We often think of money-generating sites as gargantuan, complicated e-commerce structures with a payment portal and a huge catalogue of merchandise (i.e. Amazon.com). But here lately subscription-based microsites have been gaining traction, and drawing significant revenue. Think you have to build Rome to turn a profit? Turns out, a tiny app can go a long way.
Business used to require large, complicated infrastructure to handle things like manufacturing, distribution, and sales. While the principles are the same, digital product development has lowered the barrier to entry quite a bit. Manufacturing costs are gone— with the exception of the skills required to produce a digital good (which definitely takes time and effort). If you have access to a server, you have a way to put your product into the world— and hosting fees are minute compared to factory costs for a physical product.
So, how do you position your brand and app in a way that’s going to sell? Here are some tips derived from some fun, pop culture references:
- Offer a price equivalent to a cup of gourmet coffee. As an example, the Kardashian sisters’ websites have $2.99/month price points. This price reflects both the value to the subscriber (you can only get so much value out of a few manicure and workout videos) and the minor complexity of the development process. If you’ve kept your features minimal— as needed for a small, simple app— a low monthly price such as this one shouldn’t be a problem.
- Place your best teaser content up front and guide users down the purchase/subscribe funnel. Here are a few funnel examples. A strategically-placed play button over a captivating thumbnail— but oh no! The video is locked until I subscribe, which the app invites me to do right now. Compelling images & headlines tied to an article I desperately want to read (that headline really drew me in!), but I can’t until I subscribe! You get the gist :).
- Keep the content fresh! This one is simple, but worth stating. It especially applies if you’re employing a subscription model. No one is going to pay a recurring monthly charge for the same old, stale articles and videos. Imagine if HBO charged you each month to watch the same three episodes of your favorite series (whack!).
- Micro-target your content to your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA). Even if you’re the most famous person in the world, your content isn’t about you— it’s about your customer. What is she interested in? What is she Googling? What is she doing throughout her day that you can help with? These questions will get you focused to create spot-on content for your customer— stuff compelling enough to make them hand over their credit card with “Ohh, I gotta have that now” fury. Again, visiting the dark-haired beauties, there’s an ICA for each Kardashian sister:
The single gym-rat with attitude (Khloe).
The total fashionista diva looking to take her makeup game to the next level (Kim).
The sweet and stylish mommy (Kourtney).
Some great marketing minds have clearly sat with the three and done their homework on the users each archetype attracts.
- Keep the style fresh. You need to keep the look and feel up-to-date, as well. Shake up the colors on the homepage. Add a shiny new graphic. You don’t have to redesign the whole UI, but remind users there are new experiences to have. That’ll keep them coming back!
- Upsell with affiliate links to products you push in your content. Writing a piece about your early morning runs with your awesome-sounding, chic headphones? Include an image and an affiliate link! Affiliate sales gives you a percentage of the sale without overhead cost. And while 1-8% of the product price may not seem like a lot, it can add up over time as you build a fanbase. Scrolling the shoppable items also gives you am idea of their not-so-poor income bracket. But, each high-income persona is targeted differently. The single gym-rat with attitude (Khloe), the total fashionista diva looking to take her makeup game to the next level (Kim), and the sweet and stylish mommy (Kourtney). Some great marketing minds have clearly sat with the three and done their homework on the users each archetype attracts.
- Find a luxury service you can convert to a digital format. The price you can offer will seem like a steal. Kim Kardashian noted her chic makeup lessons typically go for upwards of $500, so the $3/month fee to access them through her app appears as a bargain to her followers.
Knowing you don’t have to be a giant to make an impact online, what are you inspired to build? Show me your ideas in the comments! I’d love to hear from you 🙂