Upselling and cross-selling can be a highly lucrative part of mainstream e-commerce. Mainstream giant Amazon.com, in fact, has attributed up to 35 percent of its revenue to upselling and cross-selling. And upselling and cross-selling can be highly profitable in adult e-commerce as well: a consumer who pays for spanking content, for example, might be interested in other types of BDSM content as well, and a consumer who subscribes to a BBW membership website might also appreciate BBW webcam sites.
But in order for adult companies to make upsells and cross-sells pay off, webmasters must know what techniques are effective.
Paul Acevedo, director of marketing for the Budapest, Hungary-based DDF Network, stressed that upsells are more likely to be successful when adult paysites learn as much as they possibly can about their customers.
“Regarding paysites’ upsell possibilities, it really pays to know your members,” Acevedo told XBIZ. “We like to deploy surveys to all of our website properties three or four times a year to find out about our members’ tastes, wants and needs. We also do cross-sells, mailers, a free newsletter, and a DDF Guest House where we feature other studios’ scenes as streaming-only bonus content for our members with a nice discount to those particular sites via an underplayer banner.”
Acevedo added, “I see a lot of paysites paying more and more attention to the Settings or My Profile area of their sites. This I feel to be very important, as most mainstream sites have good features there that allow you to dictate how your content is served to you and what your user experience will be. In the instance of upsells and mailers, you should be able to choose how you would like those served to you: daily, weekly, monthly, or not at all. Also, going deeper, perhaps have a member choose their likes and dislikes, and be able to hide content and offers they don’t want to see when they login.”
Acevedo is a strong proponent of one-clicks, saying, “One-clicks are just fantastic for conversions. We’re in the business of porn, and if a member wants access to something new right at that moment, they shouldn’t have to go typing a bunch of personal data once again. Make flow as easy as possible for them.”
Toni, owner of the affiliate program FetishHits.com, asserted that paysites do themselves a disservice when they try to sell customers things they are unlikely to be interested in. Toni told XBIZ: “Some of the biggest mistakes are bombarding surfers with mailers, cross-selling expensive low-quality products and upselling sites or products that don’t match the surfers’ interest. Upselling top-quality products inside members areas is the most effective upsell technique, in my opinion — especially if setups like the Epoch one-click are used.”
Jack Lawson, CEO of CherryPimps.com, noted that one-clicks can be great for upsells when the right products are involved.
“We believe the most successful upsell technique is any that doesn’t negatively impact your consumers’ experience,” Lawson told XBIZ. “Therefore, we try to focus on one-clicks with products that compliment our own and help to give the user a best experience possible. We also add on non-competitive products and search for good deals on partner sites for our members. One of the largest payoffs has been integrating live products into our network from top to bottom.”
Asked to cite some of the most common mistakes that adult paysites make with upsells, Lawson replied: “The most common mistake we see are sites that load their members areas with wall-to-wall banners and ads, hoping to make money all the time and forgetting that their users are paying. They also load ads for content that is completely different from the site itself. While someone may pay to put that extreme site into your solo girl site, it doesn’t mean you should. You have to be smart and display ads that work with your niche and not against it.”
AJ Hall, co-founder and CEO of Elevated X Inc., emphasized that upsells should not promote a webmaster’s competition.
“The single most common mistake I see paysite owners make is upselling competing sites rather than complementary ones,” Hall told XBIZ. “Imagine if you drove a Honda and after you made a year of payments, they tried to sell you on a slightly nicer Toyota. You would think they were insane, yet this is what so many paysite owners are doing every day.
“Instead of pushing people to competing sites for an affiliate payout, upsell members on things that they will enjoy in addition to your site — not as a replacement to it. For a lot of sites, smarter upsells are things like similar but slightly off-niche sites, adult dating or cam sites and adult products.”
Cristian Gold, owner and president of the content management system Adult SiteRunner, said that many paysites are dropping the ball by failing to use their content to encourage relevant upsells.
“Fully monetizing a paysite’s content is the key to success in 2015 and beyond,” Gold told XBIZ. “There is no more need to let consumers download your entire catalog of videos for $30. Now, consumers expect great video streams for that $30 or the choice to buy and download a title for $5 or $15. Give them those choices with a site that looks great on desktop, tablet and mobile, and you will see your profits increase.”
Gold continued: “On the paysite front, we are still seeing very few brands properly monetizing their content. All too often, you will visit a site — and they will have the same option: a monthly fee for access to the site, which allows posed HTML streaming and downloading of all the videos on the site. This is like leaving your front door open for anyone to come in and take everything you own for $30. With the conditioning consumers have now to stream video or pay to download, paysite owners need to adapt and embrace these methods. To do otherwise is leaving money on the table.”
Josh Torrey, traffic manager for CM Productions and BaDoink.com, advised that upsells can involve different areas of adult entertainment.
“With any type of product, it is important to understand both the user and the product,” Torrey told XBIZ. “To integrate upsells successfully in any industry, the primary product or service needs to have a close connection to the upsold product. For example, an adult paysite has a very close connection with sex toys — and if integrated in a way that adds to a user’s experience inside the site, it can lead to a very successful upsell partnership.”