Subscription boxes are big business, and consumers love them! From makeup to prepped vegan dinners, there is a box for everyone. The industry is becoming more saturated, which makes it more important than ever to stand out through all the noise.
So, how do subscription box businesses stand out? Well, as a B2C business, they need to ensure that they have a reputation to be proud of, and they're perceived in a positive light. The best way to earn a great reputation, besides offering a fantastic consumer experience, is to produce great content and use PR to gain all-important press exposure.
There are many tactics from the marketing mix that we’d advise using, such as referral programmes and incentives, using brand ambassadors, and proactive social media activity to create a community.
But in this post, we will look at what PR tactics subscription box businesses might want to consider to help raise their brand awareness.
Perhaps more appropriate for food and fitness facing subscription boxes, but often a businesses’ biggest influencers are their customers.
There is a reason a customer has signed up. Perhaps it’s for ease, or cost-effectiveness. Maybe it’s to make a lifestyle change. Whatever the purpose, it can be tapped into. To start this process, it’s important to get close to customers and encourage engagement. Why not incentivise them to send in a photo, or ask them to explain their reason for signing up? This can strengthen customer community and build awareness, whilst also enabling you to find good stories.
This tactic has been very successful for our longstanding client musclefood. A recent example is from a musclefood customer who shed nearly nine stone in just a year. Such an inspiring story, and the Daily Mail featured it with a full write up.
It’s not just customer case studies, there is also an opportunity to promote the subscription box business itself. What’s unique? Is it the first? The biggest? Find a ‘behind the scene’ story and outreach, similar to this story we generated for The Vegan Kind on the Daily Mail.
There are thousands of social media influencers scattered across mainly Instagram and YouTube offering reviews of the latest subscription boxes. This is a great place to start, as customers are influenced by their favourite social media ‘celebrities’.
There are also bloggers that make a living off write-ups on subscription boxes, and they offer authentic reviews based on products they love.
One of Robert Cialdini’s influence factors is the principle of authority, and that people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
Traditional Press Releases
New product, latest offer, new office unit, recruitment drive, etc. all can be promoted through a standard press release. This is a great opportunity to promote all the good news and progress that’s happening in your business.
This is hugely important if you are ‘launching to market’ because as a new subscription box company, your press release might announce your official launch.
Traditional press publications such as national and regional media will prefer stories over brands. We don’t want to meet their advertising department, it’s our job to give them something to report. Without that special hook or angle, it’s not news, it’s advertising.
A hook can come in many different content types or formats – it could be from a headline, a visual, a video, a question, a new statistic or even a PR stunt. There are many ways to generate and develop stories, but an easy tactic is to find the human interest angle behind your business. What would get talked about in the pub? What is unique about the story? To catch the attention of a media’s readers, there needs to be a purpose, does it engage, advise, entertain, or add value to the reader in some way.
Sometimes you can’t predict or plan for the hook, it just hits you out of the blue like this story we did for The Vegan Kind. A customer received their vegan box of goodies with a message on which read “Go f**k yourself. Have a bacon.” The Metro covered the story.
Offer Subscription Box Trials to Key Media
We call it a ‘reach out’, which basically means we prospect any media with our client’s subscription box offering. It’s often the first step in building a relationship with a key journalist. This is a targeted outreach as we are looking for media that publish regular features and reviews of products in our client’s sector.
There will be a financial outlay and often this cost will need to be soaked up by the marketing department, but if it results in a positive writeup, it can provide sales down the road. It can take a while to come to fruition and a lot of managing responses, but this is one of the most powerful ways to get that all-important press coverage.
Please note, we aren’t doing this for links, we are doing this for brand awareness and building positive sentiment with key audiences. E.g. if our client offers a plant subscription box, we are likely to reach out to home and garden, and lifestyle facing magazines/media. One of the vegan handbags which TheVeganKind sells was included in a round-up review in The Sun.
Another one of Cialdini’s influence factors is reciprocity which can be applied to this tactic. Here, people are obliged to give back to others in the form of a behaviour, gift, or service that they have received first.
Every year, on every occasion, most mainstream newspapers and magazines publish their gift guides. From Fathers Day to Christmas with Black Friday thrown in between, there will be a round-up of the best products available to consumers at that particular time.
Leading into the back end of the year, the opportunity to be featured in a gift guide really hots up. There is a high chance that a specific product will fit into a lot of gift guides.
A bit of background research is needed here, and it helps if you have existing relationships. Look at who has covered gift guides historically through Google, or use a PR tool, and go through the search results to gather contact information.
Then we will have a list of influential journalists that are looking for content and products to cover. Set up an email intro, a product offering, any assets such as product shots, and links to product pages, and click ‘SEND’.
Often PR agencies overcomplicate this process, it can take a while to convert and manage necessary responses, but if the product is good enough, it is likely to get featured.
We did this for our client Lazy Flora, the plant subscription box brand. Its fruit and veg box was featured in this Good Housekeeping round up.
Hopefully, these PR tactics have sparked interest in how to use PR tactics to improve awareness and sales of subscription boxes.
If you want to find out more about subscription box PR, the Motive team are always happy to have a chat on what might work for you. You can enquire using the form at the bottom of this page, or contact us here.