You may have heard the term “freemium” before, particularly in connection with software and apps. Freemium has been used to describe the “free trial” business model – for example, receiving two weeks of Sirius XM Radio to get you hooked, after which you’ll want to pay to keep enjoying it.
Freemium also describes a business model wherein a consumer receives certain basic services for free, but must pay money to upgrade to premium features.
For example, you may have found a free smartphone app that guides you through enjoyable two-minute meditations.
However, one day you decide you’d like to meditate for five minutes at a time instead, and that’s when you discover that longer meditations are only offered as a premium service for which you must pay a subscription fee.
Other premium services might include customization options, like changing the voice of the meditation guide from male to female or selecting a different style of background music.
The “freemium” model has also been adopted by service businesses, including CPA practices, and its concept further refined.
What would the freemium concept look like for accounting services?
As in the app example above, you first offer something valuable for free. (Those two-minute meditations are genuinely useful.)
Then, your valuable freebie hopefully drives your potential client to want more from you – an enhanced experience.
And if you’ve shown that you’re offering something from which they can truly benefit, you’ll convert that freemium user to a paying client.
So for a CPA practice, what might the “freemium” part look like?
First, you must offer something valuable completely free – no cost, no obligation.
What you as a CPA have to offer is guidance, so you need to be willing to provide free guidance within limits (the two-minute meditation).
You can offer free guidance in a variety of ways. Here are just a few:
- 30-minute consultation
- Advice or how-to video
- Recorded webinar
- Short book or special report in PDF form
- Quiz or assessment
- Collection of templates
- Flow charts/process charts
- How-to checklist
- Advice via audio file
When you’re ready to create your freemium offering, review these quick tips to get it right:
- Make your freemium teach or address a topic that’s of interest to your target market
- Leverage topics on which you’re an expert because they’ll be easy to create and will genuinely demonstrate your expertise
- When you decide what kind of guidance or information you’re going to share, consider what format delivers it best
- Create a freemium that doesn’t require a huge investment of time – too much material to read, watch or listen to. Give the prospect a quick pay-off.
- Be sure your freemium is worth something – information or guidance so good that your target market would be willing to pay money for it
Once you’ve given something away for free, the goal should be to convert that person to a paying client at some point down the line – the equivalent of an individual upgrading to premium software/app services after enjoying basic services for free.
Hopefully, your freebie will leave the prospect wanting more from you. But if not, all is not lost.
When you offer a freebie, you’re only asking for one thing in return – the prospect’s email address. They’ll happily share it with you because this is how they will get their freebie delivered. The video, eBook, checklist, invitation for a consultation, or other resource will be delivered via email.
Not all prospects will convert right away. (For example, you might use that free meditation app for a few weeks before you decide you want to upgrade to premium.)
In the meantime, you have the opportunity to continue proving your value to the prospect. With their email address, you can periodically share other resources – more advice, special offers, et cetera. Keep in mind: some experts estimate it takes a minimum of seven “touches” before a prospect will buy. That means you’ll want to plan various email offerings and roll them out over time.