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unCon 2014 Session: Moving From Free to Paid Apps and Products

unConference 2014
1 10:30-11:30
Blog by
Chris Nahil, Message & Medium, www.message-medium,
Twitter: @cnahil
From Free to Paid Apps and Products”
downloads and “freemium” product models are an established fact of
business.  While “free-ness” is helpful
for building audience and awareness, there may be a time when a company seeks
to convert its customers to a paid product. 
The session members sorted the myriad problems in doing so and came up
with several points to consider and potential solutions for entrepreneurs who
are considering the move from free to paid.
  • Consider
    whether you actually have one product or two. 
    Do you want customers to pay for significantly added functionality or do
    you have an entirely different second product that you‘d like to sell into your
  • Use
    data  you’ve collect from your free
    product to create  your paid  product
  • Use a
    free web app as the vehicle to your paid app. 
    Especially helpful in B2B settings. 
  • Focus
    on your value proposition and build truly valuable added functionality into
    your paid offering.  Be rigorous in your
    self-examination here.
  • Use a
    variety of levers to unlock paid functionality.  To trigger price increases, a B2B company may
    use levers like numbers of users with a company, size of projects under
    management or amount of data stored or transferred.
  • Offer a
    time-limited sneak peak of paid features for your free product customers and a
    discount for fast conversion.
  • Make
    sure you know the difference between your end-user and the entity that is
    actually paying for the product.  The
    needs and price sensitivity may be different.
  • Make
    your existing customers your sales force, as Facebook has done.  Equip them with invitations and incent them
    to work their networks on your behalf.
  • Test
    various pricing models on portions of your audience to get real data.
  • Stay
    close to your customers at all times, not just during product development.  Find multiple avenues to communicate with
    them consistently in a non-sales manner. 
    Messaging here can vary but the point is to keep them close so you can
    show them the value of a paid relationship with your company.
  • Insight Venture Partners’ report on
    free-to-paid metrics and digital marketing was mentioned an an excellent

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