.g., because customers can’t handle subscriptions), then you can suggest considering alternative models like “freemium” or “ad-supported”.
Deploy a seamless and easy-to-use checkout flow
The checkout funnel is where many customers drop off, causing you to lose revenue. If a customer is looking for something easy and convenient, they may not have any qualms about paying for it with PayPal or Venmo instead of your preferred payment method.
For example, if you offer your customers the ability to pay via PayPal or Venmo when checking out, a customer may prefer to use Apple Pay instead because it’s easier to pay on their phones. If you offer this option, then they might just go ahead and buy with Apple Pay. And while it might be disappointing that they didn’t pick your preferred option, there’s no reason why you can’t keep them happy through other means as well.
Use strategies to increase the lifetime value
To get the most out of your subscription billing strategy, it’s important to understand how your current customers are using your product. You can use data on customer lifetime value and retention rates to develop strategies for increasing these numbers. A high customer lifetime value means that you’re able to charge more money per subscription and/or increase the number of subscriptions your customers purchase.
Similarly, if you can improve your customer retention rate by even a small amount, it will lead to significant benefits over time as each new user becomes a long-term subscriber rather than just another one-and-done signup.
By keeping these four tips in mind, you can make sure your subscription billing strategy is aligned with your goals and helps you build a strong customer base. It’s important to remember that the success of your business isn’t just about generating revenue—it’s also about building trust with customers who believe they have an ongoing relationship with you as an organization. By making it easy for them to use their subscription services, providing options that fit their needs, and communicating effectively when issues arise (or before they do), you can create loyal customers who become advocates for your brand over time.