These 3 strategies can improve organic subscriptions growth

By Stephanie Lievano

Millicom, Tigo

Panama City, Panama


Mark Thompson, the former CEO of The New York Times, reflected on the importance of organic growth in his exit interview with McKinsey & Company:

“If we get better and better at organic growth  —  in other words, growth in digital subscriptions based on engagement and consumption of the product itself, as opposed to growth achieved through paid marketing  —  then, over time, we’ll see the revenue of the company grow far faster than its cost base and the profitability of the operating leverage get better and better.”

Netflix, The New York Times, and HubSpot have proven this model to be true, leading the possibilities of growth in the subscription market. As a client of these services, I’ve actively studied their models and observed several overlaps in the ways they listen to their clients. To improve organic growth, you have to know your customers and the value your customer sees in your products.

Here are three key features of their strategies:

1. Onboard your clients and explain the product features.

Don’t assume your clients will automatically know how to use your product. Even the simplest of products evolve, and onboarding campaigns are a great way to empower users to get started with using a new product or feature.

Make it easy for clients to use a product.
Make it easy for clients to use a product.

2. Get involved in building a habit.

If your clients report that they no longer use the product as a reason for why they cancel, then habit-building could be a way to combat their departure. Find ways such as recommending a friend, notifications, and e-mails to get your clients to engage actively.

Like with any new task, the first weeks are critical. Make sure you’re thinking of your experience beyond the trial days.

Remind users that habits require ongoing practice.
Remind users that habits require ongoing practice.

3. Ask if they would be willing to recommend their families or friends through a survey, and prepare to take action.

Satisfaction and growth go hand-in-hand. More satisfied customers can help attract high-value clients, while detractors are clients who are annoyed with any aspect of the service. This can shed light on urgent areas that need change.

Net promoter score (NPS) provides a systematic way to bring the customer’s feedback to discussion outside of the perspective of customer service as the heart of the company. By allowing companies to engage with a client through feedback, we can gain some insight in real time as to what is working and what’s not.

For example, in the Bain and Company blog, we see the Australian Telecommunication company Telstra worked on the “small things that make enormous differences” by letting customers call in and schedule a time for the company to call them back and resolve their problem.

Adapting to the client’s needs is part of the everyday actions we can take to organically grow and improve our organsations.

About Stephanie Lievano

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