DTC 73: 📦 Tackle Subscription Fatigue 😅
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Acing your email segmentation, subscription sales, UGC content strategy and media buying across platforms…  

DTC readers:

Tuesday marked the twentieth anniversary of ‘00s classic Legally Blonde. If you need a refresher on the cardinal rules of perm maintenance, treat yourself to a rewatch this weekend. 💅👩🏼⚖️

In this newsletter, you’ll find:

📦 How to tackle subscription fatigue.

📥 Tips for performance-enhancing email segmentation.

🤯 The Pilothouse guide to the iOSpocalypse.

😍 Instagram Reel ad inspo.

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss out. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

🚨Job opportunity: DTC is growing and we’re looking for content writers who are passionate about the DTC space.

If that’s you, send a note to Thomas (thomas@directtoconsumer.co) with your resume and why you’d be a good fit!


Subscription Fatigue and How to Tackle it:

In the highly competitive and price-sensitive market, what can DTC businesses do to tackle the fatigue-induced subscription churn?

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the much-dreaded subscription churn, here are five retention-focused strategies to help you avoid it:

✅ Better "Pause" than "Cancel"

When customers decide they’re subscription-ed out, allow them to pause, skip, or snooze particular shipments.

It provides flexibility and puts the power in the customer’s hands, plus they’re less likely to cancel when given this opportunity.

Adding a "pause" button. 👇

Once customers have paused their subscription, you have the task of winning them back.

You can always nudge them to reactivate their subscription after some time.

👊 Enable Swap for Credit

Create the option for customers to convert the subscription box charges to credit.

Offering a "swap for credit" option doesn’t remove them from the customer pool altogether, and the credit makes them want to come back later on.

FabFitFun executes this perfectly:

🙌 Offer Multiple Tiers of Product Packaging

If you have a multi-tiered subscription plan, give customers an option to downgrade to a lower value plan as an alternative to cancellation.

You can always nudge them to upgrade to the higher value plan later on.

Customers switching to a lower plan still means downgrade churn, but it’s better than a cancellation. 🤝

For example, Battlbox’s tiered pricing includes boxes from "Basic" to "Pro plus" range.

In this case, if an "Advanced" customer wants to cancel, they can nudge them to go for a "Basic" plan instead.

🎣 Keep Them Hooked

One way to tackle subscription fatigue is to maintain a consistent value stream – something that makes the customers keep coming back.

Add a surprise element in every box to keep the customers hooked to your subscription or even send them teasers of upcoming subscription boxes.

🗣 Ask for Feedback

Like we said before, churn cannot be avoided completely.  

If the customers still choose to leave anyway, ask for feedback!

🚨Learn what their expectations were and what went wrong.

This data is valuable and a gold mine of insights that you can use to retain other customers.

These five retention strategies will help you keep your customers despite subscription fatigue.

If you’ve implemented any of these or are planning to, reply to this email and let us know!


True or False: Effective retail marketing requires a top-down approach

False. 👀

Classic marketing training will tell you the only way to build a successful business is to build the top of the funnel. This is a lie.

For retail marketers, it’s not easy to constantly find new users, sell them on the value proposition repeatedly, or build a brand the way you want.

And with changing consumer privacy laws, customer acquisition is only going to become 10X harder as advertisers lose access to third-party data.

Klaviyo’s answer: Flip the funnel. Build your business from the bottom up.

This approach ensures you’re:
  • Collecting first-party data from your users.
  • Nurturing relationships with customers.
  • Being authentic to your brand.
  • Building a sustainable base of business.

The old retail marketing playbook is dead. Learn how your brand can succeed in a cookieless world.


This 15 second Instagram reel by Ashley Ballard for Ray-Ban is just what you need!

Why it Works:

A UGC ad doesn’t have to be full of technical jargon, and it doesn’t need to hard-sell a product.

Let the product do the heavy lifting.

In this case, Ashely Ballard doesn’t talk at all, she doesn’t sell you on Ray-Bans or tell you anything about the quality of the glasses.

Instead, she takes her Ray-Bans and shows her audience how she styles them with different outfits.

In the captions, she mentions how Ray-Ban’s styles let her express herself and her moods – whether she’s feeling light and girly or dark and sultry.

She is selling her audience on the brand – a brand that lets you be authentically you. Who wouldn’t want that?

Remember this when crafting UGC!


Email segmentation tip!  

Use A/B testing to understand which type of content works for different segments of your list.

What to A/B test:  

Length of emails: Do your customers favor short or long copy?

