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How Headspace Got 25K New Subscribers and Cut Fraud by More than 30%

Acquiring new subscribers is a never-ending challenge for app companies. Discounts can be effective, but if you want to verify a customer’s eligibility for an offer—and you should—it adds another obstacle. And rising acquisition costs loom like a storm cloud just waiting to rain on any campaign. 

Headspace found a way to beat the odds and win thousands of new subscribers while reducing fraud by more than one-third. And the company did it in part by leveraging its current customer base to drive growth. Their secret weapon? A verified, exclusive offer for teachers. 

Start by Giving Your Ideal Customers a Special Offer

Headspace is always looking for ways to bring its meditation tools to groups that need them most and can impact the lives of others. Educators are one of the company’s ideal consumer communities because they are often stressed, and they are in a position to influence the lives of countless children and their families. 

To support educators, Headspace created an exclusive offer that gave them free access to its meditation app, and then began building coalitions with school district superintendents to spread the word. It was a great approach, but having to go through layers of school administration ended up creating bottlenecks. It limited the company’s ability to reach teachers directly—and to scale as the initiative grew.

Headspace decided it would be more effective to reach teachers with a direct-to-consumer strategy instead. But since “free” is an attractive price, Headspace needed a way to verify teachers to avoid fraud that would cut into their commercial sales.

Verify Your Offer to Keep It Exclusive

Headspace selected SheerID’s Verification Platform to deliver its exclusive offer and digitally verify every educator who redeemed it. The move protected the offer from discount abuse and gave Headspace the means to fully engage educators by honoring and rewarding them.

“Teachers often face limited budgets and receive little recognition for their work. Giving them our app for free allows us to thank them for their service and nurture an authentic brand relationship built on trust,” said the social impact lead for Headspace. “Using SheerID not only protects our margins, it keeps the offer truly exclusive, which underscores our commitment to teachers and makes the offer even more valuable in their eyes.”

In addition to giving teachers free access to the Headspace app, the company also provided best practices, tips, and tools to help them leverage the app in their classrooms.

Leverage Your Current Customers to Find New Ones

To get the word out about the offer, the company used both paid and organic social channels. And it worked directly with education partners like Pure Edge that have incorporated Headspace into their services and professional development offerings for teachers.

But perhaps the most impressive promotion was the company’s “tell a teacher” campaign. Everyone knows a teacher, and teachers are a tight-knit community that loves to spread the word about a good deal. There are more than 21 million educators worldwide, and research shows that 99% of teachers would share an exclusive offer with others who were eligible for it.

To leverage this powerful word-of-mouth marketing, Headspace sent an email to all its US members encouraging them to tell a teacher about the offer. According to the company’s social impact lead, “The email performed extremely well. In addition to our broader referral campaign, we found that our second hyper-targeted educator referral campaign had open rates that were 10% higher than our typical email campaigns, and clickthrough rates that were 15% higher than average.”

Winning New Subscribers and Planting the Seeds for Even More

Launching the exclusive offer to teachers brought Headspace more than 25,000 new users. And SheerID made the campaign even more cost-effective by preventing discount abuse. Using SheerID to verify teachers when they redeemed the offer reduced fraud by 33% in the US and 41% internationally.

It also gave Headspace zero-party data it could use to nurture teachers and turn them into loyal users, a move that can drive exponential returns. Teachers that use Headspace inspire parents, friends, and other adults to pay for the app and follow suit. And when teachers bring Headspace into the classroom, students form good habits they’ll want to maintain by becoming paid subscribers when they graduate.

Headspace is excited by the potential the teacher program has to impact both Headspace’s mission and its bottom line. And the company is counting on SheerID to make it happen.

“Our identity marketing program is a strong extension of our marketing strategy, and it’s helping us create lifelong customers,” said Headspace’s social impact lead. “SheerID gives us the ability to continue expanding internationally and to build programs for other consumer communities that align with our mission and vision, such as the military and first responders. It’s a win-win for our company and our audience.”

Drive Results as Good as Headspace

Acquiring your best customers is easy when you give a verified exclusive offer to the consumer communities that align with your brand. And you’ll spend less because those community members make your offer go viral. 

See firsthand how SheerID’s Verification Platform can help you win loyal subscribers. Request a free demo now.