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What is Subscription Marketing?

by Jerusha Songate. Last updated on February 06, 2024

An in-depth study on everything you need to know about subscription marketing, and how Baremetrics features are designed to help you navigate the subscription economy. 

For marketing a subscription business, it’s critical to find loyal new customers and reduce churn

Achieving long-term success requires a comprehensive plan for subscription marketing and tools that support these efforts with simple automation and detailed data. 

Sign up for our 14-day free trial from Baremetrics and begin your subscription marketing journey.

What is Subscription Marketing? 

Subscription marketing is marketing designed to attract customers to your subscription business.

While subscription marketing leverages traditional marketing tactics, the specific goal is not just to attract customers, but to attract loyal subscribers who are likely to maintain their subscription for a long period. 

To succeed as a subscription marketer, your primary focus has to be on establishing the value of your product and what your brand can offer that others cannot. This helps to improve retention and justifies your price point.

Establishing value requires a solid grasp of your brand voice, a commitment to an excellent user experience, a mix of strategic marketing tactics, and metrics that inform your marketing decisions.

Baremetrics is designed with these needs in mind—and a 14-day free trial can give you a taste of how your business can improve.


Benefits of Subscription Marketing

Subscriptions offer your business a unique opportunity to build a steady stream of recurring revenue and a solid base of loyal customers.

Leveraging a subscription business model lets you automate payment processing and fulfillment, letting you focus your efforts on marketing, product development, and continued growth. 

From the customer perspective, they can access the product from anywhere with only a login, and no licenses or downloads are needed. They also know they can use the product for the period they need it, and if the need stops then they can stop paying. 

They also know that if they’re not receiving the value they are looking for, they can choose to end their subscription, free of contracts or exit fees.

If you’re curious about how your churn stacks up with similar companies, our Open Benchmarks show you average churn rates based on average revenue per user.

Examples of Excellent Subscription Marketing

While there are hundreds of brands out there leveraging the subscription model, there are a few who do it particularly well.

Let’s look at two examples: Dollar Shave Club and Adobe.

Also, check out the Baremetrics page, open startups, where you can see the real financial data of hundreds of startups who are running their business with a subscription model.

1. Dollar Shave Club 

Dollar Shave Club was one of the first businesses to break out of the Amazon e-commerce bubble and offer an automated subscription, paving the way for hundreds of other start-ups and retailers attempting to capture that same success. 

Dollar Shave Club’s first video ad campaign on social media quickly became iconic because of its unique brand voice and refreshing honesty.

Since that initial campaign, they’ve continued to hone and develop their brand voice, and carry it over into their other efforts, including comprehensive content marketing and packaging inserts. 

2. Adobe

In the SaaS space, Adobe recently transitioned their creative software from a one-time license fee to a completely subscription-based model, known as Creative Cloud.

When operating on a one-time license fee Adobe found that many users opted to keep using an old version of the software for years and ignore new releases.

This created a serious gap in product knowledge among their existing customers and a major loss in revenue opportunity. 

Switching to the subscription model allowed Adobe to close this gap. At the same time, it allowed customers to bundle the access to multiple programs, getting a lower rate per access, while simultaneously gaining access to new updates and cloud storage as part of their subscription. 

The SaaS subscription model allowed Adobe to regularly test features, release updates and patches, and nurture a community among their consumer base. 

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Challenges of Subscription Marketing

While recurring revenue is great for your business, asking a customer to pay a recurring fee can be challenging.

In many cases, especially with SaaS businesses, customers will attempt to find a work-around or a free alternative that doesn’t require them to pay a recurring monthly fee.

In consumer products, many shoppers prefer to centralize their shopping to a single retailer, such as Amazon Prime, to reduce the number of fees they pay each month and keep their data more secure. 

One of the biggest challenges of subscription marketing is making sure you have the full picture of where your business stands, and that your pricing is reflective of your product’s value and your market position.

You can’t focus exclusively on customer acquisition, but need to make your primary focus on developing long-term customer relationships that help retention.

By entering every new customer interaction with a focus on offering an excellent, consistent experience, you improve your chances for customer retention and referral from your existing customer base to new members. 

How Baremetrics Can Help Your Subscription Business

Baremetrics cuts through the noise and reveals the insights you need to make profitable decisions that propel the business forward.

With a wide range of features designed exclusively for subscription businesses, Baremetrics gives subscription marketers the data they need to make informed decisions. 

Many SaaS subscriptions start with a free trial—this common tactic lets customers get a sense of the overall user experience and product features before committing to a recurring fee.

With Baremetrics, you can easily access insights about your trial conversions, letting your sales team know if their energy has been well spent and your marketers understand which users are most likely to convert. 

Jerusha Songate

Jerusha has a strong interest in SaaS and finding new business opportunities. She writes for Baremetrics as part of her passion for business journalism.