When building your subscription box business, you have an opportunity every month to delight and impress your subscribers so that they'll continue to buy from you. Re-earning a customer’s discretionary dollars on a monthly basis can be a challenge: how do you keep the experience fresh and new? For boxes that are given as gift subscriptions, the stakes are even higher: shipping that last box of a prepaid gift becomes the moment when the recipient will decide whether or not to subscribe long-term.
But how can you tell if you’re delighting your audience and hitting the mark when it comes to delivering on your product’s promise?
One of the best ways to make sure you are as attuned as possible is to reach out to your subscribers for feedback. They clearly like your product, but if you’re interested in levelling up your business, you need them to fall in love with it. Try these 6 methods for reaching your customers, hearing their ideas, and implementing new strategies to become a subscription box all-star.
An AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," can technically be conducted on any forum but is best known as a phenomenon on Reddit. The goal of an AMA is to engage in real time with those who are interested in you as a celebrity or influencer, but there is nothing stopping you from doing the same thing as a subscription box creator!
Having a live chat session through Slack or Facebook Live can also allow you to engage with people in real time, answering questions about the products you choose, how you choose them, and what plans you have for the future. AMA and going live will most likely have the best results when you have built a solid following as a subscription box and have a few exciting announcements to share with your loyal subscribers.
One of the easiest and most approachable ways to collect feedback is to send out a newsletter email. These can be valuable for getting your customers excited about the box that is on its way to their house and can also be a source of valuable feedback. This strategy for soliciting feedback is nice because you don't have to bombard subscribers with questions. Ask them one or two quick questions, either via an embedded survey or a friendly request for responses to the email. If you’re thinking about tweaking the style or content of your box, this might be the best way to collect customer input before flipping the switch.
Social Media Polling
Another great source for quick feedback and increased engagement with your subscribers is through social media polling. One of the best reasons to use a social media poll is to get new subscribers, rather than just engaging old ones. Many more people will "like" or follow your subscription box than will usually subscribe, so a poll can act a bit like a focus group for you.
Image Source: socialmediaweek.org
Not only does a poll get people to engage with you and collect valuable information, but it also helps your brand be approachable and connected. After a poll that goes very well you can even use social media to ask your followers to reach out to their own networks and share your posts. These small "asks" can be really helpful for discovering who feels connected to your subscription service, even if they haven't committed yet.
Stamped and Addressed Postcards
One of the most "old school" methods for getting feedback is still a great one: include an addressed, stamped postcard with a shipment of your monthly box (sometimes called an insert). This postcard should have as many questions as you like but make sure to include an enthusiastic note that shows your gratitude for your subscribers’ feedback.
Image Source: thepaperboyco.com
The goal is for someone who is unboxing their latest shipment to be able to quickly run through the postcard and drop it right back into the mailbox without dawdling, so consider focusing on multiple-choice questions, though definitely leave space for written comments. This method engages your current subscribers and provides a valuable pulse on their needs and wants, helping you transform their feedback into crowd-pleasing features of your box (that subscribers will happily recommend to friends!). Want to take it high-tech? Include a QR code that links to your survey online.
Short "Exit Surveys"
No one likes to say it, but some subscriptions do come to an end. However, one way to make sure you part ways with customers on great terms is to note their final shipment in your fulfillment software. When you do this, you can add a special postcard survey that is specifically for people who are not continuing their subscription, and the information you receive back on that survey can be invaluable. Knowing that your price point isn't where it needs to be or that the products felt repetitive stings when you first hear it, but ultimately gives you incredible information for winning back customers when they hear about your fabulous new changes in the future!
While not possible for all subscription boxes, if you've noticed that subscribers to your box are very active on the social media comments or through responses to your newsletter, it might be worth taking your "show on the road," so to speak.
Find cities with a high concentration of subscribers and see if they'd like to meet up for an informational talk related to your subscription box, or just a networking happy hour for people who have your box in common. These kinds of events need a critical mass to be successful, but through some of the online mechanisms (see social media polling and AMAs above!), you can get a feel for who would commit to a live meet-up.
Turning Words Into Action
When you compile the feedback you've received, make sure you take those things into consideration as you develop your brand, your box, and your packaging. While there are elements that are core to your subscription box, many parts of your business should be open to feedback and flexible to fit your customers’ needs. By listening closely and then taking action, you can go boldly forth knowing you are delivering the best box that will ultimately earn new and repeating business.