4 Tips for Marketing Subscription Businesses in the B2B World
As the rise of the subscription economy continues, B2B businesses across various industries are investing more time and energy into pushing subscription services that produce steady, somewhat passive income. The only problem is that most of these businesses don’t understand how to properly market these services, which ultimately means they’re leaving money on the table. Use the following tips to point your subscription business in the right direction.
1. Start with the Service
In the beginning stages, well before you’re even thinking about marketing, you need to focus on the service. When you think you’re finished, head back to the drawing board and find a way to improve your weakest feature or aspect. When team members begin rationalizing and justifying deficiencies in the service, take a step back and look at those issues from the customer’s perspective.
The service itself must be high quality and fully functional if you want it to work. No level of marketing or advertising can overcome serious deficiencies. Your service either works or it doesn’t. By spending adequate time on the service, you can be confident in your marketing claims and avoid unforeseen hiccups down the road.
2. Incentives are a Must
In the B2B world, incentives are a must for new subscription services. Why else would a business choose your service over a similar one? While a launch promotion or generous incentive may initially cut into your profits, remember that you’re building a service that has very little foundation at the moment. It costs money to build that foundation.
Here’s where you can confidently fall back on the quality and integrity of your service. If you’ve done an adequate job of ensuring everything is highly functional and transparent, then you should be able to offer a free one-month trial with very little hesitancy. You know they’ll sign on after that.
3. Clearly Outline Billing and Cancellation Processes
Savvy buyers aren’t super keen on the idea of subscription services. They know just how easy it is to get stuck on autopilot and continue paying for something they don’t really use. That’s why it’s smart for you to be upfront and honest about the recurring billing and cancellation processes. Customer communication is arguably one of the most important components of a successful subscription business – and this is one area where you can really mess up.
Tell customers what they can expect, how the charge will appear on their billing statement, the date they’ll be billed each month, who to contact if something doesn’t look right, and the proper protocol that must be followed for cancellation. Most customers will thank you for your transparency and feel better about the status of their subscription.
4. Keep Adding Value
The primary culprit for subscription service deterioration is contentment. The moment you think your business model is working is the moment you’ll begin to see declining numbers. See, if a business is going to repeatedly pay the same price for the same services over months and months, they’ll eventually want something more. Instead of waiting for this time to come, deal with it head-on.
During your marketing campaigns and service rollout promotions, hype your product as an evolving service – not a stagnant subscription. Have a plan for continually adding fresh content, materials, and features, and then let the marketplace know how this will work. Guy Nirpaz of the Totango Blog suggests partnering with other businesses and services to add value. There are plenty of options, but make sure your service isn’t stagnant.
Piecing it All Together
Today’s marketplace is flooded with subscription services. As a company with a B2B model, it’s important that you spend a lot of time and energy focusing on ways to improve your service. One of the best ways to enhance the perceived value of your subscription business is to invest in quality marketing and positioning. Use these four tips to get started today!