Offers: Does one list enjoy discounts while another goes for informative content?

Preview text: Do your customers like emojis? Or ALL CAPS?

HTML VS. graphics: Is there a particular audience that responds really well to plain ol’ HTML?

Sender name: Test out emails from various people within the company. For example, try the founder or head of customer experience.

DTC brand Huron tests HTML VS. graphics and different sender names:

This email is from Matt, the Co-founder, and it features graphics instead of HTML


STORD: A better way to do DTC fulfillment

Think about living in an Airbnb permanently.

It’s great for a long weekend, but let’s be honest. The mattress isn’t going to be your desired firmness. Nor will the kitchen be equipped to your specifications.

That’s the deal with on-demand warehouse providers.

You can get in (and maybe out) quickly. But, they’re not built for YOUR NEEDS.

Stop compromising between speed and quality.

With STORD, you get rapid deployment, scale, and the customization and care you need to sleep sound at night (in your own bed 😴).

Learn more or schedule a call with our supply chain experts.


The Pilothouse Guide to the iOSpocalypse

The biggest challenge iOS 14.5 has posed for brands and agencies is undoubtedly signal loss.  

We’re seeing a gap between Shopify and Facebook attribution data of approximately 30-50%, for both events received and events processed by Facebook.

In response, the Pilothouse team has taken a step back to look at the whole ecosystem.

We’ve been cross-referencing Facebook data with Google Analytics, implementing post-purchase surveys as an extra acquisition gauge, and utilizing proprietary technology.  

We’ve shifted to pre-pixel tools and strategies that haven’t been used in a long time (ever since we’ve been able to rely on Facebook’s algorithm).  

Many folks have become hyper-dependent on the pixel – this is your chance to reacquaint yourself with your instincts.

Nothing has changed, except the available signals. The basics of successful ad buying are still the basics:

  • Find data and read the signals
  • Remain calm and collected
  • Think critically
  • Make good creative. Make GREAT creative.

The audiences are still there. The ad slots are still there.

You’ve got this.

And if you don’t, partner with an agency that's foundation is in technology.

Pilothouse gives its industry-leading buyers and creatives the data and decision-making power brands need to get through the iOS attribution challenge.

Listen to the pod for the full debrief on how Pilothouse is taking on the iOSpocalypse.


Meet your new summer treat: Dream Pops 😍

This DTC frozen fruit pop brand is 100% plant-based and is under 100 calories, with less than 5 grams of sugar.  

Check out their flavor options 👇👀 AND how they’re approaching TikTok.

Don’t mind us – we’ll just be over here salivating. 🤤

M & A

🤑 Impact raises $150M at a $1.5B valuation as affiliate and other marketing partnerships come into their own.

💰 Unybrands brings in $300M to acquire more eCommerce businesses.

😬 ByteDance Shelved IPO intentions after Chinese regulators warned about data security.

🏀 LeBron James’s SpringHill Media Company in talks to sell equity stakes, including with Nike, valuing it at up to $750m.

💳 Cardless raises $40M to help more brands launch custom credit cards.

🧑‍💻 Nooks set to seed its own in the world of virtual HQs.

🏠 Wecasa raises $17.7 million for its home care and wellness marketplace.

👀 Elevate Brands banks $250M to roll up third-party merchants selling on Amazon’s marketplace.


🚨Last chance!

Refer a teammate and unlock our FREE presell pages course!

Earlier this year, we launched a three-day challenge with Pilothouse to help our readers learn to build presales pages.

Now, this five-hour master class is available to all DTC readers with 1 new referral.

Aside from better CVR and AOV, a good presell page strategy helps:

  • Target broader audiences with paid social
  • Tell your brand story
  • Educate your consumer
  • Gather personalization data
  • Diversify your brand voice
  • Test new angles

Send your link to a teammate, friend or anyone you think would benefit from this awesome course!

When one person signs up, you both get access!

👉 Refer 1 Teammate to Unlock the Build a Presell Course


See how many referrals you have!

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🥤Slashing Facebook ads in half with Olipop’s Steven Vigilante

💇‍♂️ Beardbrand’s Eric Bandholz and the DTC long game.

🌴 Product/market fit with Canopy Humidifiers' Eric Neher and Michael De Santis.

🧻 Battling big TP with Goodwipes CEO Sam Nebel.

💥 Building a bold brand with Ugly's CEO Hugh Thomas.

Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Eric Dyck, Sadie Evans, and Nupura Ughade.

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