On the podcast, we talk with Alice Muir about how best to onboard premium users, what lifecycle optimization looks like both tactically and strategically, and how to spot users before they churn. She shares insight into why focusing on CRMs for win-back strategies is only part of the story, and the best campaigns to entice users to stick with their subscriptions.
📧 Email is good for two things: drip campaigns — offering a staggered, increasing discount to entice signups — and long-form content to keep premium users engaged.
📲 Consider using in-app messaging as proxy testing for paywalls if you don’t have access to A/B testing tools or are working with different regional pricing.
🎁 Using CRM for quick win-backs is a band-aid for churn — instead, you need to consistently add value to people’s lives.
🤔 Tap into human psychology and increase retention by reminding people of what they’re going to lose by unsubscribing.
💸 Balance discounts with the need to entice more high-intent users back into the app, because at some point discounts mean you’re losing money.
About Alice Muir
👨💻 She’s the Senior Growth Consultant at Phiture.
💡“In my experience, the low-hanging fruit is the strategy and strategic lifecycle targeting, because you would be surprised at how many apps … have absolutely nothing in place for people that have started a trial or are already subscribers.”
Links & Resources
[2:09] Top app learnings: Alice has worked with — and learned from — a number of subscription apps.
[3:17] Subscription onboarding strategy: Many top apps in the App Store don’t have a strategy focusing on those already subscribed or who’ve started a trial. Sometimes a simple message is all that’s needed.
[7:36] Feature highlight: Premium experience onboarding must emphasize additional features — not just what the free experience offers. Asking users what they like best in each experience never hurts.
[9:59] Channel blending: Email is great for drip campaigns — offering a staggered increased discount — as well as long-form content to keep premium users engaged. Push has limitations however, so it’s better to use for win-back scenarios.
[12:54] In-app messaging: Using full-screen in-app messages that look like native paywalls can be used as a proxy for testing the latter, Alice explains — with caveats.
[19:25] Next-step growth: For big apps with a lot of data, correlation analysis is a huge area of opportunity. The same can’t be said for startup apps, which lack this data. But what does it look like?
[24:50] From correlation to causation: Alice explains her strategy for driving value from correlation and funnel analysis for drop-offs.
[27:10] Churn prevention strategy: A holistic approach to long-term success harmonizes with Robbie Kellman Baxter’s view. A cost-of-living crisis is causing people to scrutinize their costs like never before, so apps need continual content for real added value.
[32:05] Spotting the churn: Alice suggests segmenting already-disengaged users, dissecting the reason, and re-onboarding them if necessary.
[37:19] Winning win-back campaigns: Reminding people of lost benefits, creating a sense of urgency, celebrating membership, and implementing screenshot capture functionality for premium features are all possible tactics for reinforcing the value proposition.
[39:32] Making discounts work: Discounts can seem attractive, but might encourage long-term loss — the key is to balance discounts with attracting high-intent app users. Reminding people what’s coming can be highly effective.