Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Re-air: Prelaunch your Subscription Box

December 27, 2021 Julie Ball Episode 106
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Re-air: Prelaunch your Subscription Box
Show Notes Transcript

#106 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, we are talking about how to pre-launch your subscription box business. It's a re-air of a popular and impactful episode, while Julie takes a break for the holidays.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone. 

You may wonder on why is it important to think about the pre-launch of your subscription box and how it can raise interest to your audience who can also be your future loyal customers? Get your pen and paper ready as Julie shares her insights and strategies on how you can successfully launch your subscription box with a bang!


  • Why you need to pre-launch? (3:39)
  • 5 Key steps to pre-launching your subscription box idea (5:30)


Julie (00:01):

So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm, grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun. Hey everybody. This is the last episode of 2021 for subscription box basics. I'm Julie Ball, your host and your subscription box business coach. I hope 2021 was awesome for you. I'll be honest. We had some really big ups and downs, but we made, and I'm super, super excited to start the new year and to set some new goals and all the things that come with a brand new year and what feels like a fresh start. So now is a great time for you to reflect back on the year.

Julie (00:55):

Think about what worked, what didn't maybe now is a good time to survey your customers, to get some good feedback that you can make decisions on. And it's a good time to really set some goals for the new year. What are your big revenue goals? And then back into them. How much does that ne mean on a monthly basis and how many boxes do you need to sell on a monthly basis? And then even as far as how many boxes do you need to sell on a weekly basis having your head wrapped around those basic numbers can really help you when you're planning out your strategy, your marketing. So speaking of strategy today, I am once again doing a re-air and I promise this is the last re-air. I just needed some time off for the holidays, but I encourage you to stick around, especially if you are in the idea stage or the pre-launch stage today's re-air is how to pre-launch your subscription box. I'm going to tell you some details about like, why you need a pre-launch and what are the basic steps of your pre-launch. So listen up, take some notes, especially if you're in that stage right now, otherwise I'm wishing you a fabulous close to the year. Hope you had a happy holiday season, and I will see you in the new year.

Julie (02:10):

Hey, welcome to subscription box basics. The podcast where we're talking about pre-launching your subscription box business today pre-launch is the early phase of launching your box before you have anything actually to sell yet, it's a way to generate buzz. And it's a way to start getting the word out there and to actually gather feedback for your upcoming launch. I'm your host, Julie Ball, the founder of sparkle hustle grow, which is a monthly subscription box and online community for female entrepreneurs. I was able to grow my own subscription box business into a full-time income in less than nine months. And one of the biggest keys was my pre-launch. So today we're talking about the five key steps to pre-launching your subscription box idea. Before we dive into those five key steps, let's just talk really quickly about why you even need a pre-launch. I've mentioned this on a past episode, but it's worth repeating because pre-launch is a step you do not want to miss.

Julie (03:12):

So don't skip this. I believe that there's three reasons why you need a pre-launch. So let's dive in first and foremost, the most important reason to have a pre-launch is to fund your box. So many of us launch a business with a $0 budget, or even just a small budget, no investors, nothing to help you get launched, but this pre-launch gives you an opportunity to earn income, some revenue to pay for those first month's boxes. When I launched sparkle hustle grow, I used my business credit card to register the business and to get the domain name, but with a successful pre-launch, I was able to raise over $1,500 in just the startup funds. It, it kind of got me to this place where I could order my custom boxes, then buy the products for that first month's bucks, that founding member's bucks. And the second reason you need a pre-launch is for a validation.

Julie (04:07):

Have you told anyone your idea yet? Have you talked about it and gotten feedback so often we think we know what our customers want, but we really need to ask them, well, we need to listen to them so often, and you'll be able to validate your business idea or figure out where you need to tweak it before you put all your eggs in one basket. And the third reason why you need to pre-launch is to build an audience. When you're launching your business, you can't launch to an audience of zero and expect to earn revenue and expect to be successful. So by building an audience in advance, you actually have someone to tell about your progress and tell them that you're launching and all that good stuff. If you don't build that audience, you really can't expect to have a successful launch. So let's dive into those five key steps to having a successful pre-launch.

Julie (04:58):

Number one, carve out your or concept. You need to spend some time figuring out what your box idea is, who you're going to serve. You need to build your logo, validate that idea and know what pain point you that your box is going to fix. When you're starting a business, you just can't typically come up with an idea and launch in the same day, especially when it comes to product businesses. There's so many moving parts. So that's why you really need to get clarity on your concept. So that first key step is to carve out that concept. If you haven't done that yet, head over to episode number six, where I walk you through my entire process, it's actually fun. I, I think you'll really like it. The second key step to pre-launching your subscription box idea is to nurture and grow your email list.

