Grow Your Income with Subscriptions & Payment Plans
By Kelsey Johnson June 30, 2021
As an expert, you shouldn’t lower your prices in order to make more money. That’s simply the wrong direction to go in.
First of all, the cost of what you offer is worth the value (otherwise no one would have bought it). Plus, you have profits to make — that’s the point of having a business.
But what happens when you price out people who need, want, and deserve what you sell, just because they don’t have the cash immediately?
Let’s look at an example. Jen has a high-value, expert-level marketing course. It’s 28 hours of content over 10 videos. The people who take it have 100% satisfaction in becoming better at marketing. She sells her course for $2,000.
But most small business owners, new grads and people looking for career changes don’t have $2,000 sitting in their bank accounts. So Jen’s missing out on a large number of potential customers.
Bigger companies have solved this problem in 2 ways: With payment plans and subscription models.
Now, anyone can have subscriptions and payment plans with AWeber Ecommerce!
That’s great for Jen, who can now offer an ongoing subscription to her course (sending a new video every month). Or she can keep her pricing, but allow students to pay over the course of 3-6 months, making it affordable to many more people.
These plans are unbelievably easy and quick to set up. And there’s no cost to start.
Here’s how it works: Using your existing landing page (or setting up a new one), you can now offer up to three purchase options for your customers:
- One-time payments
- Subscriptions/recurring payments (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly charges indefinitely)
- Payment plans/split payments (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly charges until they’ve paid in full)
These three payment options open up dozens of ways to monetize your business, sell to new demographics and create additional forms of revenue that work better for you and your customers.
If you already have a subscription model or are offering multiple payments on higher-priced courses or items, you can now build this solution directly onto your AWeber landing page (so your customers don’t have to navigate away in order to pay you).
But I challenge you to see this as an opportunity to actually make more money from what your business already offers. I’ll give you some suggestions below.
But first, what are subscriptions and payment plans?
These two terms may seem obvious as a consumer, but it’s important to understand as a business owner how they work.
What is subscription pricing?
A subscription, or recurring payment, is an automatic charge that goes through on a regular basis. We often think of subscriptions in relation to newspapers and magazines or Netflix and Hulu. Even AWeber plus is a subscription.
In the past year, entrepreneurs from all industries have been finding ways to set up subscription models that work for them. These recurring payments can help you build better relationships with your customers and offer a source of regular dependable income.
What is a payment plan?
A payment plan — also known as a split payment — offers your customers the ability to purchase your content, product, or service which is valued at a higher price than they can pay immediately. Instead, they pay over several weeks, months, or years.
Payment plans solve a significant pricing catch-22: if your business offers something of high quality, you don’t want to reduce the price and undervalue it. But you also don’t want to offer it only to people who can afford a large payment all at once. By allowing people to pay over time, you can grow your customer base without reducing your prices.
How do subscriptions and payment plans work with AWeber Ecommerce?
If you’re not already using AWeber for Ecommerce, read up on how to sell products online with Ecommerce landing pages first.
But here’s a quick AWeber Ecommerce recap: You can set up a one-page website or landing page to showcase your business, and add a button where your customers can purchase directly from your landing page. In essence, it’s an exceedingly simple way to create an online store.
Now, you can set up buttons that allow your customers to start recurring payments. So, for example, if you charge a monthly fee for access to your premium content (writing, courses, videos, etc.), you can quickly set up your landing page to start the subscription.
You can also set up a button that allows your customers to split a larger flat fee over time. So, for example, if you have an online consulting course that costs $900, you can instead offer customers to pay $300/month for three months. (Or $320/month for three months to account for you offering that convenience.)
The best news is that your Ecommerce store can sync with your subscribers. So you can set up automatic email follow-ups, add new customers to your email lists, create segments for smarter marketing, and much more!
What types of businesses can use subscriptions and payment plans?
In short, almost every business can benefit from these alternative pricing options. But here are a few specific examples for inspiration.
Digital services providers
Marketing agencies, copywriters, web designers, SEO consultants, social media managers, graphic designers, developers, and anyone else offering online digital services often provide ongoing monthly services. They can set up a recurring payment to be automatically paid monthly for their services.
For bigger projects like a rebrand, full website design, logo creation, or app development, digital service providers can offer payment plans to make their high-value services available to smaller businesses and nonprofits.
Consultants and coaches
Already have a course out there ready to buy but you think everyone can benefit from it — not just those with more money? A payment plan is one of the best ways to offer online courses, guides, and master classes to a wider audience.
For live coaching — either in person or online — set up a monthly or quarterly subscription to give students regular lessons. Plus, you can depend on a regular revenue stream.
Artists and musicians
Art is a wonderful thing for anyone to have in their lives, but not only those who can afford a big payment for it should get it. For artists and musicians who have big ticket items, a payment plan in advance can open up an entirely new audience — without needing to shake people down for payment.
Creators and authors
Subscription pricing models are on the rise for creators and authors. If you sell a physical product, offer up a monthly box that includes something new from your collection and a few knick knacks. For creatives with digital assets, offer up a subscription service to opt into premium online content.
People who make podcasts are monetizing in tons of ways these days. If you have sponsors with monthly payments, set up a subscription. Do you offer 6 or 9 month contracts? Charge for your fees using a payment plan.
As a podcaster, it’s also becoming very common to accept donations from fans. Try setting up a regular, ongoing donation in exchange for premium content or just good vibes. It costs nothing to set up and, who knows, you may have a bunch of fans out there who want to contribute!
Physical product sales
When stores were forced to close during several periods in 2020, an innovative idea emerged: subscription boxes. Rather than buying just one thing from a business, you could sign up to have them send you a month’s worth of products customized just for you.
For example, clothing stores were making use of excess inventory by sending custom boxes of pieces picked out with the customer in mind. The store largely eliminates waste and the customers get a monthly box of new clothing at lower prices. It’s a win-win!
Think about your business — could the subscription box be right for you?
Other small businesses
Every business has a different model — even yours. Check out the examples above for inspiration on how you can get more revenue. What works for you? You can set up a landing page to accept recurring payments or a payment plan in minutes and just see if it takes off!
What are the benefits of payment plans and subscriptions?
Let’s break it down to the basics. What’s the real benefit to offering these pricing models for your business?
Payment plan benefits
- Sell to a wider audience, not just those with more money to spend
- Avoid late fees and collection conversations
- Create a flat fee structure and allow for payments over time
- Make more sales when you offer a lower cost barrier to entry
- Offer ongoing value to your customers
- Get predictable monthly revenue
- Loyal customers can regularly contribute to your business
- Different pricing models can capture a wider audience
How much does it cost?
AWeber Ecommerce is free to get up and running. You can set up beautify landing pages at no cost and add as many “Buy now” buttons as you like.
When someone purchases a product from you, the following charges will be taken from the purchase:
- 1% on the AWeber Free or Lite plan OR
- 0.6% on the AWeber Plus plan
Remember, you only pay as soon as a customer purchases from you! And if you sign up for our plus plan, you get tons of extra value from your email marketing.
Sign up today for landing pages, ecommerce, email marketing, and more
Want to get started selling online, or start a subscription service or payment plan? Sign up for an AWeber account for free right now.
Already have an account and ready to set up your store or additional payment options? Build a landing page, browse our list of free landing page and one-page website templates, or learn how to set up subscriptions and payment plans from our knowledge base.