Do you like taking pictures? There’s a few dozen subscription Apps that can help you out. What about games? Apple Arcade will cost only $4.99/month. Do you like music and video? Toss in Apple Music, Pandora, or Spotify, Netflix and maybe the upcoming bundled Disney+ streaming package that can be packaged with ESPN and Hulu for a mere $12.99 per month. What about audio books or news? There are dozens more subscriptions available.

The world of the digital subscriptions is growing fast. For brands it’s pretty easy to see why. What’s not to like? Especially those in finance that love a simplified forecast of a steady stream of recurring revenue. Sometimes you don’t have to do anything because in the old days people forgot about them and never bothered to stop the billing. Remember gym memberships?

But for today’s digital savvy customer it’s getting close to overwhelming, especially in the video streaming space over the next few months as NBCUniversal, Disney, and WarnerMedia all plan to launch their own subscription services. There’s even an App that tracks those monthly subscriptions, for a subscription! One has to wonder how many subscriptions the average user can handle. There will undoubtedly be a breaking point the more subscriptions customers build up, they will be more aware of those charges, and reevaluate their decision more often than not.

Before jumping into the newest gold rush and having worked on a few digital subscriptions, a few basic things to seriously consider:

1. Are you offering a legitimate need? Does an all-you-can-eat value exist or is it really a digital buy?
2. What’s the plan for retention? In reality this is just as important as the acquisition.
3. How will you get customers to use it often? Let them know the value and keep reminding them it’s there.

Don’t focus on sign-up and hope they forget about it. They have IRL friends and non-IRL friends and they’re not afraid to share the experience especially when it comes to the cancellation process.

The absolute goal for any digital subscription service is to think of the customer first. Are you really bringing value and recurring benefit to them? You should be determined on creating an amazing product that you want customers to actually use and use often. Do that and they’ll become your biggest evangelist for years.


Also published on Medium.