This is the last of a series of three articles focusing on specific ways that paysite owners can optimize the user experience and present sites and content in ways that attract modern customers and keep them coming back.
I’ve started each article with the principle of the seven Ps: Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance. This applies to every aspect of paysite building, management and promotion.
Before you can effectively sell anything you need to know who you’re trying to sell to. Who is your audience? With the exception of huge all-you-can-eat type sites, every site fits a niche of some kind.
The first article in this series was about paysite technology. The second was about positioning a site to sell in today’s world and this one is about how to actually sell a customer.
Identify Your Customer
Before you can effectively sell anything you need to know who you’re trying to sell to. Who is your audience? With the exception of huge all-you-can-eat type sites, every site fits a niche of some kind. If you have generic content you need to be creative and figure out ways to present it so it fits a niche, even if you have to resort to storytelling to make that happen. It’s important to know who’s buying your content. Is it a 19-year-old kid who fantasizes about college girls? Is it middle aged men who fantasize about seeing their wives with other men? Is it couples who want to watch high quality erotic fantasy videos? People who are into BDSM? Voyerism? Fetishes?
Identify Your Customer’s Buying Triggers
Most of the sites I see are still dumping content on a page and expecting memberships to sell themselves simply because a horny person comes across the site and likes what they see. Sure, these sales still happen, but not in big numbers. These days a person has a lot more buying options and needs to be sold a bit more directly before deciding to pay to join a site.
Once you know who your customers are you can create a sales pitch (or ideally several of them) that appeal to your visitor’s senses. Buying triggers are different for everyone. For some it might be curiosity, for others fantasy, fear, insecurity, ignorance, and the list goes on.
If a site has bizarre, funny or interesting content, appealing to curiosity can work well. People love gossip and secrets and taboos and love to know what other people are doing so putting a spin on content that emphasizes looking in on others or getting a glimpse of something taboo is appealing to a lot of people. Most people want be a good lover and make their partner happy. Appealing to insecurity in this area and catering to the want to be better, learn, get new ideas or discover something special can be very powerful from a sales perspective.
Certain types of content like granular niche or fetish content are easier to sell. Even though that’s the case, it’s still helpful to be aware of triggers to help differentiate a site from competing sites in the same niche.
What you’re looking to do is exploit things to make visitors feel compelled to sign up to see what’s inside and get access to everything they can only get by becoming a paying member.
The result of knowing your customers’ buying triggers is invaluable — this is how you define the sales angle you’ll use to close sales.
Work The Sales Angle
Once you know who your customers are and what their buying triggers are you can begin to hammer away at them and break down their resistance to buying. This is where your sales angle comes in and a good tour relies on it heavily to close sales.
The best way to theme a site is through a combination of text and consistent content. I can’t stress the importance of consistency when it comes to text and content. The text you write must match the photo and video content.
Something I see a lot that hurts a lot of sites is inconsistency in this area. Last week an Elevated X CMS user emailed me and asked if I had any advice for him to improve sales.
The niche of the site is “real amateurs” but it was totally inconsistent. On one page I saw three videos of the same woman: The story behind one of them is that she’s a single girl the site owner met in a bar and then took home to shoot for his site. The next video has accompanying text describing how the girl and her boyfriend submitted the video and the third video was girl-girl and had yet another conflicting story about how the video came to appear on the site.
For a sales angle to be strong and to do its job it, a site needs to stick to the story and never deviate.
Pull the Trigger
Once the sales angle is in place, it’s time to start pulling the sales trigger. This is done by appealing to more than just a site visitor’s visual senses.
Let’s say for example you have a site with amateur hardcore content featuring 18- to 25-year-old men and women. A common angle might be “teens” or “young couples” but a more effective primary or secondary angle could be “exhibitionists” or “exploration” or “education.”
This works better if the site has a believable back story instead of a generic teen or amateur theme. Perhaps the site is a college psych-department experiment.
Perhaps the site is a result of a contest for amateur video submissions or a newspaper ad. Perhaps it started with a few friends who got drunk at a kegger and busted out a camera. These aren’t novel ideas and they don’t need to be.
Whatever it is, the goal is for the customer to identify with the site in some way or be curious about it beyond just wanting to click a few thumbnails.
Since the advent of tube site layouts I see more and more sites that are devoid of text entirely. Text is how you communicate with customers when they’re in between clicking to view content. On a site that has little to no text, what little text there is stands out even more and carries more weight.
The sales angle should be reinforced in varying, subtle ways as often as possible between the first tour page and the join page. If a site has a model index or unique deep linking pages for each update, the sales angle should be present and consistent there too.
Pulling the sales trigger can be done via text or words or content in a video. The trigger itself is the motivator. For example, if the theme of the site was a psych experiment, the trigger might be “Find out what college age women really want in bed” or “See what kind of sex the college students in your town are really having.”
Always Be Closing
If we look at a bunch of sites it might seem obvious that the easiest way to close is to have compelling content and let users click a big green button that says “Join Now.” It’s true that if someone wants to join they’ll figure out how but the goal of a good tour is to make it as easy as possible.
I see very few sites explicitly communicate with visitors to tell them why they should sign up. Most sites rely on the content to close sales. Combining consistent content with a sales angle and effective triggers will result in far more sales than simply putting join links all over and hoping the content will close sales by itself.
The easiest way to communicate why to join is by using closing prompts along with your sales triggers. Some ideas based on our example above might be “Download hundreds of exclusive videos of real college students inside. See what college age women really want in bed” or “This is just a small sample. When you see the password protected videos inside, you won’t believe the kind of sex today’s college students are having” or “If you like these videos, wait until you see the full length videos that are too extreme to show publicly. Click here for instant access.”
As site owners it’s easy to lose sight of the goal when it comes to selling. The goal is to get someone to want to see what’s inside. Know who your customers are, identify buying triggers you think will be effective, develop a sales angle and communicate it and you’ll be one very big step closer to having a paysite that’s a self-contained sales machine.
AJ Hall is a 14-year adult industry veteran and the co-founder and CEO of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult CMS software for the online adult entertainment industry. Elevated X powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for industry awards 11 times and won the 2012 and 2014 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.