May 16, 2019

How to lower the churn on subscription plans? Sky-high churn :(

Julien Klepatch @jklepatch

I run a screencast for blockchain programming (Ethereum), where I sell monthly subscriptions to watch all my private content.

My churn rate is really insane. Between the failed credit card billing (lots of students must buy with pre-paid credit cards?) and the cancelling, my churn rate is really high, to the point where this month my growth might be 0 or even negative...

I have tried emailing these quitting students, but I had very few answers or unhelpful like "you have great content, but I am not interested in this topic anymore".
As for the students that havent quitted yet, the little feedback I have is positive "You have great content..".

I also produce new content regularly.

Here are some ideas:

  • My content is not that great. But if that is the case, I really dont know how to get the valuable feedback I need to improve it...
  • I am not doing a good job at letting students when new content is released. I plan to fix that with a mailing list dedicated to that.
  • I choose poorly my niche (blockchain programming). Blockchain was super hot last year and in 2017, but now the hype fell back a lot. Got me thinking if I should have chosen a broader niche with more competition but also with a bigger and more stable demand
  • I havent attracted the right people to my website. Raising prices might actually attract people who are more commited?

Any thoughts?

  1. 2

    When I was starting my very similar business and we were first talking about pricing, my metric for choosing subscription vs one-time was whether or not the value the customer gets from the product goes up or down over time. If the value you get goes up (like Netflix, your web host, your email provider, etc) then a subscription makes sense. If the value goes down (like a single book, movie, game or tool) then one-time makes sense.

    In theory, the value of a membership site should be going up as long as you're adding new content people want fast enough they don't exhaust it and as long as they're interested in it. So I'd try to make sure things your subscribers still want are still coming.

    What are most of your students trying to learn next? For example the "next steps"my students want after my Elixir tutorials and Phoenix 1.4 Chat Server series are

    • a series on making a JSON API back-end

    • distributed setups.

    • more on deployment

    • to a lesser degree, a GraphQL project.

    What's the next step for someone who has just finished your Smart Contract 30 course?

  2. 2

    Hmmmm... At a quick glance your free content looks really solid. But obviously your subscribers don't see the value in the Pro subscription, which is why they leave.

    I think you should try to give the users a better package for the Pro account. As I understand you provide the source code for exercises and regular videos?

    I have a payments site as well and what works well for me is having a better cut clear line between normal content and pro content. Also, that while consuming the normal content, ,that they encounter the Pro teasers all the time. But that would be about conversion to Pro, not reduxin churn.

    But, how long are people learning programming crypto? Two months, three, four? Maybe you should drop the subscription and sell a package access for a one time fee of $40 instead. Not every business is a good fit for subscriptions.

  3. 2

    Could it be that they downloaded all the videos in a day or two and then cancelled a subscription?

    (something I would do if I had a chance)

    1. 1

      They cant download the videos. There are 22h of content total, so to watch them all in a month its possible but really intense...

      1. 1

        If videos are files, and you're serving them to their browsers, this means they can download them, regardless if there's a "download" button. Technically they've already did.

        Unless you have some hurdles, like Youtube, which splits videos in parts that need re-stitching together.

        P.S. But I don't think this is the actual problem. Other comments look more helpful.

  4. 1

    You could introduce things such as periodic assignment , say writing a Ethereum contract on Ropsten for a particular specification and you could grade (a few of ) them , suggest improvements. Or even provide some way/forum for students to discuss and vote each others submissions.

    That would help them stay engaged and they gain more inputs from being a part of community.

  5. 1

    Experiment with longer subscription plans. For instance, if your all-access subscription is usually $10 / month, try pricing it at $24.99 / quarter. Or $99 / year.

    You'll get fewer subscriptions but at $99 per year, you'll only need about 1 / 10th as many conversions to break even. If you get 15% or 25% as many subscriptions, you'll end up with more profit.

  6. 1

    My instant thought was that the hype for the topic died down quite a bit.

    I'm guessing you send regular emails? Unfortunately this might be acting as a reminder for people who are no longer interested to cancel their subscription sooner.

  7. 0

    Maybe you can try to get your content listed on udemy or other such platforms. I think those platforms have the right tools to help you interact with your audience well.

    I think you are not necessarily in the wrong space maybe you need to provide and market content that these wannabe blockchain developers really want.

    I am also a wannabe blockchain developer but am finding it hard to really break into the industry. Probably besides content if people could guide me towards what products I can build or which companies I can join , I can see myself wanting that guidance.

    Also do you use social media for promotion?

    Can you checkout this thread and leave some feedback or even better try out my product? Its free for one-time use https://www.indiehackers.com/post/0e372d17d3

  8. 1

    This comment was deleted 9 months ago.