In a previous article, we talked about how you can best use the “Freemium” model for business success. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the tactics and strategies (we refer to these as “Secret Ninja Tactics”) to significantly increase the response rate on your already successful Freemium based sites. The Freemium model will make you money, but using these Secret Ninja Tactics could double or triple that amount.
1. “Hide” Your Free Entry Point
The first Secret Ninja tactic is to hide the fact that your “entry point” is free. Why would you want to make it harder for people to get your information? First, people often associate the word ‘free’ with ‘no value’. You certainly don’t want this. In fact, the word “free” probably shouldn’t appear anywhere on your website.
In addition, if someone visits your site and find that it’s totally free to sign up, then they might think “Hmmm…. I can sign-up anytime, and it’s free. There’s no rush – I’ll just come back later.” At that point you’ve probably lost them forever.
So they’ll see that there’s a fee to access your site (reaffirming the value of your products), and you’ll put the “free access” page somewhere deeper in your website structure. The next step is to only grant access to your free sign-up page when someone does something for you first.
2. Start Building a Relationship Through a Little “Work”
Here are some examples of what you might do to make the customer work to find the free entry point:
Make them buy a product (this can be anything but it works best if it’s something low price or low risk).
Make them buy a product via an affiliate link (again, this should be something low in price and risk).
Make them sign-up to one of your newsletters (and confirm their opt-in).
Make them post a comment to your website blog.
Make them join another one of your network sites (which might be a free sign-up).
Make them solve some kind of puzzle or riddle (even simple Flash-based jigsaw puzzles can be very effective).
Make them Tweet something for you
Making it a little harder to get to the free content does three things:
First, requiring some action reinforces the perception of value. Since they have to do something to get your product, the offer is no longer “free”.
Second, making the prospect jump through a hoop lays the foundation for a sense of mutual reciprocation. They do something for you, then you give them a “gift”, and now it’s their turn again.
Third, structuring things this way forms a relationship. That person has to meet you at a point that’s beneficial to you both – you’re communicating and getting to know each other.
Each of these concepts contributes to what happens next – when you make them an offer to access the “premium” content of your website.
3. Reclaiming the Lost Upgrades
Your goal, ultimately, is to sell premium content to your free members. But you’ll always have a number of visitors who won’t take you up on your initial sales offer. So I’ll outline a few of the Ninja Tactics you can do to persuade people to upgrade at some point – these can be great to recover these “lost upgrades”.
If you can send your new website visitors three or four messages in the first week after their initial visit, then you’ll persuade a number of them to upgrade and that’ll increase your conversion rate.
Structure your free content as “part one” of a series. When you make it a natural lead in to “part two” (the paid information), your conversion rate will increase.
Curiosity will beat the “hard sell” – get your visitors hungry for the information that you haven’t given them yet, and they’ll want to pay to access it.
4. Let Them See, But Don’t Let Them Touch (Yet).
Using specialized software like MemberSpeed can help you make the digital equivalent of a salesman’s “puppy dog close”.
An unpaid member can see the links to the premium content, but when they click on it, they see a page that says “Sorry, you’re still a free member” and “You need to upgrade your membership access that material.” It’s almost like holding the puppy in the pet store – once you get close to taking it home, it’s hard to let go. So you end up buying.
5. Stop Making Your Premium Content a “One-Time” Offer.
Think about why people might not sign up on the original offer. Perhaps when they first joined the site they didn’t have the budget for a paid membership. Maybe they first needed to see the free content to evaluate it. Or maybe it’s taken some time, but now they trust you enough to purchase.
So instead of just a “One-Time” offer, give this a try – say something like “As a welcome offer we’d like to give you a 20% reduction off the cost of upgrading today – CLICK HERE”… However you can also upgrade later directly inside the member’s area.” Sometimes making something a one-time offer will work against you.
6. Envy is a Powerful Motivator
Another Ninja Tactic is to make your free members envious. Let them see what kinds of things you’re giving more to your paid members. One way to do this is email your entire membership database (both the paid and free users) a new piece of valuable content.
The key is to make sure your free members get to see what they’re missing out on. Nobody wants to be the person who loses out. It’s very powerful – Just remember to be subtle. Don’t smack people in the face with it – but make sure they know they’re not getting the same perks and advantages.