Getting a business off the ground is no easy feat. If you’ve recently launched a business, take a moment to celebrate that. When a new business starts to grow quickly, it’s a heady feeling. Your confidence grows and you may even start to feel unstoppable. I know I did. My subscription box business had been booming for a full year. I met and then exceeded all of my goals. I sold new spots in my subscription as fast as I opened them up. Until I didn’t. A year into my subscription box business, I had hit a plateau. My subscriber numbers had stopped increasing and (gulp) were even starting to go down.
I started to wonder if this was as good as it was going to get. If the growth I’d experienced was as much as my business was capable of. In my heart, I knew it wasn’t. I knew I had a good product and my subscribers loved what I was offering. But there was no denying that I had hit a plateau and something needed to change if I was going to move past it and continue to grow.
It’s important to remember plateaus are completely normal. You may not have experienced one yet, but it’s a near certainty that you will at some point. When you do? When your business reaches a point where growth has stopped, it’s time to make a plan for how to move past that plateau.
When I experienced a plateau with my subscription box, I realized I needed to shake things up. I needed to do things differently than I had done them in the past. I needed to make my business new, fresh, and fun. Keep reading to learn how I broke through my plateau and how I coach business owners to break through theirs every day.
Here are my 3 ways to break through a plateau.
1. Develop a multi-channel marketing plan.
Gone are the days of simply posting on Facebook and Instagram, and welcoming piles of new customers every month. Four or five years ago, it was possible. Social media was so much easier then. But these days? There are stories, reels, and constantly changing algorithms that you need to stay up to date on if you want your content to be seen.
It’s also important to realize that your marketing strategy can’t rely on social media alone. You’ve got to invest in ads, and you have to understand how to set them up the right way. You’ll also need to be consistent with marketing to your email list. That group of people has already told you they’re interested in hearing from you. Make sure you’re nurturing them and, when the time is right, presenting your offer. Beyond social media, paid ads, and email marketing, explore other channels to add to your overall marketing strategy.
A multi-channel marketing plan will help you reach new customers and keep the top of your sales funnel full. Consistent audience building is vital to sustaining your business’s growth and avoiding the dreaded plateau.
2. Get in front of new audiences.
When you are first starting your business, it’s normal for new customers to come in waves. But when those numbers start to slow down, it’s time to get yourself in front of more people. And you want to do it in a way that is engaging and authentic.
Attracting new audiences means getting creative and giving our social media platforms what they’re asking for. Right now, that means video. Reels, short videos, and LIVES increase reach and engagement. Share your passion, the why behind your business, and get a little personal. Without building connections with your audience, you’ll find it nearly impossible to grow beyond your plateau.
Consider reaching out to podcasters whose audiences include your ideal customer and ask how you can serve them. Inside my Launch Your Box coaching membership, I teach to serve before you sell. Some of the most successful subscription box owners I know started from a place of service and continue to serve their audiences well. When you can show up in a way that genuinely serves a new audience well, they’ll be naturally drawn to you and what you have to offer.
3. Take a hard look at customer retention.
Let’s say over a certain period of time, you’ve had repeat business with 90% of your customers. That’s a really good retention rate. But it’s also an opportunity. What if you can shift your repeat customers up to 95%? In my industry, on average, it is five times more expensive to acquire a new subscriber than it is to retain existing subscribers.
Investing in your existing customers can be your biggest opportunity for growing past a plateau.
Do you send out a customer survey in order to get customer feedback? This is an amazing chance to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Consider rewarding loyal customers by offering them an exclusive product or granting them early access to a specific product or service ahead of the public. Everyone wants to feel special and rewarding your existing customers can only boost their loyalty to you and your business.
When your business hits a plateau, it’s not time to panic. Instead, it’s an opportunity to expand your marketing strategies, find new ways to reach both existing and new audiences, and serve your loyal customers well so that they stick around. A plateau is a reminder that you need to constantly learn and grow in your business. Sometimes that means changing what you’ve been doing in order to break through a plateau.
Sarah Williams is the CEO and founder of two 7-figure businesses, Framed by Sarah and Launch Your Box, where Sarah has worked with thousands of subscription box owners and those wanting to start a subscription box, providing in-depth training that takes them through each step of starting, launching, and growing their business. She is also the host of Launch Your Box Podcast, which launched in February 2021.