If you're launching a subscription site, should you start entirely free in order to drive up initial users quickly, and then switch over to a paid offering with only a little free stuff as teaser-content? Or should you start out doing the latter from day one?
Marc Cenedella, President TheLadders.com, who has been rolling out a series of paid sub sites for high-level job seekers for the past year, has tested it both ways. Results?
"In the weeks after we went paid, people who came on board who had never known there was a free version were happier customers. That got rid of customer angst, it was better business, and we didn't have to spend time explaining why we did it." The site that launched directly in premium version, "has one of the highest conversion percentages among premium users."
He still uses free newsletters to generate the conversions of course. The best place to get opt-ins are word-of-mouth and paid search ads. So far, the majority of conversions happen within two-three weeks of opt-in to the weekly ezines.
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