We have seen subscription-based businesses trending in the last year or so. All these different types of subscriptions merging out of nowhere, but what makes them so popular? They are niche, fast and convenient. Many audiences received a rewarding feeling after making a purchase.
It isn’t about who should be the focus, it should WHERE the focus needs to be on each of these goals. What are the different cohorts and segments you are going to develop based on the outcome?
You’ve got a game plan now! Let’s dive right into the next steps of the process.
After working with a few different subscription based services I’ve found a few different hacks I’d like to share with you. These hacks are based on the AARRR Model created by Dave McClure’s. I will guide you through the different phases of the model using Google Analytics.
When your target audience lands on a webpage or a website, you want them to take a desirable action. You want to be able to convert cold leads into warm leads.
The acquisition data within Google Analytics will allow you to see whether your marketing efforts are paying off or if you are totally off the boat with your hypothesis. You fix the targets and optimize the channels according to the data shown in the Google Analytics dashboard.
From experience, I’ve seen many startups take a larger focus on vanity metrics (i.e. page views, likes, impressions, etc.) Mini-conversion metrics can be in the form of a: free trial sign-up, a sign-up, and an opt-in to a lead generation funnel, drip campaign, a newsletter, or even a blog.
In order to set this up within Google Analytics, just go to your dashboard and click on: Goals and set-up “goals” for each of these mini-conversions. Then look at the “conversion” to see if you would consider the visitor “acquired.”
Here is how you check on your “acquisition” on the dashboard.
Step 1: Goals
Step 2: Overview Report
Step 3: Goal Completions
Step 4: Goal Value
Step 5: Goal Conversion Rate
I suggest you always look at the numbers and not just the percentages. A lot of times I’ve seen the percentage values can be quite deceiving in terms of the actual value.
Do not forget to assign economic values to all your micro-conversions. There is a great read I found on the web that shows you exactly how you can carry it out, step-by-step. Never miss tracking a conversion again if you setup the Goal Value in Google Analytics.
After you assign economic values on each mini-goal, you will want to add a differentiator between engagement and a visitor. For example, when I was marketing for NCRI I noticed that most visitors took an average of 6 visits before subscribing to the blog.
You want to figure out the average time they are spending on your website prior to signing up or opting-in. Then there will always be people who don’t apply to either. These will show up in the “Exit percentage” or “bounce rate.”
Now you are looking at your acquired users. Who are they? Look at your keyword analysis again to figure out if you are on the right track in terms of what they are trying to solve. You also want to see what the “referring sources” are and where the traffic is coming from.
From this section, you should now see the value of setting up goals within the dashboard. You will be able to capture enough data to segment and target users effectively.
Most CEO’s I have worked with want “direct sale” results from an acquisition process. From this process you may see that it may take many mini-conversions (events) before you can start tracking a macro-conversion. It is a process and the better you understand the different cohorts, segments and users the easier it will become.
Bonus: If you have seen that there is a pattern of visitors who abandon often or go to a few places on the site and then leave, you can remarket to them. Dice K-Myoshi (Ex-Googler) wrote this awesome guide. The people you remarket to must be in a cohort. For example, if they abandon the cart after viewing the “credit card” option on the free trial page.
You have caught their attention, they clicked on your ad, and now they are opted-in or signed-up. This is a great start! What happens next and how will it be tracked? What are the amazing benefits of your subscription business, SaaS solution or app?
Activation is all about evaluating your messaging around the benefits you have to offer. This means we are moving towards the product side of the equation. Yes, Google analytics is great for tracking your website but if you have an app or a platform you may want to consider something more robust such has Keen.io.
You have a product marketing fit, you have validated your business and you have developed customer personas that accompany your findings. The best way to start the process is by setting up goals for each of the developed use cases and personas.
Then decide on the path/sequence of events you want your persona to journey through on your website/app/platform. Essentially, this will become your marketing funnel and you can track the exact events that lead to the viable conversion.
The next steps:
1. Pick your goals
2. Build your funnels to match the goals
To reach the section shown above:
1. Click the “Admin” tab on the top menu
2. Then click the “goals” tab in the “View” section on the right.
After carrying out these steps, go back to your funnel and look at the steps with the high-abandonment rates.
I’ve seen that setting up “Dimensions” with certain types of behaviors and plan types helps greatly. In fact, in Google Analytics you can gather information straight from the user via adding the “User-Id” as a dimension.
This will showcase the journey of an individual user. Take a second to go through your use cases and sample a few “User ID” dimensions to check where you can fix and tweak your product usability. This will help you determine which source they are converting from.
Lastly, in order to check which sources are converting the most and which targets are converting, you will have to generate an Acquisition report.
Step 1: Create a predefined segment and call it “Sessions with Conversions.”
Step 2: Use this to compare it to “all sessions” and the “sessions without conversion.”
Step 3: Click on “Acquisition”
Step 4: Click on “New users report and behavior”
Step 5: Behavior flow report
Now compare the data and take the right action steps to fix your funnel.
Bonus: A good friend of mine showed me PadiTrack for free marketing funnel reports. Check them out.
The success of companies is dramatically increased through experimentation and data. It is not worth bypassing data collection and process to impress stakeholders and investors. It may be a long-run strategy but tracking events, funnels, acquisition, behavior and activation can make a difference.
Next we will get take an in-depth look into the Retention, Referral and Revenue aspects of the method.
Here is a fun acronym to live by: “D.R.E.A.M = Data Rules Everything Around Me.” ~ Matt Epstein (Growth at Zenifits)