For freemium success: tell them why
Posted May 15, 2010on:
The New York Times has announced their latest freemium experiment – a “metered model” where lighter users get content for free but those who use the site heavily will be asked to pay.
On the face of it, this may just cause heavy users to leave the NYT when they hit the subscribe request. However, this model is worthwhile exploring if the NYT pays close attention to three things: user flow, payment methods and telling them why.
There are still a suprising amount of sites that make it difficult for you to part with cash. For example, just the other day, I was very keen to support the inspirational Sue Black in her 10k run in support of the Mental Health Foundation. Having entered my donation figure I was then confronted with the ‘are you registered?’ question – which took me in a full circle of thinking I was registered when I wasn’t.
The point is, think very carefully about uneccessary barriers when you are trying to collect payment. If justgiving.com lets me pay by PayPal – why do I also need to register with them?
An important consideration in relation to this is payment methods: providing as many options as possible makes things easy for users. Here are some of the most popular online payment service providers that should be considered – after weighing up a) the cost of implementation and b) charges for handling transactions.
- RBS WorldPay
- Google Checkout
- Amazon Simple Pay
- Checkout by Amazon including 1-Click ordering
If possible users should be asked the method they prefer before any are built into a website. A pragmatic option is to implement one payment provider and then add more until the site has reached a satisfactory level of payment completion (it is possible to measure this by viewing the exit page from the purchase screen).
Telling them why
Potential subscribers should be told very clearly the benefits they will get from subscribing / donating / making a purchase. But the site can also be explicit that an action will help the site – and that this help is needed. Content on the New York Times isn’t free to produce, and making it clear they are dependent on user patronage will serve as an incentive for the loyal user to go through with their payment. Here are some examples of sites being explicit to users that completing an action / making a payment will help sustain them. They are mainly donation-funded media, but the principles employed and language used is transferable to any online operation seeking user support:
Money saving expert
Age of Stupid
(via Laurel Papworth)
(click through to their donate page to see a great example of providing lots of payment options)