Bad Girls In Wet T-Shirts

Stephen Yagielowicz
What makes someone willing to pay for porn? As marketers of adult entertainment, this is the most basic and important question that we can ask; but a subject that is seldom contemplated as often, or as thoroughly, as it deserves to be. That's too bad, because knowing the answer could be the key to success for your business...

Like many of you, I visit a tremendous number of adult websites, 'enjoying the scenery,' looking at the approaches that were used, and seeing what I liked, and disliked, about their style, content, design and offer. It's safe to say that the number of adult sites I've seen is well into the thousands. Yet of all of these sites, I've only found a small handful that I would even consider joining.

Being "generous" I would say that only 1 in 500 adult sites that I've visited was enough of a personal 'button pusher' to make me think twice about pulling out the, er, "plastic" and signing up for a sub-$5 trial membership – forget about selling me a full membership. Don't get me wrong; I'm not some freaky dude with a very narrow niche – it's just that many sites are built and marketed without considering what makes someone willing to pay for porn. Besides, I know where to find millions of pics and video clips for free: they're called "TGPs."

But I am willing to pay for adult entertainment. If I can understand what it takes to make me willing to pay, then I can incorporate these findings into my approach, and "build a better mousetrap." While it's true that most purchases of adult entertainment are impulse buys, this is not always the case.

Money From Mystery
The most recent purchase I made, for $9.95 plus tax, was the cable television Pay Per View special, "Bad Girls Wet T-Shirt Contest" – which was described merely as "Adult Program" – with a running time of one hour. I noticed it and commented to my lovely wife Dawn that this could be a fun show full of leather-clad saucy biker babes, and that we should get it. The wife and I both like saucy biker babes, and have watched Pay Per View coverage of bike shows like Sturgis before.

We were of course assuming what the content was based upon the title, but unsure of it due to the lack of a description. This added an element of mystery which fueled our curiosity and desire. Even if it wasn't saucy biker babes, we always like "Bad Girls" and the "Wet T-Shirt Contest" bit implied light hearted hijinx rather than "porn." I see porn all day for free – it's "adult entertainment" that I'm looking for, and willing to pay for.

But I'm a cheap bastard, and my wife is even more frugal, so I grumbled, and went back about my business. They hadn't done a good enough job of convincing me to pay to see this program.

The sale was not lost, however. For three days I saw this program in the listings, and my curiosity eventually won out, and with the click of a button, I was billed $10 and we were instantly watching some soft-core video of chicks rubbing themselves in little vignettes as part of this "contest." There were no saucy biker babes, nothing of what we commonly think of as a "Wet T-Shirt Contest" – just a half dozen or so attractive young ladies showing off their assets.

After a few minutes, Dawn went into my office to watch a different show, and I fell asleep watching this one. My curiosity was satisfied, but if this show was a website, I would have cancelled after taking the trial membership.

The lessons learned are that even at such a low, one time (non-recurring) price point, with ordering as easy as a click or two on my television remote, I still hesitated before spending $10 on adult entertainment. It took three days before I did it – definitely not an impulse buy, and a sign that prospects will return to check your offer repeatedly before making a commitment.

And in the end, I was disappointed. Not because the show wasn't any good: the girls were attractive, and the action fairly compelling. But I had made my own expectations based on my hopes, and the program's sales pitch did nothing to change my expectation one way or another. Good for them and their one-shot offer; but a bad tactic for those wanting recurring sales.

I hope this glimpse into one consumer's thought process helps you to better understand some of the behavior that leads to sales.