Winning in The Subscription Economy

Winning in The Subscription Economy

“In order to draw meaning from an example it doesn’t have to be from your world.”Malcom Gladwell

Mind Blowing Facts

Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple have a combined market cap (total market value of outstanding shares) of approximately $1.72 trillion US Dollars.

This equates to the GDP of Canada, thereby making them collectively equivalent to the 10th largest country in the world. Think about that for a moment.

These companies have one thing in common: Their business models are designed to capitalize on subscription relationships.

The good news is you can learn from their respective business models how to make your small business a winner in the subscription economy.

Amazon: A Retail Buying Subscription

Thanks to its Prime subscription product, Amazon controls 43% of all eCommerce worldwide. The roughly 10 billion US Dollars Amazon generates with Prime subscriptions pales in comparison to the revenue it generates from buyers with a subscription discount mindset.

Facebook: A Social Subscription Community

Everything Facebook does as a  free membership community is designed to learn as much about our behaviors as possible. Then it monetizes that data with advertising. The reason this community remains free is the users are the product advertisers are paying to reach.

Google: A Subscription Identity Service

YouTube, Contacts and Docs (Drive) are just a few of the many free Google subscription services that collectively establish your online identity. Paradoxically, the more Google knows about you the better it can serve you with these services, while also better serving the advertisers willing to pay to reach you and people with similar identities.

Apple: A Subscription Experience

We think of Apple as a company that sells innovative products, and it does that exceptionally well because it is intensely focused on guiding your subscription experience with its products and services. This is why there are just a few product choices available from selected retail outlets, and why Apple now offers economic incentives to rent rather than own your next iPhone.

Your Digital Subscription Communities

One of the reasons blogging is not what it used to be is that when Google killed Google Reader many people stopped using RSS to subscribe to blogs. Smart businesses took notice and shifted to email subscriptions to deliver their content and marketing messages.

Start thinking in terms of digital subscription communities. You will realize that email newsletters, podcasts and membership sites are opportunities for capitalizing on the subscription economy. I’ll be using all three and more at Landscape Digital Institute.

That brings us to how you can monetize your digital subscription communities. This could be with advertising like the big dogs, or more likely the sale of your products and services.

Personally, I like all three for different reasons. We’ll discuss this further in a future episode of This Old New Business Podcast.

Are you a lawn or landscape or related green industry professional?

Consider joining our free Landscape Digital Institute community to discover relevant resources, tools and training on all aspects of digital business, selling and marketing

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subscription economy. Meet me over on Twitter to take the conversation further.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps organizations use media to create exceptional customer experiences that drive business growth in a digital, social and global world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Adaptive Content: How to Map and Manage the Buyers Journey

Adaptive Content: How To Map and Manage The Buyers Journey

This is Episode 44 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

If you are not familiar with the term, adaptive content is generally described as content that meets the buyer when and where they are. This is often described as having available the right content, in the right place, and at the right time.

In other words, your content needs to be integrated across multiple channels and devices. While this may seem idealistic, it is indeed possible if you make the effort to map out your buyer’s journey and continuously make experience-based adjustments.

If you really care about being the best in your market and serving your customers well, I’m confident you’ll really enjoy this one-on-one episode with me. If social media and content marketing feels somewhat aimless or random to you at times, then I know you’ll enjoy this conversation.

Adaptive Content Adds Value at Every Touchpoint

For discussion purposes, I’ve organized the buyers journey into three phases, before, during and after the sales transaction.

Phase I – The Audition: Getting Buyers to Know Your Business

Phase II – Collaborative Engagement: Showing Buyers They Will Enjoy Working with You

Phase III – Relationship Validation: Earning the Ongoing Trust of Your Buyers

It’s important for the business to map out each of these phases to fully understand what their buyers are thinking, feeling, doing and seeing. There is a simple tool known as an Empathy Map for accomplishing this. Download this version of The Empathy Map here.

Adaptive Content: How to Map and Manage The Buyers Journey

The Empathy Map by Copyblogger

Buyers have different thoughts, feelings and needs at different phases throughout their journey with your business, and will indeed choose the business that seems to understand them, their challenges and their worldview. In a word, the winning company is the one that is empathetic.

Most marketers place the greatest emphasis on customer acquistion. That audition is the traditional role of marketing and sales. This preview takes a buyer that is uncertain but interested and attempts to convert him or her into a customer.

The conversion process for many businesses is the collaborative engagement phase. This is when the buyer has made an initial commitment and now wants to be cared for, and ideally wowed. Therefore, it’s vital for buyers to completely understand how your business process works and why.

The most important phase of the buyers journey is after they have made the purchase. This is the opportunity to add value to the product or service solution by providing useful education for using it well. This content may be free or premium content as a subscription, or free or premium access to a private user community.

What Happens Next?

Content that adapts to buyers and their circumstances must answer the one question that is on everyone’s mind, and that is: What’s next? 

The reason most buyers do not buy is they do not understand. It’s up to the marketer to map out the journey to address every possible inquiry, and more important, to adapt to recent feedback and changing market conditions.

When you make the shift from a traditional sales process to the more contextual buyers journey, amazing things happen. There is a clear understanding of what should happen next that can create a collaborative dance that leads to even better outcomes than anyone had expected.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on adaptive content? Meet me over on Twitter to take the conversation further.

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About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Subscription Relationships: How to Build Sustainable Business Value

This is Episode 31 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan. Our guest this week is John Warrillow. If you don’t know John you will want to get to know his work because it will change how you think about your business, your industry, and most important, your customer. It should not be surprising […]

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