Subscription Box Basics

The Art of Subscription Box Offers with Liam Brennan

March 04, 2024 Julie Ball
Subscription Box Basics
The Art of Subscription Box Offers with Liam Brennan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the secret to irresistible subscription box offers as we welcome back Liam Brennan, co-founder of BusterBox.  If you've ever been puzzled about why some subscription boxes seem to magnetize sign-ups while yours may fall flat, this episode is for you! Discover how to craft offers that convert. 📦

Liam is opening his Subscription Box Experts Academy on March 12th, 2024. This is the perfect next step if you are looking for more advanced training & its a great complimentary course to Subscription Box Bootcamp.

✅ Liam's Subscription Box Experts: https://subscriptionbox.krtra.com/t/aWq6N25t4ha4

If you use our link, we'll send you the Subscription Box Bootcamp workbook for free to make sure you have your foundations covered. ($199 value) It's over 250 full-color pages filled with training, templates and inspiration for your sub box journey!

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Speaker 1:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball and I'm Renee Gonzalez, your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs wanting to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun. Hey everybody, and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I have a very special guest returning to the show with me today. I have my friend and colleague, liam Brennan, back on the show. Hey, liam, welcome.

Speaker 2:

How's it going? Thanks very much for having me back. I'm really excited to be here again.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, guys, if you haven't met Liam before, he is an expert in this industry. He is one of the co-founders of the BusterBox, and I'm going to let you go ahead and do like a little introduction tell a little bit more about your background.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no problem. So I'm one of the co-founders of BusterBoxcom. We are a dog subscription box company based in Ireland and the UK. We set up the company back in 2015. So we've been around for a while now and, to be honest with you, we're very similar to BarkBox in the US very similar concept. I also run the Subscription Box Experts Academy, which is a training program which helps people scale their business. So a lot of the time, people will go through Julie's Subscription Box Bootcamp and then they'll actually move into my course after. So they complement each other very well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they graduate from my beginner training to your training, and we'll talk a little bit more about that, because I know you're opening that up again soon, but today we're going to talk about offers. This isn't something that I've talked about on the podcast before, and guys, when you're thinking about this, know that Liam is several steps ahead of all of us in this and he has the amazing opportunity to test things. He does a lot of testing with Facebook ads, with offers, with conversion optimization, things like that, and so he's a great person to learn from and to learn from his mistakes as well, liam, I'm not sure I'm going to spend because we have made so many different mistakes over the years.

Speaker 1:

I could spend the whole day talking about them. Yeah, how about we all? Okay, so let's focus on offers. Explain to the audience what an offer actually is when it comes to your subscription box business.

Speaker 2:

So we scaled up BusterBox by following one thing and one thing only direct response error. You basically want to put an ad out and you want somebody signed up. That's the only measure of success. If you put something out, somebody has to sign up. We're not looking for video views page likes, any of that sales. That's it Now. One of the main rules of direct response will be there always be an offer. So I'll give you an example. We're a dog subscription box. If you sign up to us, you may get a free dog bed, you may get a free dog camera, you may get a robotic hover that your dog can trade around. There's always something paired with the subscription to get people to take out the credit card and sign up.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So I love that, because we're no longer in this e-commerce world where you build it and they'll come. It's not like, hey, everybody here's my subscription and then everybody signs up. What's in it for them? It's almost like you have to dangle that carrot in front of them and be like come in, we have this special offer for you and you get your subscription. I think that's one of the main reasons why they're important is because you have to get. You have to call them to action, but actually make them take that action, not just say subscribe, but give them something extra. Do you have any other thoughts on why the offer is so important and why it makes such a difference?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely so. If you come up with a good offer, you will cut through the noise on social media. You'll get higher click through rates on your ads because the offer is simply better and your customer acquisition cost will actually be cheaper. So say, if we went out and we just ran Facebook ads with no offer we're just a dog subscription box we could be paying over a hundred euro to get one person signed up and the finances behind that simply wouldn't work. It just wouldn't work. This is the same for a lot of boxes too. But if you pair it with an offer sign up and you'll get whatever this free camera, this free bed, whatever we're running the cake usually drops significantly and people go over and they sign up, and that's not only common to us. If you look at all the big boxes like FabFit, phone, apec, look at their ads and every single one of them are really offered and direct for response because it works.

Speaker 1:

Ooh, that's a great idea. So if you have some spare time, you're listening, you're like oh, what kind of offer would I even use for my box? Go look at what the other boxes are doing. Look at those big boxes. What type of offers are they presenting in their Facebook ads or on their website in their email marketing? And it might be different in different channels too. So let's talk about Liam. Maybe a couple of different ideas of examples of offers. Now, I know you had just talked about gift with purchase. So what other type of offers do you see out there?

