Monetization · Consumer internet

Monetization Strategies for Large Passive Consumer Membership

Tim Scott

October 25th, 2013

I need help to understand and articular the value of an aggressive member acquisition strategy. We’re considering a strategic change from transactional pricing to a totally free model. This would do two things:

  1. End-run some potential killer road blocks that could put us dead in the water
  2. Allow us to build a very large consumer membership very quickly and at a very low cost

Some attributes of membership:

  1. Our members have a low engagement with us. They use our service to accomplish a specific one-time task. They may return multiple times, but they are not “engaged.”  We might be able to find ways to engage them, but assume not.
  2. Each transaction they perform will be associated with a particular consumer brand.
  3. Most signups will be social (Facebook, Google).
  4. Currently we’re asking members permission to communicate with them about the brand. The opt-in is checked by default.

To pull this off, we’ll need money sooner than later, so we need to be able to articulate a path to long term monetization. Our team does not have experience in this.

What are your thoughts?

If you are willing, I would l love to have a brief conversation where I can share more about the specifics our service. Please mention in your response if you are willing to talk with me, or I won't bother you. Or message me directly.

Rita Usanga

October 28th, 2013

Apologies the typo's, still recovering from a Lean Startup Machine weekend

Travis Brodeen Technical Marketing Expert, Business Coach, Founder and CTO

October 25th, 2013

I have quite a bit of experience with high volume membership sites, but mine are mostly related to intense engagement.

I'm intrigued by some of your challenges.  Let me know if you'd like to Skype and discuss.  I'm sure I'd have a few insights for you.




October 25th, 2013

In the basic sense of it all the "Freemium" model applies well and can translate to long term monetization if you have a viable product that can be converted.

The road-blocks you run as always is the sticky factor, what keeps the potential customers, clients, users etc etc engaged as you mentioned. Typically you can look at some basic examples of how you plan to monetize the user base such as direct to consumer, advertising, data acquisition or many other paths.

You are already engaging them via Social Media, the transactions are associated with a consumer brand and may or may not return a second-third time. 

At a high level view this looks like a good opportunity to engage them the same way as example foursquare or yelp does. You reward with them for with member  appreciation, you "badge" them, you work on forming a community built around the idea they are appreciated, and or can "rank" based on involvement.

Thats one initial thought, and I would assume and if not the consumer brands are your source for income if not once the community is built as quickly as you say you basically have an advertising avenue as well direct to the brands.

Its an initial thought, without much background on the product/idea/technology seems a good path to look at but that as well could change paths depending on the specifics.

Just a thought!

Scott McIntyre MD@COventures.US;;; Chair@Phabriq Development

October 25th, 2013

  1. each transaction they perform will be associated with a particular consumer brand.

in what fashion are they associated? what does the transaction consist of? 

I'm intrigued by your confidence to just switch directions ("pivoting"--already getting overused) so abruptly--user acquisition/retention is science (and sometimes magic). So, I need to know a bit more before offering any real thoughts.

I trust you already have a history with your clients (or vendors), so it's less acquisition and more conversion?Because if I'm reading it right, you're more of a background function? a process? a transaction gateway? 

It's all kind of foggy. You can hit me up offline if you want to talk about it. Just ping me if you like.

Rita Usanga

October 28th, 2013

Hi Tim,

I'm a Sales Director at a Facebook Ad Technology company focuses on the DM end the spectrum. I spend the majority of may advising on strategies for users or sales acquisition. I'd be happy to take a look at you business and proposed acquisition model in greater depth.

I'm on annual leave this week so it's as good a time as any if you'r interested.


Paul Bostwick

October 30th, 2013

I know partly what you mean by "totally Free" but at the same time somebody needs to start with the paying and evidently sooner than later. This low engagement and no clear path to deeper engagement is troubling. If people need what you do only once or twice how much would you have to change a lot to get them to come back again and again. (let us say it is contacts conversion from one phone plan to another - that kinda matches what you describe in terms of one may need it more than once but no matter how slick you are the are not going to be a regular customer.)

Thought 1)
Figure out who has "your" customers already in hand (by doing more for them and having solved the stickyness issue) and see if they would like to use you as a treat for their customers when and if it is needed. You get to offload to partners your acquisition load and the costs of same and they get to leverage your developed smarts in delivering that particular service. Maybe it is also good for them to either re-brand your service or, alternately,l they could get some extra credibility or insulation by partnering with you. Whichever is appropriate.

Thought 2)
If there is a way to gamify the service and and/or tie it to an advisory community you might get some intense users who just want to show prowess or can give advice as an intro to their related service (whole can of worms but you want sticky, you gotta go for canned goods of some sort :^) This is is how review sites work - maybe you can borrow some DNA from them.

Good luck on the ruminations

Rob G

October 25th, 2013

tim;  right up front, i am NOT a B2C expert at all. I do know B2B and B2B2C.  Have you looked at B2B2C distribution and monetization?  feel free to PM me and we can talk offline.