Prove Content Value and They (and I) Will Pay


Which Test Won.


These are just a few of the sites I use regularly that deliver awesome content– I know because much of it has been presented free either in the past or is currently and I have benefited from it. That’s key….I have benefited from the free content (on multiple occasions).

Because I have benefited either through entertainment (, business intelligence (, or useful tools (, it becomes easier over time for these sites to move some of their best content behind subscription paywalls.

Content that is from the get-go locked behind a cash-driven door is untested. Because I never see it, touch it, play with it, or have the chance to benefit from it, I have no idea if it’s valuable to me or not. It remains UNPROVEN.

But when value is given to me and I am persuaded to access it, use it, enjoy it, and otherwise interact with it, I tend to want to have more of it, even once it becomes a commodity.

Conditions that create an environment in which users are, or become over time, willing to pay for content:

  • Opportunity to test-drive free content long enough to see a benefit and forge an attachment
  • Proven content that’s high quality, original, authoritative
  • Strategically continues to build its appeal for the paid content: some customers will yield to the buy-in quickly, while others will resist long-term.

Which Test Won, for a brief case study, uses a pretty persuasive model: a/b testing site screenshot

They allow you to drill down into test cases far enough that your mouth waters. The test cases are categorized, enabling a more detailed examination of the possible information available. Drill down into any category to see a list of test cases by brand, descriptive title of the test itself, even a thumbnail of the site pages and elements tested. At this point you can still click one level lower. Here you see thumbnails of the A/B test pages themselves with the  call to action to subscribe at the “premium” level. And that’s where the free ride ends. But you’ve taken enough action to see the tip of the iceberg. If you can be convinced that the test results behind the curtain are valuable enough to your own website or client or business, then you are a real prospect. If not today, then some other day, chances grow better that you will be slowly but surely reeled in (convinced) to subscribe to the Premium level access.  I’ve held out and every week I’m drawn a bit closer to pulling out my credit card.

a/b testing site screenshot - Word Bang blog


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