Speaker 2:

So there's benefits and negatives to every single offer you'll run and it took us a while to learn this. We've run probably about 100 different offers over the years. So if you go with a free gift with the box, the cost and acquisition cost will usually be more expensive, but you'll have a regular charm. If you go with another really good one is double your first box. So you just give them double the amount of stuff and great way of clearing stock the cost and acquisition cost will be higher again, but the charm will even be lower. Now if you start moving towards discounts, you usually have a really cheap cost and acquisition cost. So it's all about bounce and you're out.

Speaker 2:

If you really want to take off and grow really quickly and I'm definitely not going to recommend doing this it's free box. You give the first box free and they pay shipping, but they have to do six or 12 months. So dangerous offer because you can get hundreds and hundreds of people signed up really quickly. But you really have to go into it with the correct expectations that your children will be higher and then you have to map out like your cohorts and basically see at what point it becomes profitable. It doesn't work for everyone.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that sounds risky.

Speaker 2:

It is. It's risky. It's a risky offer. I know some companies that have done it exceptionally well and they've built, like richie, multi-million pounds businesses just with free box and they're highly profitable, and then other companies it just doesn't work for. So it depends on your market and, like those, so for you.

Speaker 1:

I know you've tried out hundreds of different offers. Have you found any trends on like how often do you need to change up an offer?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, great question. So that will depend on your market size and how much you're spending on marketing. And if you've a big enough market like if you're in the US, and you're in a big enough niche if you find the winning offer, you may be able to leave that room in for maybe even a year. Well, yeah, you can actually leave it for that amount of time. Now, if you scale up and you're spending more on marketing, the ads will go stale and you may have to change it within a few months. What we found out? To keep the email list fresh, you should have a few different offers that you can rotate. Otherwise it gets very boring. You'll sign the same thing over and over again.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you probably see your Facebook ads costs or your cost of acquisition rising to let you know that offer is getting stale and maybe you need to change it up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So I'm just going to dive deep into your brain here. Like, how do you and your team decide what? Let's just stick with gift with purchase. How do you guys decide on the items? Because I know that's going to be one of the challenges our listeners have is like I don't know what the heck to give for the gift with purchase. So do you ask your, do you survey? Do you just look to the market and look to the industry and see what's popular? How do you guys do it?

Speaker 2:

Great question. So we survey our customers 100%, find out what else they're buying. We look at Google Trends as well, what people are actually searching for. We also look at Amazon new products and we look at how many of them have actually been sold and what the reviews are, and we always see can we pair it with a dog box? So I'll give you an example at the minute, we have some fitness watches coming in. Now it's not like an Apple Watch or anything more Somewhere in love. We have them coming in. So we'll position this oh, bring your dog for a walk and you have your fitness watch and you can basically check your blood pressure and things like that and count them in these steps you're doing so. Will it work? Who knows? We literally we tried so many different offers. Things you think are at home wrong comes out and it completely flops.

Speaker 1:

Can you think of maybe one or two offers that really went gangbusters?

Speaker 2:

So the free dog camera worked. It really went. I'm actually fully sorry about that and we positioned that where people were going back to work after the pandemic and they're feeling guilty about leaving their dog at home. So you can go to work, you can keep in touch, with the app flying out, literally flying out. So many people were signing up and it was quite expensive actually source that camera. I bought. It worked out in the end because we kept them signed up for so long. But somebody came to me and he was like I need an offer and he was sending out a baby box. It was like I need an offer, I'm struggling to get something working. I was like, look, go with this type of camera because you can just position it that it's a baby monitor and see what happens. So he came back to me, got like a few hundred of them. He came back to me and was like, yeah, it's working, they're flying out, nice, so you never know.

Speaker 1:

Nice. Now, when I ran my Sparkle Hustle grow box, we did try some offers with percentages off. I felt like the higher the percentage that I went, the riskier it was to me. But it didn't stand out. It didn't stand out from the clutter and the marketing that we're getting elsewhere. But when I did a gift with purchase and if it was something that wasn't available in the box ever like, it wasn't just leftover inventory, it was something a little higher value or it was something bigger that wouldn't fit in the box normally, because our box was very small, was about six by nine by three.

