Building a subscription business is a great way to grow sales and lower customer acquisition costs. Now that Shopify is directly supporting apps that allow merchants to offer subscriptions it’s an even better way to scale e-commerce businesses. Just getting started with a subscription business? Check out: How to Start a Subscription Business by our friends over at Shopify.
Growing subscriptions, however, can be hard. One extremely effective way is to incentivize influencers to promote your new subscriptions. Here are some do’s and don’ts when building affiliate programs with influencers on subscriptions.
1. Clearly Outline Compensation
Since subscriptions are recurring, make it clear what part of the deal influencers is getting if they successfully make an affiliate sale. Do they get a part of the sale in perpetuity? Meaning, influencers get a portion of the sale as long as the customer continues to purchase? This could be costly long-term if it’s not built into your cost model especially if the collective cart values increase over time. Teams generally structure caps (maximum commissions earned), time frames such as 1 year of commissions can be earned from subscriptions or 1-time affiliate payouts on the first order.
2. Affiliate Software
Sometimes, third-party applications interfere with the carts on e-commerce platforms like Shopify. It’s imperative to test and make sure tracking on each sale is being properly logged and affiliate commissions are tracking appropriately. In addition, make sure affiliate fees are baked into cost models because they often times take a percentage of the sale value.
3. Payout on Time
Setting expectations for payouts to partners is critical. Most complaints from influencers are around payment and getting paid on time. Build good relationships by being transparent and establishing trust. In general, teams should set a specific date where payments are processed. Setting clear expectations with your partners and holding your team to a high standard can set your team up to have a strong and healthy affiliate program.
4. Boost Influencer Posts
A really great way to get attention on your affiliate programs is to boost posts that your influencers are promoting. It is however critical to building the affiliate commissions and paid budgets into your customer acquisition and lifetime value models.
5. Give Long Term Discounts
Subscription is all about loyalty. Build tiers into your subscriptions whereby you incentivize customers and partners. For example, you can give discount codes to customers that subscribe and pay upfront for 3 months. Again, building these economics into your cost model is critical to ensure you aren’t cutting your profit margin too thin.
6. Build Content Around Convenience and Market Your Business Around Subscription
Businesses that benefit from replenishment business models can build content around the convenience of subscriptions. For example, show your customers how easy it is to subscribe and save, or the convenience when subscriptions show up when you run out of the product. Educating your customers can also educate your affiliates to help align content they create around your business and business models.
Companies like Bottomless have perfected this. Subscription businesses that have replenishment models do really well. Therefore teams that are promoting with influencers should consider what the longevity of each customer looks like to their business.
Subscriptions are an incredible business model and bringing your marketing partners and influencers into the process is a great way to grow your revenue. If you’re trying to find strong influencers that will help you convert subscription customers, checkout Dovetale and set up a demo today.