How to Build A Subscription Box Website that CONVERTS

Creating a subscription box website that converts can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. While it feels like there are a million different factors to consider, a good sub box website boils down to these three things: a click-driving homepage, a simple “choose your plan” page, and an incentivized email funnel. Keep reading for our best tips to create a sub box website that CONVERTS.

Incentivized Email Funnel

When creating a website for any type of business (especially a sub box brand), you want to make sure that you have a way to collect customer emails. Not every customer will purchase the first time they visit your website. It’s important that you collect their email address to ensure that you can market to them later on and eventually get them to convert into a paying customer.

In the subscription box industry, there are two different ways to collect customer emails on your website. The first way is to structure your site so that when people land on your home page a pop-up is triggered that offers them something of value – a discount, a free gift with purchase, etc. If they are interested in what you’re offering, then they can enter their email address in your pop-up to receive the offer, and you’ll get their email in return.

The second way to collect email addresses on your website is to include some type of quiz or application in between your homepage and your “choose your plan” page. This is popular around the sub box scene and a handful of the big brands do this, like winc.com and barkbox, among many others. 

To utilize this method, you’ll include some kind of quiz in between the homepage and the “choose your plan” page. When people click “join now” on your homepage, rather than being directed to your “choose your plan” page, they’re taken to a quiz that will ask questions regarding how they would like their subscription box experience to be set up. For example, Barkbox utilizes a quiz that asks their potential customers what kind of dogs they have, what their name is, whether it is a boy or girl, what kind of treats they like, etc. 

The key is to ask for their email at the end of the quiz.  As people are answering each of the questions they’re making an investment into this experience and they’re continuing to make investments as they complete the quiz. 

Each question answered by a prospective customer is like an investment into the experience you’ve created. The more questions answered, the more they have invested into your buying journey. By the time they are asked for their email address at the end of the quiz, they will be more likely to actually give it to you because they’ve already invested so much into the experience.

While it’s a very effective strategy, there are pros and cons, as there are to everything. You will collect a lot more emails using the quiz strategy, but because you are putting your potential customers through an additional step, there will be some drop off. With the pop-up, you will collect less email addresses but you will get more people to the “choose your plan” page. Test out both strategies and see what works best for your brand.

A Click-Driving Home Page

Before diving into the details of the homepage and the “choose your plan” page, it is important to consider a concept called “the path of least resistance.” A lot of subscription box brands over complicate their websites and choose to add unnecessary features – links to press features, ten links in the navigation bar, links to their blog, etc. The problem with adding all of these extra features is that it over complicates the process of purchasing a subscription for the customer. When you have all these different links, it’s easy for your customers to get overwhelmed. They might follow the link to your blog and get distracted or go to your instagram feed and get distracted and then they never end up purchasing your product. 

Keep your home page as simple as you possibly can and make sure that every single call to action (CTA) button has the same goal. Set up every button to link to either the “choose your plan” page or the quiz application if you choose to use that type of funnel. 

Here’s the 6 things you should include on the homepage of your sub box website:

1. The Navigation Bar

The navigation bar is a big area of the sub box website where a lot of brands go wrong. They try to model standard e-commerce sites or other websites they come across that might include 10 links in the navigation bar, an about us page, a meet the team link, a FAQ link, etc. All this does is create confusion for the customer. 

The typical subscription box site funnel is a long scrolling home page that includes all of the information that a customer might need and one link in the navigation bar that goes to the “choose your plan” page. You may also want to include a login link in the navigation bar for your existing customers to log into their accounts. If you have a shop for your sub box, you can also include a shop link. 

There isn’t really a need to have any other links in your navigation bar than these three. The “about us,” “meet the team,” and FAQ links that are commonly seen on websites have been eliminated because they just create more opportunities for the customer to get distracted. Anytime a sub box website is simplified rather than over complicated, it is usually going to result in a better conversion rate. 

2. The Banner Area

The banner area of your website is the main section above the fold that they see first as soon as they land on your website. The goal of this section is to get them to either click the call to action button in this section and go to the “choose your plan” page, or at least to hook them enough to be interested to view the rest of your homepage. 

This is kind of like your first impression and your only opportunity to capture interest. You’ll want to include a crystal clear image of the value of your sub box, like a product image that shows all of the contents of your box. You want the picture to clearly communicate how your box can add value and what the benefits are; then you’ll overlay a value proposition statement on top of this banner image. 

A value proposition statement is just a one liner that tells people exactly what it is that you’re selling in your sub box. Many brands make the mistake of trying to get too clever and/or cute with their value proposition and all that really ends up doing is confusing the customer. If they’re on your site in the first place then they’re interested in purchasing your box, so this value proposition statement is all about showing them that they’re in the right place and that they should stay on your site to learn more about your product.

Underneath the value proposition statement you’ll want to include information about any offers you may be running at any given time, so that everyone who visits your site will be guaranteed to see it.

Underneath both your value proposition statement and your running offers, you can also include a call to action button that says “join now” or “subscribe” and that will link to your “choose your plan” page (or quiz application if you’re using one).

At this point, people have been through your banner image area, they have seen your value proposition statement, and they’re hooked – so they’ve decided to take a look at the rest of your home page. Usually the next thing your website visitors will ask themselves is “how does this work?” That’s where the “how it works” section comes in. 

