Subscription businesses, like any other business, need to continually attract new customers—and of course, keep their existing customers happy. When businesses exceed all expectations, they may find themselves lauded in the trade press over these results, as AMC Theaters and Spotify were recently. AMC’s Stubs A-List movie ticket subscription service reported signing up over 900,000 subscribers last quarter, just 100,000 short of its one-year goal. Spotify reported reaching 108 million premium subscribers in Q2, representing a 31% increase year-over-year. 

While we can't guarantee results this impressive, Recurly offers a number of very effective tools to support our customers' subscriber acquisition and retention efforts. Read on to learn more about these features and their benefits. Which ones will help you grow your subscription business?  

Increase your subscriber base through coupons

Discounts are a time-tested marketing strategy. After all, who doesn’t love a bargain? And so, Recurly offers an easy-to-use coupon functionality, which includes the ability to create coupons in bulk, each with a unique redemption code. 

Want to A/B split test your offer before you launch it to your prospects? Recurly’s coupon function also provides an excellent means to do just that. Simply create the test offers, send the two different versions to the test population, and when there’s a sufficient response, compare the coupon code redemptions in Recurly to see which version was the highest performer. Then, when launch the full campaign, you’ll know you’re using the version likely to get the best results.  

How coupons can address voluntary churn

As we all know, churn is an ever-present concern for subscription businesses. Subscribers who log in infrequently or who don’t seem to be using your service may be disengaged and at risk of churning. Offering a coupon or other special offer may encourage these subscribers to re-engage with you, reducing churn. Subscribers who do cancel their subscription can be enticed to return. Let these subscribers know you want them back by sending them a coupon for a discount if they resubscribe. Another effective use of coupons is as a way of providing recognition to your most loyal subscribers. Send these subscribers a coupon for a one-time gift, or a sneak preview of a new product or service, to let them know you value their loyalty.

Promote subscriber acquisition with gift subscriptions 

Recurly lets our customers market both gift cards and gift plans via our feature-rich gift subscription capability. This, combined with our coupon feature, make for a powerful promotional toolkit that supports subscription businesses in their acquisition strategies.

Gift subscriptions leverage the enthusiasm of your most loyal subscribers and lower your subscriber acquisition costs. Like refer-a-friend programs, gift subscriptions have an inherent ‘social proof’ that recipients value. Recurly offers two different gift types—cards and plans. Read more about this feature on our website.

Minimize friction with cardless free trials

Some industries find great subscriber acquisition success by offering free trial subscriptions, letting prospects ‘sample’ your subscription service before they commit. But, having to enter payment information for something that’s free can add unnecessary friction, reducing free trial sign-ups. Since we know that a lost prospect is a lost opportunity to acquire a new subscriber, Recurly lets you offer ‘cardless’ free trials which do not require the prospect to provide any payment information. Read more about this feature on our blog

Our research on the effectiveness of subscriber acquisition tactics found that free trials tend to have impressively high conversion rates: 66% for B2B companies and 56.8% for B2C companies. For complete visibility into the success of your subscription trial offer, Recurly provides a Trial Performance Report. Read more about how this report works here

Use data to help you fine-tune your efforts 

For insights on subscriber acquisition and to fine-tune your own efforts to grow your subscriber base, view Recurly’s research which provides broad benchmark data on coupons and free trials, how they’re used and what are their impacts.