We’ve learned why the subscription model is better, but what are the different subscription models (well, nine of them)?
The Automatic Customer
The Membership Website Model
What: Publish your content behind a paywall that requires members to buy access.
For Whom: Those with highly specialized information that keeps changing over time. Niche market.
How: Multiple formats.
Best Customer: Business-to-business companies.
Extra: Hard to only live of subscriber monetization. Additional services, e.g. conferences, coaching, courses, ma be necessary.
The All-You-Can-Eat Library Model
What: Unlimited access to large amount of knowledge that the consumer can rent. Not designed for the possibility to consume all its value.
For Whom: Those with access to, or the ability to acquire, a library of content (e.g. Netflix). Existing fans.
How: Offer an ultimatum - subscribe to the whole library or get nothing.
Best Customer: Everyone.
Extra: Requires a lot of money upfront!
The Private Club Model
What: Ongoing access to something rare.
For Whom: Those with access to something in limited supply, like a service or an experience, that affluent consumers want.
How: Do not offer access to anyone but only to those willing to pay for a long-term secret.
Best Customer: The rich.
Extra: Offering something rare, also risks that the rare thing runs out. There are also only so many rich people.
The Front-of-the-Line Model
What: Priority access to a group of customers.
For Whom: Those requiring an additional income stream to an existing subscription model.
How: Important that you have an existing baseline service. Works best in small and mid-sized businesses.
Best Customer: Existing subscribers.
Extra: For some people, waiting in line is catastrophic!
The Consumables Model
What: Replenish necessary items for a customer.
For Whom: Those with access to annoying to replenish items.
How: People must love your brand so as to compete with massive e-tailers.
Best Customer: Stressed out people.
Extra: Logistical challenge. Requires stead supply or control of manufacturing.
The Surprise Box Model
What: A curated package of items, sent every month.
For Whom: Those able to talk manufacturers into giving them discounts for adding their products. An ability to curate.
How: Major curating skills and the ability to source new and unique items.
Best Customer: The curious with disposable income.
Extra: Complex fulfillment and logistics. Competition!
The Simplifier Model
What: A service that makes a necessary activity easier. (e.g. pet grooming, tutoring, bookkeeping)
For Whom: Those responsible enough to do what the customer wants to forget.
How: Interview your target customer to find out what their to-do lists have that they dislike thinking about.
Best Customer: People with busy lives and a large income. The richer, the higher the need to simplify.
Extra: Consider cross-selling and upselling once your customer already associates “annoying tasks fixed” with you.
The Network Model
What: A platform for people-interaction. The more subscribe, the more better the value. (e.g. WhatsApp)
For Whom: Those able to offer an unusually great experience, compelling people to join and have either a lot of capital or are good at raising it.
How: Focus on limited resources on a small, tightly defined group of early-adopting customers.
Best Customer: Tech-savvy, sociable customers.
Extra: The high cost of initial implementation shields one from competitors, but the expectations of the tech-savvy are high and can flip quickly.
The Piece-of-Mind Model
What: Insurance against something a customer hope she’ll never need.
For Whom: The savvy enough to allow the absorption of cost of a claim by leveraging their existing assets rather than paying out cash (e.g. through existing equipment and labour).
How: Make sure you have the infrastructure and resources to honour the commitment made to a customer should they require your services.
Best Customer: The worried.
Extra: Challenging to gauge how frequently the customer needs the service.
to be continued…