It's seems the whole world wants us to subscribe to their service and/or product! And do we... IN DROVES!
Do you subscribe to one of the following?
- Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Youtube Premium, etc...
- Amazon Prime
- Pandora, Spotify
- Costco, Sams Club
- Blue Apron, Home Chef, Green Chef, etc...
- Apple Music, TV, Care
- Mobile Phone Service Companies
- Airport Lounge Clubs
- Wine Clubs
- Shave Clubs
- Book Clubs
- TOO MANY TO LIST!
Yes, subscription products and services are a huge boon for companies that are able to build a substantial subscriber base because each and every person is a built-in regular repeat customer. The companies do everything they can to keep subscriber churn low and slowly build their numbers.
"Make a customer, not a sale." - Katherine Barchetti
It seems this popular selling tactic has few limits when it comes to the type of products and services we will agree to subscribe to.
Nike recently announced a new service where they will allow people to subscribe to shoes! Ranging from $20 to $50 a month, you can equip your kid with new shoes as often as 12 times per year as long as you send back the former pair, which according to Nike will either be recycles or donated. Are we about to enter a reality where people subscribe to shoes? Nope! We're already in that reality! There are multiple companies that will 'sell' you shoes or clothing for a monthly fee all over the Internet and they just keep cropping up! Some of these operations require you to send the former item back and some allow you to keep the item or keep the item for an additional fee.
Any subscription model that requires you to send the item back is essentially a glorified rental service. Who would ever agree to rent a pair of shoes? Lots of people IF you market it correctly! And for sure, Nike, is gonna market the snot out of this service because IF they can build a subscriber base with this business model, they will certainly expand it to adults. It could be a massive financial boon for the company just as subscription models have been for many others.
"We're being conditioned to 'rent' almost everything." - Carston Daubs
So where is the danger to consumers? We're being conditioned to 'rent' almost everything. We don't just rent apartments and homes and cars anymore but rather, we shell out money for the 'privilege' to shop at some stores (Costco, Sam's Club). We send hard earned cash to mobile phone companies, app stores, book rentals, food delivery services, shaving clubs, wine clubs, theme park memberships, movie and music streaming services, subscription services that allow skipping long lines at airports and the list goes on!
As a web consultant and developer I subscribe to a number of web based services I need to run my business which include services offering hosting, email marketing, server administration, backup services, security services, domain name services and many others. All my clients pay monthly fees to several different entities in order to maintain their online businesses.
Due to the massive amount of products and services that now use a subscription model for their business, it has become increasingly important to be selective in which services we use and which we skip. A small business can easily be stripped of any potential profits because monthly costs to run the business suck all the life out of the bank account. We've all heard the stories where people, after spending a small fortune to launch a business online, fold because they couldn't cover the costs to simply stay in business long enough to turn a profit.
Many small mom and pop businesses need to run a very lean operation especially if their new and still working to find their foothold. Unfortunately, they are often swamped with numerous offers of 'help' and often this 'help' comes with a monthly fee. Too many of these services don't offer any substantial value or sometimes they are a bad fit altogether.
I speak to many people every month about their business operations and it's extremely rare when we don't find at least some unnecessary expense they are covering or are using in a way that doesn't make sense for them.
It's true, every business will have tools they absolutely need. However, many businesses over time get complicated with their online services and end up paying for things they don't need or don't use.
If your business is struggling with maintaining a working and realistic monthly expense when it comes to online products and services, we're happy to provide a free phone consultation to help determine areas you might save money and tools that are better equipped to handle your business needs. Many of the tools we recommend come with a one-time up-front cost with no ongoing charges. It can be quite cost effective to purchase outright tools that meet a business needs and eliminate the unnecessary and ongoing monthly expenses.
Here are a few quick tips to save a bit of cash from web services and software that charge monthly or yearly fees.
- If you're on Windows 10 and license any type of anti-virus software, consider uninstalling the anti-virus software and instead use Windows Defender Antivirus which is included with your OS by default. No additional fees!
- Many SEO services charge exorbitant fees and employ tactics that often hurt a business in the long run with search engine results. Is the company you're using for SEO legit or a shady operation? One quick tip to discovering how good an SEO company might be... do a search on Google for the company skill set using their hometown name in the search e.g., "Los Angeles SEO services". If they don't rank within the first few results for their own business within their own home town, what's the chance they can help you or your business? The SEO industry has legitimate players but they are few and far between. Do your research to find legitimate players that offer real results implementing 'white hat' tactics.
- Did you know... if you use Amazon prime and are a student or fall into a low-income category, you can get Prime at half the rate the general public pays? Google "Amazon Prime for Students" or "Amazon Prime for Low Income".
- All websites these days should have an SSL Certificate in place and pass all data through a HTTPS connection. If your hosting company doesn't offer you a FREE SSL certificate, you might consider moving to a hosting company that does. Yes, most sites DON'T need high end certificates that cost a lot of money! You should be able to easily install a FREE SSL certificate using a service like Let's Encrypt. If you're hosting company offers little to no support for Let's Encrypt, consider looking for a hosting company that does like Dreamhost.
- If you get notices from multiple companies about renewing your domain name, ignore them all except from the actual company you use to register your domain. The average .com domain these days should cost around $12/year. If you're paying more than that, consider switching to a different registrar. If you don't know where your domain is currently registered, go to this website https://www.internic.net/whois.html and do a search for your domain. The results page will show you where the domain is currently registered. Two registrars I can personally recommend are Google Domains and Namecheap. Consider making a move if you're paying exorbitant rates. (I use Namecheap for domains but not for hosting since they offer very poor support for Let's Encrypt certs. While they offer a free PositiveSSL certificate - it only lasts one year and after the initial year they start charging a fee for it.)
There are many other ways that individuals and businesses can save money and avoid unnecessary recurring fees. Reach out to Pixogee for a free phone consultation for additional tips and tricks to lowering the bottom line and improving the opportunity for profit!