Personalization 101: How to Tailor Your Subscription Services

It’s official: the subscription economy is booming. Recent statistics show that the revenue of the average subscription business is growing 30 - 50% per year: a huge figure. It’s estimated that the global subscription market will increase from just over $4 million in 2021 to almost $8 million by 2025.

To maximize market share in this fast-growing industry, one thing is clear: personalization is more important than ever. Key to reducing subscriber churn and increasing stability, personalization is not only appreciated, it’s now expected. Research from Epsilon, for example, demonstrates that consumers are much more likely to do business with a company that prioritizes personalization (out of the 1000 consumers surveyed, 90% of respondents found personalization an appealing selling point, and 80% were more likely to choose a subscription service that offered personalized experiences).

There are many ways to personalize a user’s experience at various stages of their journey. Here’s how to get started.

Personalization 101: Delve into Data

It should come as no surprise that the first step in any plan to personalize user experience starts with a good ol’ deep dive into data. Each and every interaction with a customer – at any point in their journey – creates an opportunity to gather valuable data and fine-tune services accordingly. We only have to look to streaming platforms like Netflix to see a great example of this principle in motion: they serve customers content based on their history and preferences, curating a tailored collection of recommended content that makes each customer feel unique, appreciated and well looked after.

Whatever kind of business you run, you can enhance your service through special offers for key customers, as well as engaging with them on a deeper level by tailoring communications and content based on their purchase history, correspondence and selected preferences.

Work on User Experience

Whilst it’s great news that the subscription economy is only going to continue to grow, this does mean that business owners will experience tougher competition as years go by. It’s more important than ever, therefore, to enhance every aspect of the user journey: from ensuring that your website or app is optimized for mobile devices, to tweaking any errors, and making sure your checkout is well-branded and seamless in terms of functionality.

Anticipation is a vital element of this process – because consumers now expect businesses to know what they want without them having to ask (and perhaps even before they themselves know what they want!). Unpicking customer intent can be tricky, but regular data collection and analysis will light the way: and, with the correct forms of intelligence at your fingertips (such as purchase history and customer segmentation information), you can ensure that your communications are individually tailored (more on that below). Making the right offers at exactly the right time is a winning combination, and can have a significant and memorable impact on each customer.

Personalize Your Marketing

Communications preferences are a bigger deal than ever: not only because of data security, but also engagement. Customers want to hear from you – but only on their terms.

For this to work, you really need to put yourself in their shoes. Sure, regular updates to your website might be easiest for you, but is that how your customers really want to hear about your news? Turn to the data that you’ve been gathering throughout your sales and marketing history, and find out how each customer would prefer to be contacted.

In addition, think about which channels are most appropriate for personalization. A 2019 Evergage survey assessed personalization, specifically, and ranked the various mediums as follows:

  • Email (78%)

  • Website (58%)

  • In person (42%)

  • Online advertising (35%)

  • App (28%)

By comparing your customers’ preferences with the forms of communication that are available to you, you should be able to develop a clear (and unique) picture of how each one would like to be contacted – and then you can set about personalizing those comms experiences.

Personalization 101, Final Tip: Create Tailored Solutions

The rise in popularity of subscription businesses like StitchFix – where a stylist curates a box of clothes according to the individual customer's likes and dislikes - highlights an important new trend: that personalization is being extended not only to the branding and communications aspect of a service, but to the service itself. Whilst not every product lends itself to this, it’s important for business owners to find ways to innovate – so that each customer feels they’re receiving something that has been custom-designed for them.

Bundling is one such way for businesses to create tailored solutions for customers. This is nothing new – telecoms companies have been bundling phone and internet together for years, for example – but there are fresh approaches. Apple, for example, have begun bundling products and services together: such as free subscriptions to Apple TV+ with the purchase of an Apple device, or the ability to purchase combinations of products (like Apple TV+ and Apple Music) to create one’s own unique subscription package. There’s also the option of partnering with other providers to create appealing mix-and-match opportunities (get a year of Spotify free if you subscribe to X platform, for instance).

Don’t forget to think local, either. Global companies are becoming more sensitive to the impersonality of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and are tailoring their services with this in mind. YouTube, for example, are starting to offer different plans for different regions – and geo-targeting is ensuring that the variations are specific and nuanced. As location tracking becomes more sophisticated and more companies go global, we expect this concept to grow in popularity, so it’s certainly something to consider.

Billing subscription platforms like Billsby have been designed to adapt and grow in line with your business, with a host of tools – like our lauded Checkout - to help personalize customer experience all included as standard (without requiring you to invest in expensive additional development). Start your free trial today for a sneak peek at the many benefits available to Billsby users!