Speaker 1:

When we did things that were bigger, higher value, that definitely helped. We would also put a quantity limit on it. Just that worked for us. That might not work across the board, but we said we have a hundred of these, so while supplies last, it was that type of message. So then when the hundred ran out, then we'd try a new offer. That's just a little bit of my experience with it. What are some? Do you have any pro tips to help people out as they're considering doing an offer?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you made a very good point there about not using leftover inventory, and that's really true If you're like, just come down and we've fallen into this too. If you go downstairs to your warehouse and you're like, oh, we'll just get rid of this stuff that's been sitting here for two years, we'll do an offer with it, and it usually won't work. It needs something that they actually want.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's great for an upsell. If you're buying, do you also want this? That's a great way to get leftover inventory out the door. You only have that one chance to do that first impression. So what's that brand new shiny offer going to be?

Speaker 2:

Offer has to be so good that when your target market sees it, they're literally ready to play with their credit cards and respond on the spot. What I'm seeing working for a lot of people at the minute is double box, especially with the inventory. So if you are looking to get rid of inventory double box, what's really important to is offer presentation. So if you don't present the offer properly like I've had some people come to me and they go I can't get an offer to convert and you look at their website and it just doesn't look appealing. You have to have it in the header. Usually you need to say how much the offer is worth. Check out busterboxcom if you want to see how to present an offer and you'll see how we do it and it definitely works.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it's important too that if you say you're doing a Facebook ad, that the Facebook ad needs to match what that header looks like, so when somebody clicks on it, they know immediately that they got to the right place there's no question about it and that it also reinforces what that offer was. Make it easy for them, then. Share what the offer is. Give them that call to action right at the top of your website.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely it has to match up, and when they land on your website, like you said, they basically need to know what the offer is and understand what's going on within two seconds. If it's really chosen and they can't see the offer, it won't help you.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, okay. So last question I have about offers is are you sourcing your, like your gift, with purchase products with the same vendors, or are you finding them somewhere else?

Speaker 2:

We're usually finding them somewhere else. But what I'd say to you is, if you're going with a free gift, be very careful. Don't order like a crazy amount. What you can actually do, if you, as a test, you can change your header, come up with the offer, send an email and if they buy, you can actually send the gift from Amazon just to see if actually. Now it will be expensive, but you can test to see if it works and then just pull it down off the website. Go. Okay, that worked. Let's actually go and source these.

Speaker 2:

It's a quick way of doing it because we in a few times we've been stung. Where we go out and we like invest. We don't do it anymore. The funny one would be Freddie Krueger costumes for dogs. At Halloween. We went out and we like what? All of these outfits? Now this is going to, this is going to completely blow up. We're going out on TikTok. I'm going to do all the. I'm going to take TikTok ads not flop, complete flop, and they're sitting in the warehouse for a whole year, these Freddie Krueger dog costumes.

Speaker 2:

So yeah be careful when you're ordering stuff for a free gift.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so you can just dip your toe in the water before you go all in on a purchase order of a hundred or a thousand or wherever you're at with your business. So that's such good advice. I love talking about this stuff and I know this is the higher level type advice that you give in your course. So why don't you tell everybody a little bit about your course and when it's opening?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thanks very much. So the subscription box experts Academy is a full self-paste video course where you basically learn what we've done in both the box to sell over $11 million worth of boxes and acquire a lot of customers in the process. So we keep this course fully up to date and what all? The latest stuff. Over the last year, we actually added 40 new videos to the course with all the stuff. That's just working right now because Facebook ads basically change all the time. So it's helped a lot of people over the last few years and so many different issues scale up. And if you're interested, we're opening on March 12th and definitely use Julie's affiliate link because she'll have a special bonus, I believe.

Speaker 1:

I sure will Yup.

Speaker 2:

And it supports the shell too, so definitely do that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'll be announcing that bonus real soon, but before we wrap up, liam, what are some of the topics that they can expect in your course?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so they're learning about conversion rate optimization. They're learning about how to run Facebook ads properly, how to actually scale up. They will learn follow-up marketing, like email marketing. They learn subscription box metrics, all the metrics like churn, payback periods, all the advanced stuff that you basically need to know to scale.

Speaker 1:

Love it Okay. So, guys, if you're listening and I know a lot of you have asked me do I have the next level training? And this is it. This is where you go after you have outgrown the training that Renee and I provide. We highly recommend Liam's course. I'll be sharing all of the details about it as they come out, along with the affiliate link, so you can sign up with our link and get the special bonus that will be announcing soon. So, liam, thank you so much for coming on again and for sharing your experience with offers. I think that this is something that everybody should be doing and it can make a huge impact in your subscription box business. Thanks again, liam.

Speaker 2:

Thanks very much for having me. I appreciate it. Have a good day.

Speaker 1:

All right, thanks everyone for listening today and we'll see you in the next episode. Bye, verexc스를, snowflake.

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