Thepre-launch phase of building your subscription box is very overwhelmingfor a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s one of the hardest parts to be honest. I meanlook at all the little things you need to do BEFORE you start sending out yourfirst box:
- Finding suppliers
- Building the box
- Finding a damn box
- Getting a logo
- Creating a website
- Getting your sales copy written
- Finding a good shipping provider
- Figuring out what the hell you are going to put in the box in the first place.
- Combine all this with still needing to find customers at the end, it can be really overwhelming!
To helpprovide a little bit of clarity for those of you in the pre-launch phase, Ihave created a list of 25 ways you can build a list or anaudience that you can use to pre launch your subscription box and get yourfirst paying customers.
This isno means exhaustive, nor is it a list of all things free. These are just afew ways you can start building the momentum you need so you can launch to abuzzing vibe instead of just crickets.
25 ideas to pre-launch your subscription box
1 – Run a Contest giving away a free month /lifetime subscription
This is a pretty standard tactic. Most people will launch using a viral contestusing KickoffLabs or Gleam.io. Having a number of free-subscriptions up forgrabs makes the competition seem easier to win for prospective entrants. Makesure email capture is a MUST for entry.
2 – Run Facebook Ads to a landing page that askspeople to opt in to receive first access to your box
Another pretty basic approach. Instead of offering a giveaway, create alanding page using LeadPages or the like and incentivise people to be the firstto get their hands on the box.
3 – Partner with the admin of a Facebook Group /Page and offer their customers an incentive to sign up for the list/launch
I like this one a lot. Partnering with a known group/page is a great way toleverage the authority someone else has built. If you can get them to promoteyour box/list on your behalf you instantly get credibility in the eyes ofpotential customers. Plus this is a great branding tool you can use on yourhomepage later on: “As seen on ___.”
4 – Find email lists in your niche andpurchase an ad.
I’ve personally had a hit and miss on this one. I’ve used services like massivemommy blogs and purchased space on their EDM lists (Internet Marketing fancytalk for Email list). It can be quite expensive however you areguaranteed a certain amount of reach (number of people the email will besent to) and you can also get the stats from the list owner about historicalperformance. I have seen people crush it with this method as long as your offeraligns with the audience it’s being sent to.
5 – Start a challenge where the next logical stepis signing up for your box.
Challenges are a great way to get to know your customers on a more personallevel AND demonstrate your authority on a subject. It can be as simple aspromoting your challenge in Facebook Groups / Ads and sending an email tochallenge participants every day. Each day you simply lead them to some littlesuccess point where the next step once they finish would be to sign up to yourbox. Challenge examples are: “7 days to lose 5 pounds” a daily challengeto eat well, sleep soundly and live like a queen.
6 – Source a bunch of affiliates using amarketplace like ClickBank OR advertise directly that you are looking foraffiliate’s.
Affiliates are an amazing resource when used the right way. ClickBank is amarketplace for affiliates to find great deals and advertising your product onthere is a very solid long term tactic. If you are just starting though you maywant to considers advertising via Facebook Ads for affiliates. Demio, a WebinarService Provider, launched to over 7 figures doing exactly this.
Incentiviseyou affiliates by offering prizes such as cash up for grabs, for those thatrefer the most paying customers. Make sure their affiliate commission is decenttoo.
7- Run an educational Webinar. At the end of thewebinar have a pitch offering a foundation membership deal.
I love webinars. In fact my Subscription Superheroes launch was massivelysuccessful thanks to webinars. There is no reason you can’t use this sameInternet Marketing tactic for a Subscription Box. If you are launching to apassionate following that is always eager to learn more, a Webinar is perfect.Give them educational content and pitch them at the end! Make it a no braineridea for them to sign up. You can do this by providing Webinar Only incentivesthat expire at the end of the training (or a few hours after).
8 – Run a Free + Shipping offer.
Offer your box for free in exchange for the customer just paying for theshipping. Make sure you price the shipping higher than normal 9.95 – 12.95 tohelp you cover some of the costs. The big reason you would want to do this isthat you end up building a list of BUYERS. People who are willing to pay foryour product. This is much more valuable than someone just signing up for anemail list.
9 – Create a Street Team and deploy them in Cities.Hand our flyers and coupons as people are leaving / arriving at work.
Street Teams are STILL GOOD! Create a bunch of postcards and flyers and paysome college kids to hand them out. Make sure the flyers send people to yourwebsite via a unique landing page. This will help you track the effectivenessof the campaign.
10 – Contact your Local Radio and offer listeners adiscount if they pre-register for your launch.
Radio still works. If you are looking to get your first paying customers, localcustomers are just as good an national ones. Try to get an interview during themorning commute or the afternoon commute time. Reach out to them – pitch em!
