3 min read

Join The Club 🤗

Once you've earned a customer's trust, you can spend your time and energy selling them more and more products and services month after month. . . or you can invite them to become a subscriber!

When you offer ongoing transformation in the form of a subscription-based product, service, or experience, you create a bond between the customer and your business that lasts beyond individual product purchases.

Create a subscription product to give your customers ongoing transformation in exchange for ongoing payments, creating an "automatic customer" that gives you reliable revenue and transforms your business growth from spikes to stairs with steady, uphill growth.

John Warrillow wrote a book on subscription-based products called The Automatic Customer, because a customer decides to become a paying subscriber once, and then they continue paying you as a customer month-after-month automatically (until they eventually cancel).

I used to run a multi-million-dollar membership site called Platform University with thousands of members paying $30 - $50 per month for access to professional training to help them grow their personal brands, and I’ve worked with several clients who've created thriving membership sites that similarly serve niche audiences.

When you create a successful subscription product, you are rewarded with superfans who automatically pay your business for continued transformation, month after month.

The success of continuity, subscription-based products is more about the day-to-day growth and retention than a massive, fancy launch, so they are a lot less glamorous than one-time product launches, but they are a lot more reliable.

With a subscription product, business growth looks less like spikes and more like stairs, that require a long-term commitment to climb.

To be clear, subscription products take a lot of work to launch, grow, and manage, so they’re typically not the best place to start. Still, once you can offer a subscription product to your customers, you can take the pressure off of your sales and increasingly focus on service, which is better for you and better for your customers, truly a win-win.

In today's economy, subscription products are everywhere in every industry—even Taco Bell recently launched their Taco Lover's Pass which gives paying subscribers one taco each day!

With the right clarity of customers and a focus on providing real solutions to real problems for real people, the path to transformation through a subscription product becomes clear.

Creating a Boutique Subscription

In Survive and Thrive, I use the example of a women's clothing boutique store to illustrate how to create a compelling subscription product.

Let’s assume the Target Customer for this business is a woman working in a professional business environment. What solutions does this Target Customer require on a regular—perhaps weekly or monthly—basis? What regular, recurring, real problems do they have?

With a quick bit of research or a real-life conversation (yes, customers are people you can talk to), you might discover a list of regular, recurring real problems your real people have:

  • Too busy to keep up with any mending that their wardrobe needs
  • Frustrated with the male-dominated workplace, and feeling held back
  • Overwhelmed with the double life of caring for kids and home while also working
  • Feeling uncomfortable or uninspired in their clothes a few months after purchase

Any one of these, or a combination, could be an inspiration for a subscription product.

If this was your business, you could offer a subscription warranty service that guaranteed repair or replacement for any clothes bought from your store, or you could host a monthly discussion group (online or in-person) with guest speakers for women in the workforce to share guidance on breaking the glass ceiling or managing life at home while succeeding professionally at work.

Looking over these options, you may realize that the reason your customers are uncomfortable after a few months is that seasons change, and their wardrobe should change with it. You could offer a quarterly wardrobe refresh for $1,000 (styling included) and many would gleefully sign up.

Don’t you see how when you’re committed to serving real people, the long-term impact you can have on their life becomes foundational to your success with a subscription product?