Ellie James
5 January 2017 

Subscription services in 2016 were incredibly popular, with people subscribing to monthly supplies of socks, books, razor blades, as well as the traditional magazines. But subscription campaign ideas can also work well for companies with memberships, such as gyms or clubs. Here are five campaign ideas that can be used to promote most subscription and membership services.


Promoting gift subscriptions around seasonal campaigns such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter is a technique that has been used successfully for many years in the publishing world. It attracts those who might struggle to find thoughtful presents for their loved ones, those who don’t want to go out onto the high street or have left it until last minute. It is a great hook for subscription campaigns and most subscription services make ideal gifts.

A sparkly GIF for Future magazines advertising subscriptions to their photography magazines as a Christmas present

One company that was seen a lot around Christmas this year was the London Sock Company. They have a sock subscription service that is a great gift for a fashion conscious man, as they send out a new, fashionable pair of socks every month.

Securing renewals can be more difficult and you should also target the right holiday for your campaign, whilst Christmas can be a fairly universal time for subscriptions, giving a subscription to a magazine might not suit other holidays as well.


A trial period could consist of giving the first issue free or a set time at a discounted rate before an automatic step-up, introducing users to the benefits of being a subscriber with less commitment. This will attract those who are unsure if the subscription service is for them and tends to be taken up by people buying the subscription for themselves rather than other people.

The low entry price will encourage people to subscribe, but it doesn’t cheapen your product. Companies need to be flexible if they choose this option and allow a one-off payment, and there must be the opportunity to cancel after the trial. For this reason, there needs to be a realistic expectation for the dropout rate.


Persuade people to subscribe by offering a free gift which is provided by a commercial partner who might have a lot of stock left over in exchange for publicity for their brand. This is normally aimed at people who have been using your product but haven’t subscribed yet. It gives potential subscribers the added incentive to start subscribing.

Targeting potential subscribers means that you can choose a relevant and targeted gift. It gives a great motivation and brand partners get publicity for their product. This technique has proven to work well for magazines, especially specialist subject magazines.


Subscribers have so much choice now; they want more for their money. The ‘club-scription’, a subscriber-only club,  provide communities for subscribers, with benefits, competitions or articles that only they can see, as a reward for becoming a member of an elite readership.

Examples include TIME magazine which has the ‘TIME Vault’ that allows subscribers to read all past issues, and Gardener’s World has a section of their website that only subscribers can see called the Secret Garden and subscriber only editions of the magazine. For more info on these ‘club-scriptions’, click here.

Gardeners World creates a special edition of the magazine just for subscribers.


You can use social media to push any of the above tactics but competitions are a digital campaign strategy that uses social media in a bespoke way. Making a specific, engaging and interactive experience can attract potential subscribers, but competitions that only allow members to enter can also help push subscription rates. Quidco regularly has competitions that only members can enter to win cash prizes.

Quidco's Santa Tracker was an added incentive for members to come back to the website over Christmas.


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