7 Reasons Why Subscriptions Survive

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

This may come as news, but remember subscriptions? You know, those physical objects that used to come in the mail, regularly, with your name on the envelope. No, not bills. The ones you picked out, that you actually looked forward to?

Subscriptions are about selection, identity, and indulging in an affordable luxury. They tap into the childhood (as well as very American) pleasure of selecting just what you want, ordering it, and waiting for it to show up at your door. From books to magazines to fashion-item-of-the-month clubs, subscriptions are not going anywhere.

People love subscriptions. They are beginning and renewing them at exponential rates, and they are especially picking up speed among Centennials (Gen Z) and Millennials. There’s a romance as well as a practicality to subscription services that businesses and non-profits might want to think about harnessing. We’ll give you seven reasons why subscriptions are surviving and thriving, and you decide what to do next.

1 – The convenience of subscriptions

In an overly-busy world, subscriptions provide a regular, dependable connection to a source of products or information that doesn’t have to be scheduled or sought. This answers a very real need and desire in the American consumer base. You shop once and continue to receive exactly what you want, straight to your mailbox (or inbox, as the case may be). In other words, once a subscriber commits, they’ve committed to regularly engage something they want or care about without having to remember to do it. What does this add up to? Convenience for the win.

2 – The surprise factor

One of the joys of subscriptions is waiting for a new package, issue, or episode to arrive. The other side of this coin is forgetting that you have anything coming at all, and then opening your mailbox or your email alerts to find there’s a new goody waiting for you.

An added element of surprise—very popular and successful right now—comes with the subscription box. It’s a grab bag perfectly tailored to you, but you don’t know what you’ve ordered until it gets to you.

Not all subscriptions are related to leisure of course. The Harvard Business Review may or may not cause the same feelings of glee when peeping out of the mailbox as, say, a Bark Box. (Or it may!) But whether it’s organic soap, National Geographic for Kids, or vitamins, a subscription arrives as a welcome surprise.

3 – The fun factor

And surprises (especially when you kind of plan them, they’re organized, and you know you’ll like them, unlike surprise birthday parties) are just plain fun. What explains the frenzy of excitement among children during Scholastic book ordering season? Do you remember those, back in the day? It was the sheer fun of it! Americans love this feeling: looking through the catalogue, picking exactly the right books, ticking the order boxes with a pencil, and then, six weeks later, finding those gleaming new books on your desk after lunch one afternoon.

The fun of receiving an order in the mail doesn’t stop at childhood. Just look at Amazon! But why is a subscription, in particular, adding to this fun factor, rather than just ordering on demand?

4 – Ticket to the inside

Because first, whether or not a subscription is associated with an actual club, subscriptions literally deliver on the enjoyment of being “on the inside.” The weekly, monthly, or quarterly thrill comes from being in the special group that has committed and now knows and experiences what you know and experience. This makeup line or financial journal may have five million other subscribers, but they come to my door. I have an inside scoop on a good thing.

5 – Sensory experience

Secondly, subscriptions are particularly fun because they promise and give a sensory experience. Great subscription services will capitalize on this. The crinkle of branded tissue paper, the sleek plastic wrapper, the little “thank you” note tucked inside—all of these elements can make receiving mail feel like opening a birthday present. If you are an organization offering a subscription, investing in a little extra touch or flourish can be well worth it. Even something as simple as a clever, branded sticker to hold newsletter pages together, or an envelope with a unique texture or customization, makes receiving a subscription feel like a luxury experience.

6 – Personalization

Great subscription services will also capitalize on this. Successful subscriptions know their subscribers and communicate that feeling of being known. Personalization in this sense is more than about getting what you want, or hearing an organization “call your name.” A well-chosen subscription becomes one element in an organized, well-curated life—which your younger crowd, in particular, as well as well-off Boomers, dearly enjoy developing.

The art, tech, business, or music journal on the coffee table, the skin care products in the cupboard, the beer or tea served to guests—they make up the elements of a life. People use subscriptions to help form identity, build lifestyle, form habits, and distinguish their personal styles.

7 – Shortcut to loyalty

Subscriptions allow a customer to get to know a product and a company more intimately. In other words, it allows for a sustained client-vendor relationship. This is a win-win for subscribers and subscription services. A personalized subscription can feel like a substantial relationship with the company very quickly and is easy to turn to brand loyalty.

Think about your favorite podcast. After following it for a while, you feel like you know personally the people behind the voices you hear regularly. You’re receiving something from them regularly that you enjoy or need, and a bond is formed. A similar thing can happen with a good brand behind a subscription.

When you’re ready to send it, Letter Jacket Envelopes will help you make it look awesome. We can get you a gorgeous, fully customizable envelope for newsletters, journals, booklets, magazines, invoices and more. We can even house little notes and thank-yous. Get in touch to start your order!

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