Julie (05:50):

I just finished telling you that you need to build that audience. Now you need to give them value. You need to be authentic with them and share your experience with them to build that loyalty. All right, let's take a step back first to grow your email list. There's plenty of ways to do it. My favorite go-to expert on this topic is Amy Porterfield. If you haven't already checked out her podcast or signed up for any of her emails, then do that today. Learned so much from her in terms of growing our email list, things like lead magnets and quizzes, um, where you ask a visitor for their email address in exchange for participating in the quiz or their downloading the lead magnet. One of my favorite ways to grow our list is giveaways. Uh, maybe I'll cover how giveaways to grow our email list on a future episode, but real quick, from time to time, we launch giveaways using software called king Sumo.

Julie (06:45):

It's a software that helps your giveaway go viral. In other words, reach more people. Basically they do that through the actions that the visitor can take. For example, visitors can earn extra entries by sharing the link on Facebook, or they can earn extra entries by following you on Instagram. It's a really cool, affordable, and easy to use software that we absolutely love and recommend. And then the last thing on growing your list with giveaways is to make sure that your prize is super specific to your ideal target audience. Don't get an Amazon gift card because everyone wants that. You want it to draw in only your target audience. There's no use to growing an email list of people who just wanna win prizes, and aren't even likely to turn into your end customer. So now we've talked about growing your email list, but what's all this you say about nurturing them.

Julie (07:37):

What is that mean? Well, as you nurture your email list, you're gonna be building this anticipation, this excitement behind the scenes. So they'll be ready and willing to convert. When you launch to the public, some ways to nurture your email list include sending them updates on your progress. Show them when the logos finalized, because they that's a really exciting part of your business. Show them when your first set of boxes come in, you can share product pictures, asking them to hit reply and to vote for what they'd like to see in future boxes. It's just really simple. Just keep that conversation going. So they stay engaged and excited about being one of your founding members. The third key step to prelaunch your subscription box idea is product development. Not only do you have to determine your product pricing, but you need to figure out what's actually going to go in that first month's box.

Julie (08:33):

So just go out to stores, buy some products and put them in a mockup box. Then use pictures of that box in your mark. Don't worry. It doesn't have to be what your first month's box is. You just have to start somewhere, but giving your audience a good idea of why it might be in that box. Kind of like the product assortment. They can really help start your marketing in your pre-launch and get people excited. And if you're not sure to where to start with this one, head over to episode number eight, where I talk about product sourcing. That's a, a good place for you to start the fourth key step to pre-launch your subscription box business idea is tech time. Inevitably, you are going to have to get familiar with some software. You need to build your landing page to collect email addresses, and eventually you'll need to build your website where you can accept orders and you need a third party processor like Stripe or PayPal to actually collect the money.

Julie (09:29):

So to have a successful launch, you need to carve out some time and get into that technology. Don't stress though. A lot of it is actually simpler than you think, and I'm not gonna get into all the tech here because back in episode, number 10, I dish on all the tech we use that should definitely help you with decision fatigue. I just remember that it took me a ton of time researching and testing out software before we landed on our systems. So go check that episode out. And the last key step to pre-launch your subscription box is a, pre-sale not everyone does this, but it was so valuable to me in launching sparkle hustle grow. So I that's why I include it. As I mentioned before, many of you will start on a very small budget and that's okay. That's what the pre-sale is for.

Julie (10:16):

You've nurtured your email list and you'll, you will have built anticipation and they're super excited and they say, take my money, please. So are you ready for it? A pre-sale in my eyes is an exclusive opportunity for your VIPs to be the first to jump onboard. So when you accept the pre-sale orders, you're generating revenue to launch your business. You already have some money in the bank when you're ready to launch to the public. Let me give you an example. So you could open up your founding members box for one to two weeks to your VIP list. So maybe that's your email list before you launch to the public. Think of it like an early bird or a fast action takers sale. These extra weeks will turn your first month into maybe like a five or six week sales cycle instead of your standard four week or one month sales cycle.

Julie (11:07):

With that extra time, you can rack up your first sales to put some money in the bank to buy your first products. That again, that pre-sale was so impactful for me. When I launched sparkle home will grow and was able to generate about $1,500 in revenue in that first sales cycle. And I used it to buy products in custom boxes. Can you imagine what that feels like to actually have some money in the bank when you launched to the public? Do a pre-sale. So if you've listened this far and you're interested in learn more about the subscription box industry and subscription box businesses, head on over to subscription box for some free resources and to get on our VIP list for special deals and opportunities. When we open subscription box bootcamp, I hope to see you there head on over to subscription box bootcamp to join that list. Thanks for hanging out with me today as always. And I'll see you in the next episode.