3. “How it Works”

The how it works section goes right underneath your banner image and value proposition on the homepage and is intended to provide some clarity for your site visitors. This section should clearly communicate that your product is a subscription and not a one-time purchase. It can also set shipping expectations, so make sure to let your customers know how long your box will take to ship each month. You can even encourage your customers to share their box on social media once the package arrives.

A good layout for the how it works section typically has three icons spanning across the width of your site. The first icon might say something like, “choose your plan” and you might have some subtext underneath that says “choose between 6 months or 12 months.” Basically you’re letting people know the options they have for when they decide to subscribe.

The second icon might say “we’ll get started working on your subscription box right away” and maybe the subtext says “orders ship out on the 20th every month.” Here you’re highlighting the expectations around shipping and letting your customer know exactly what the process is going to look like. Then the last icon might say “your box arrives at your doorstep” and the subtext might say “take a picture and tag us on Instagram!” 

It’s important to let people know in this section that your product is a subscription, to allow your customers to understand what they’re getting into, and to set all expectations ahead of time. Otherwise you might lose customers who didn’t realize your product was a subscription or that it wouldn’t ship for another three weeks. 

4. “What’s in the Box?”

After the how it works section it’s good to include a what’s in the box section. This section is absolutely critical to the success of your site. The reason that this is so important is because this section will show people exactly what type of products they can expect to receive in your sub box. Up until this point you’ve probably just told them that it’s a dog subscription box or a yoga subscription box or whatever your niche may be, but you haven’t provided examples of the actual products they’ll receive in your box.

The what’s in the box section will give your customers specific examples of what type of clothing is included in your box, or the type of dog treats, toys, etc. If you have a high quality box and you’re confident in the value that you provide (which you should be) then you should definitely include a what’s in the box section.

The way to do this is to include a crystal clear image of your subscription box with all of the contents that you put in every single box. Here’s a tip – include a diagram of your most popular subscription box from the past several months, the one that all your customers were raving about.

Next to the image of your box, you’ll want to include a bulleted list of all of the different categories of products that you include in your box on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on how often you send your box. This further helps to set expectations for what the customer can expect to receive and really convey the true value of your box.

5. Testimonials

Underneath your what’s in the box section, you’ll want to include a testimonials section. This is critical for people who purchase online, because they will often read a review before making a purchase decision. At Harbor Marketing Agency, our rule of thumb is that you can never have too much social proof, so at a bare minimum you will want to include this testimonial section.

As always, there is a right and wrong way to do this. A common mistake that people make in their testimonials section is that they will just include testimonials that are vague or bland. They might use testimonials that say “loved this box!” from Karen in Iowa or “great box” from Dave in Michigan. The problem with testimonials like those is that they don’t actually explain the problem that your sub box solved for the customer; it just shows that they liked your product, which is great, but it doesn’t show the problem that your box solved.

You’ll want to comb through your testimonials and try to find ones that actually talk about the problem that your box solved for your customers. It’s safe to say that your customers may be experiencing the same problems if they’re looking to your product for a solution, so showcasing that your box provided a solution or added value will speak more to your customers than bland testimonials.

6. FAQs

The last piece of your homepage should be your frequently asked questions (FAQ) section. This usually goes at the bottom of the page and looks at the common objections that people have to purchasing your subscription box. Rather than just picking a bunch of random questions you think might be relevant to your audience, you’ll want to identify the top five to ten most common objections people have to purchasing and address them in your FAQs. 

Get ahead of these common objections and understand the issues people have with purchasing your box or what their questions are so that you may answer them before they even have to ask. This is a really effective strategy and keeps your potential customers satisfied rather than letting their questions go unanswered and allowing them to leave your site without making a purchase.

You can also include information about shipping and other customer service questions in your FAQs section. Address these objections in your FAQs and you should see an increase in your conversion rate.

A Simple “Choose Your Plan” Page

The “choose your plan” page is the first thing that people land on after they click on any of the CTA buttons on your home page. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to get to checkout, and a big step is getting them from the homepage to the choose your plan page.

Make sure that this page is simple to understand and free of unnecessary or confusing information. You may want to organize the layout into three columns: one for a monthly option, one for a 6 month option, and one for a 12 month option. Then your customers can either choose one of these options and continue to checkout, or exit the page. Keeping this page simple prevents your customers from getting overwhelmed and prevents the potential of losing their sale.

The general structure here is that when they land on the page, the first thing they see are the option columns. Underneath that you may include a bit of social proof, but you’ll want to refrain from including your instagram feed, blog posts, etc. At this point in the customer journey, they are already in the purchasing process so you don’t want to distract them with anything that will keep them from reaching checkout.

At the end of the day, building a good sub box website that converts isn’t as hard as it seems. Keep your site simple, straightforward, and free of unnecessary information so that your customers can get from point A (landing on your homepage) to point B (placing an order) seamlessly. As long as you have a click-driving homepage, a simple “choose your plan” page, and an incentivized email funnel you’ll see conversions in no time.

Looking for some more assistance? Schedule a call with us today to find out if we’re a good fit for you and your business.

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