Using influencer marketing to grow your subscription business

The subscription economy is booming. Practically every company in the tech sector is either operating a recurrent revenue model or moving towards one, and it is not hard to see why. Periodic billing gives companies a way to establish predictable cash flow and cut down on seasonal variation.

For subscription-based companies, influencer marketing is becoming increasingly important, just as it is for firms that operate competing payment models. Brands need people embedded in the community to convince their audiences that they should sign up for recurring fees. They don’t want to use direct marketing alone.

Do you want to know how to reach out to influencers on social media platforms in a way that will allow your subscription business to expand? Let’s take a look at the process in detail now.

Find relevant influencers in your niche

If you operate a subscription-based food delivery service, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to reach out to make-up or travel influencers on Instagram. Sure, their audiences eat food, but they are unlikely to be interested in flogging food delivery products. It is not what their audience wants from them.

The best place to start is with a “hashtag search.” You’re looking for social media influencers with audiences that might be interested in your specific niche. For a food delivery company, for instance, you might want to search for the following hashtags:

  • "#healthfood"

  • "#quickmeals"

  • "#cheapfood"

  • "#healthyingredients"

  • "#easyrecipes"

Before long, you’ll discover all the influencers connected with these hashtags, narrowing down the selection. Look for influencers who stand to gain by offering their audiences your subscription services.

If you’re still struggling, don’t forget – you can always see which influencers your competitors are using to grow their subscriber bases — sleuth on what they do to get the low-down on your next target.

Pitch to influencers

Arguably the most critical phase of the process pitching to influencers.

As a first step, find out more about the influencers in your short-list. Consume their content, watch their videos and learn who they are, what they value, and how they operate.

Next, think about how your business aligns with theirs. Let’s say that your health food delivery business is trying to get people to eat better by providing affordable, healthy meals to their door with a minimum amount of prep. You could easily team up with a healthy living coach or somebody who creates content dedicated to making healthy recipes.

How you communicate with influencers matters a lot. Make sure that you are personal and to the point. Make it evident that you have done your research and convince them that you are both on the same page. Avoid copy-paste approaches where possible, spamming everyone in the segment. It doesn’t come across well and most people can see through it.

Most importantly, make sure that you demonstrate how your subscription service benefits the influencers’ audience. Show the influencer how you can improve their quality of life why your product is better than existing pay-as-you-go products. The more you can sell the influencer on the idea, the more convincingly they will promote it.

Other pitching strategies

There are other techniques that you can use to ingratiate yourself with influencers:

  • Offer special discounts that only their audience can get (thereby encouraging higher consumption of their content)

  • Link to influencers on your blog posts

  • Comment on influencers posts on social media sites, both before and during your commercial relationship with them

  • Share their posts with your customers and colleagues on social media

  • Subscribe to their content and respond to their introductory email, using it as a way to introduce yourself and why you’re interested in their channel

  • Respond to questions from influencer audience members, demonstrating expertise where possible

All these strategies help to lay the groundwork with influencers, encouraging reciprocity and the formation of a long-lasting partnership.

How to collaborate with influencers

When it comes to influencers, there are all kinds of ways that you can collaborate with them.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Offer free trials to influencer audience members

  2. Offer free samples of the types of products people can get if they sign up for a subscription

  3. Pay influencers for sponsored posts and segments

  4. Run a competition with your influencer to win your products or services as a prize

  5. Offer them products in exchange for conducting a review

Notice here that aside from the paid promotion, you’re not directly marketing your products. Instead, you’re working to raise awareness of your brand in a way that helps the influencer and your business. Any arrangements must be mutually beneficial.

Manage your campaign

Once an influencer agrees to host your campaign, you need to start tracking results to ensure that they have a positive impact on your subscriber base.

Set goals

First, start by stating your goals from your relationships with the influence. How many additional subscribers do you want the campaign to generate? How fast are you approaching your desired numbers over time?

Conduct tracking and analytics

Next, chart progress. Only by charting your progress will you be able to see whether the influencer strategy is working. Put active tracking and analytics in place. Find tools that tell you when a new subscriber comes through an influencer channel. These include:

  • Google Analytics

  • Mixpanel

  • Heap

  • KissMetrics

  • AppsFlyer

  • Adjust

  • Flurry

  • Google Mobile Analytics

Keep your distance

When working with an influencer, you must keep your distance and allow them to create content around your product naturally. They won’t automatically adopt your brand voice, but that’s okay – you can do that yourself. Influencers are at their most potent when they are free to discuss products frankly and authentically with their audiences. It is how they build trust. In general, you should let them get on with it.

Final thoughts

Remember, if you want to use influencer marketing to grow your subscription business, you have to provide compelling reasons for them to advertise your brand with their audience. Fundamentally, your subscription service must be good. If it isn’t, then you’ll struggle to form lasting relationships with influencers. Remember, it is not in their interest to recommend shoddy products to their audiences.