Since 2010, there has been a significant increase in the number of subscription boxes hitting the market, now with a new box dropping nearly every week. The trend began with Birchbox, a subscription beauty box that provides its customers with four or five beauty samples per month, and grew as boxes catering to different demographics and interests were released. In fact, since 2011, the subscription box business has grown 200% per year.
How do we explain the sudden popularity of subscription boxes? From a customer’s standpoint, subscription boxes are a fun and low-risk way to try new items. Most subscription boxes include a combination of full- and sample-sized items, so if a customer doesn’t like one of them, they a) haven’t wasted the full retail price of that item and b) have other items to enjoy.
For companies, offering a subscription box service is a great way to expand customer base and grow lifetime value thanks to recurring payments per customer.
Beyond that, it allows companies to provide a unique experience for their customers‒a monthly box with unknown contents is kind of like a gift, filling the unboxing experience with anticipation and excitement.
With so many benefits to both customers and brands, it’s easy to see why people are so eager to get into the subscription box market.
In such a crowded marketplace, you’re probably wondering how to build brand awareness. You’re in luck! There are plenty of smart ways to build brand awareness for your subscription box, even in a saturated market. Let’s explore six of our favorites.
Build a loyal community on social media
To promote your box, you’ve probably heard that social media should be a key part of your strategy. We’ll repeat that advice again here: you should be using social media!
But a social strategy for your subscription box doesn’t mean posting numerous one-sided sales pitches on your channel hoping one or two of them will stick. Instead, you build social communities and post content that encourages your audience to interact with you and each other around your product.
The kind of content you post will depend on the platform, but think branded inspirational quotes, recipes, tutorials, and appealing images and videos. Your actual subscription box should be displayed sparingly. Remember: you’re not trying to directly advertise, but rather showcase your brand’s value through your content.
Also, don’t be afraid to show off social proof! Feature followers who have mentioned you and share their testimonials. To track when followers tag you, create a unique hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. Then search the hashtag regularly (or on Instagram, subscribe to it) to stay on top of mentions.
Reposting follower photos builds customer loyalty and enhances the trustworthiness of your brand. Not to mention it’s fun!
Reach out to influencers and bloggers
In addition to interacting with your audience on social media, you can build brand awareness outside your usual follower base by working with influencers.
Look for social media influencers, bloggers, and YouTubers who review subscription boxes or whose interests align with the contents of your box. Reach out to themto propose a partnership. Email is usually the best method. For many of them, being an influencer is a job, so don’t balk when they send you a rate sheet.
Remember: if influencer marketing is a route you want to take, be sure to include it as a line item in your advertising budget.
As influencer marketing takes off and contributes to your growth, you can even start to build an affiliate program to further reward influencers for their clout.
Create an affiliate program
When it comes to your influencer relationships, thinking long-term is the best route because creating loyalty can really pay off. One way to nurture your relationships with influencers is by inviting them to join your affiliate program.
Through your affiliate program, you can offer social media influencers, bloggers, and customers a percentage of the sales from the business they bring in. Receiving a commission can be a wonderful incentive for affiliates to amp up promotion of your subscription box.
Build and leverage an email list
Despite the popularity of social media, email remains the largest and most reliable online marketing channel. Email has 2.6 billion unique users, 58% of whom say they check their inboxes first thing in the morning.
Don’t miss out on being their first marketing message of the day!
First you’ll need to build a solid email list. To start, offer a new subscriber discount, using website pop-ups and CTAs on your blog and social media channels to promote it. And remember, you’re never done building an email list. Don’t set a static subscriber goal and stop when you hit it—consistently create new content to draw subscribers in.
Despite having opted in to get your special newsletter discount, new subscribers may not make a purchase right away. Eventually they might, but only if you have a solid email marketing strategy! You can use email to send out sale announcements, new product announcements, abandoned cart discounts, and more. The key here is to keep your brand top of mind until your subscribers are ready to click that ‘Buy’ button.
Craft insightful blog posts
Publishing helpful, information-rich blog posts can help you establish your brand as a leader in your niche. Spend time online in the same places your target customers do—like Quora, Reddit, or Facebook—to understand what questions they’re asking within your area of expertise. Then, use those questions (and your answers to them) to create insightful blog posts.
Along with providing expert information that isn’t readily available elsewhere, your blog posts should contain clear CTAs and links to other content on your website. The ultimate goal is to get people to value the information you provide, stay on your website longer, and eventually become customers!
Lastly, don’t forget to be intentional with SEO so that your blog posts pop up right away when people search related keywords.
Partner with another brand
Linking up with another trusted brand for a co-branding campaign has many benefits. Co-branding is a strategic partnership between brands and forming one could help you build brand awareness within your partner’s customer base, at once growing your market size and theirs.
At a glance, co-branding might seem intimidating and sure to be rife with legalese. But there’s a simple way to embark on your co-branding journey: with package insert advertising. Package insert advertising allows you to purchase ad space inside another brand’s outgoing ecommerce packages so that their customers receive an ad or offer from you along with their order.
Because customers hotly anticipate the arrival of their orders, your package insert ad will get a 100% open rate. Take advantage of your captive audience by using package insert ads to promote offers like free trials, discounts, free shipping, and more.
You can also include package insert ads from other companies in your own subscription box. Selling that ad space will earn you more money per box and you’ll delight your customers by surprising them with an exclusive offer that fits their interests. Win-win!
How to increase brand awareness: simplified
With subscription boxes catering to nearly every demographic, industry, and hobby you can think of, the skyrocketing growth of the subscription box market doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
Getting your subscription box out there among all this competition may take time, but don’t give up. Remember, you don’t have to build a loyal social media following, start an affiliate program, grow your email list, and form brand partnerships all at once! Just follow our tips, work on making a little progress each month, and you’ll propel your box to the next level in no time.