Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Customers won't pay for content today that was 'free' yesterday

News companies need to make sure that the product consumers are paying for looks and acts different to the one they previously consumed for free.

If customers aren't confident that what is on the other side of the paywall is quality, you won't get a click let alone a credit card number. 

The content needs to be repackaged and presented in a way that    the change required for the customer and makes them feel (real or perceived) that what's behind the paywall is better. Let them have a look around. Give them the assurance that the quality is good and you have what they want. Then get them to enter their credit card details. Not for one year or even one month subscription, but just to sign up to your site and get an account.  

The issue is not that customers don't want to pay for content. 

The issue is that they don't want to pay for the 'free' content. 

Make it look and act nothing like the 'free' content and they'll pay for it. 

Look at Apple iTunes. Apple confront the point of pain early in the sign up process and make the expectation very clear with the customer that you must pay for content. Consumers can't register an Apple ID without entering a credit card number or iTunes voucher. No payment method, no Apple ID. However, you can get an ID without actually making any monetary payment- Apple just want the credit card upfront so they can transact from day one. 

Remember that the content products (music, videos and books) are not new and has been available previously, but in a different format.

It feels new. The payment part is out of the way and forgotten and who knows what a song is meant to cost? Apple has told us in a palatable way.  

The focus for media companies now needs to be getting payment information off their audiences with simple product offerings that look and feel nothing like their existing ones.  

Repackaging products and getting a payment system in lowers the paywall and speeds up audience acquisition time. 

Strip back news offerings to the bare bones and move customers on to trackable customer ID's attached to a form of payment method. Sell them products and services they want and they will willingly provide a credit card number- even if it's not for news in the first instance. Initial payments may be small, even following the Paypal method of a five cent 'verification charge', but getting the payment system running then allows sites to transact products and services to the news audience.

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

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