Online services have become a huge deal in the internet business world. Whether it is software as a service (SaaS), online education, or online streaming services for things like entertainment or fitness, more and more consumers are choosing to subscribe to online services rather than buy single products.
Online Service Business Models
This model can work extremely well. In software, businesses often prefer to subscribe to what they need and add new users on the fly compared to buying licenses and having to maintain software installations on their own hardware and networks. For private use, people are discovering the benefits of online streaming services like Netflix over buying or renting the things they want to watch on DVD. All of this points to the market being not only comfortable with online services but actually favoring them over alternatives.
So, if you have an idea for an online services business, what do you need to think about to make it a success?
Online services usually use subscription business models that offer a lot of flexibility, and this is part of their appeal. Consumers like the idea that if they are subscribing to something as a luxury, for instance, an entertainment service like Netflix, then they can unsubscribe whenever it suits them if they are having a tight month and join again later with no retribution. This is something normal TV packages don’t offer. Equally, the people who use online home fitness video streaming services like Studio SWEAT onDemand spin class videos know that unlike their gym membership, if they for some reason decide to stop working out so much (for instance they get an injury or have a busy spell at work), they can cancel whenever they like. That is not to say that as the owner of this type of service you don’t want to incentivize longer subscriptions. Longer subscriptions are more lucrative, which is why many services offer annual packages that are cheaper than their monthly ones per month.
Word of Mouth and Social Media
When you have devised a pricing plan that is flexible and appealing to your audience (but also encourages more committed people to sign up annually at a reduced rate), you next need to find a good strategy to help the audience of your service find it. In most cases, online services spread via word of mouth on social media, so offering introductory bonuses to members can be a very good idea. Social media marketing by yourself as a brand is also a smart thing to do because those who are savvy about online services tend to find out about new products they are interested in this way. You will also probably want to set up a good blog and work on your SEO, so people can find you on Google when they are looking for something similar to the service you provide.
Online services can be among the hottest things to sell online right now, so long as you have a good, well-priced service, and you know where to find your target audience.