By Ruben Daniel
“Digital content should be free.”
“Shouldn’t all information on the internet be free?”
“Why should I pay for your content when I can get millions of results through a simple Google search?”
These are just some of the comments that you might hear from your potential customers. They think all information should be free on the Internet but you’re a business and you need revenue to stay in business. Every business struggles with the question around charging for their digital content.
After talking with hundreds of people in similar situations, we have been able to come up with several reasons why you should charge for your digital content. You shouldn’t be asking why but how. Ask yourself what kind of monetization models can work for your digital content.
Consider these 3 reasons next time you find yourself questioning yourself why you should charge for your digital content:
Quality Content Can Save You Time
It is true that there is a lot of free information on the Internet but it takes time to go through it all to find quality information. This is what your content so valuable. Even though your content isn’t free, your customers are paying for valuable information AND the time it saves them.
In your marketing materials, this is what you should be emphasizing. In fact, let your customers go and search for their own solutions. It can be very time consuming to piece multiple sources of information and then try to condense everything into something that makes sense. It’s also not easy to find multiple sources of quality information whether that’s HD videos or high quality audio files. You have done all of this work for your customers.
Marketing 101 tells you that people buy things for what the value it provides them and not what they should cost (in terms of cost to produce them). Think about the value of your content to your customers and price accordingly.
Charge for Convenience
People are willing to pay for convenience as we have seen over and over again. Whether its the convenience of fast food or a cup of coffee at Starbucks; don’t underestimate this aspect of your content. If you are able to provide valuable content in a convenient fashion, then people shouldn’t have an issue paying for it.
Convenience, however, is very relative to what your customers think is convenient. For most people, this means watching the content whenever and wherever they want, including mobile devices. If you try to sell someone a video that can only be played from a laptop and that can only be played using a proprietary video player, then they aren’t going to be happy. There’s a reason why open video standards such as HTML5 are increasing in popularity. They allow people to watch videos on their mobile devices, no matter where they are.
If you are offering downloads, you should offer multiple formats for each file. This can include offering a Windows-friendly video and Mac-friendly video. This can also include offering a PDF and EPUB for your ebook. It just helps convince your customers that your content is worth paying for.
Adopt New Monetization Models
Finally, rethink how you look at monetizing your digital content. There’s so many monetization models that you can adopt, that you shouldn’t have an issue finding one that fits your content. Perhaps selling your content for a single price doesn’t make sense but you can offer a subscription to your library of content. You could also rent your content and a lot of other different options. Focus on the long term value of the content and how it can benefit your customers 6, 12, and 18 months from now.
Have you struggled with the idea of selling your digital content online? Let me know in the comments.