11 – Contact a Local newspaper and give them astory about your exciting new local startup.
Show offthe subscription model and how great this is for the upcoming customers.Include a direct call to action.
Just like Radio – Newspapers STILL WORK. This works very well for an olderdemographic too, so if you are aiming your product at the over 50s market youmight find this is an easy way to hit them up. Same as Radio – just write intothe journalists and pitch em!
12 – Enter any and all Startup Competitions you canfind.
I LOVEthis tactic. It’s worked super well for me. Find local startup competitions andenter them. Generally they all have free PR opportunities for the finalists andyou can get massive exposure as a result. Winning the competitions is sweet too
13 – Start a Facebook group around your nichetopic.
Facebook Groups just work. I’ve launched several businesses this way and it’sonly getting better. Groups allow you to interact with your target market on a1-2-1 level. This can also supplement any challenges you might berunning. Grow this group by cross posting in other groups. Add value andbe seen as an authority. When it comes time to launch, give the group members aspecial offer. Pro Tip: Start asking for email addresses straight away bygiving them someone special at the start.
14 – Create a PDF / Downloadable item.
Following on from my Pro Tip above, create a downloadable item that people canuse if they want to get into whatever niche you are in. Help them to take someform of action or get deeper insight into the topic. Eg: 10 ways to improveyour long distance running WITHOUT exercise. Promote this via social channelsor Facebook Groups for free email sign ups.
15 – Find all the influencers in your niche. Reachout to them and ask for a shout out.
Influencer marketing is a fad that is pretty hot right now. I can’t argue thatit’s not effective. DM the people you find and ask for a shout out. Either gettheir followers to follow you OR ask the influencer to send those people to anopt in page. Create a reason for people to give you their reason.
16 – Use influencers as affiliates.
Another option that can be augmented by the shout outs is to offer them apercentage of every sale / sign up they refer. This is especially powerfulduring your launch phase if you have a large number of influencers doing thesame thing at the same time.
17 – Use your suppliers lists. Offer them anaffiliate deal, just like the influencers.
Pretty much the same as above but only using your suppliers lists. Just likeyou they have customers – use that to your advantage!
18 – Trade Shows and Events
Speak to your suppliers about representing them at events and trade shows. Askto have a small amount of your marketing materials at the booth. Offer a uniqueincentive to sign up at the trade show / event. Bonus points for this is thatyou can speak to your audience and find out what language they use to describeproblems and desires. Use this in your sales copy
19 – Get your friends and family to promote yourpre-launch.
Guilt them into doing it. Remind them that if they really love you they wouldhelp. Seriously – guilt works a charm. Or you can ask nicely, up to you.
20 – Partner with other brands who are new /launching.
Reach out to complementary brands (I like using Instagram for this) and ask torun a competition together. You can bother offer a super duper mega pack ofgoodies including a free subscription plus their stock. Make sure this isaligned with your target audience and that you both keep the email list oncethe competition is over.
21 – Use a PR firm.
Now this will cost a LOT of cash but PR in the form of interviews can providemassive ROI. Imagine what it would do for your pre-launch if you were promotedby BuzzFeed. I know, because this happened to me. I thought I had been hackedbecause all of a sudden I was making thousands in the space of an hour, but Iwas simply being featured by BuzzFeed. PR is very VERY powerful.
22 – Start a Podcast / Get interviewed on aPodcast.
It doesn’t have to be huge, in fact you can pretty much just use the general themeof your box and show people how to get the most out of it. At the end of eachepisode, have a call to action that directs people to your landing page. BonusPoints for gaining authority.
23 – Advertise in a magazine.
Yes, people still read these, shocking I know! It does costs money, howevermagazines can get you directly in front of your ideal customer. Direct peopleto a landing page in your ad so you can measure the effectiveness.
24 – Sponsor a workshop / event.
Great for anything B2B or B2C. Always ask to get access to the email list as aresult of sponsorship. No email = no deal.
25 – Become the “go-to” guy/gal on social for allthings related to your niche.
Just try to be helpful, offer advice and be genuine. PM people directly and getto know them. Tell people what you are creating and ask if its ok to PM themwhen you are ready to launch. PM them when it’s time!
Don’t try to do it all.
This list should be a great way to start finding the marketing tactics thatwork well for you when it comes time to pre launch your subscription box. Thebest part about these ideas is that they don’t cancel each other out. In factyou can run 1, 2 or even all of them together and start really driving a lot oftraffic to your pre-launch pages.
However,I would suggest to you that you just select 1-2 from the list and really focusthose. Get great at just a couple of things and master them. If they don’t workfor you, simply move on to the next one. You don’t need to master everything toget amazing traction for your pre launch.
If youhave used another tactic and it’s worked well for you I’d love to know! Tell mein the comments.