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Hacking Fan Retention: 10 Proven Strategies to Lengthen Subscriptions

Blog Post Written By: Melrose Michaels

 

A while back, I asked the #CEOsquad what topics they wanted me to write about. One of the suggestions was 'Retention'. We've talked about it briefly in the past, but never in detail. So today, I want to explain what retention means and give you some tips on how to improve it. I'll also share some tricks to help you do it better.


Let's begin by defining retention. In business, retention means keeping your customers. When you sell a product or service, you want the person who bought it to keep coming back for more. This is important because it's easier and cheaper to sell again to someone who has already made a purchase than to find a new customer.


Now, I want to make it clear that keeping your customers "happy" does not mean compromising your boundaries, always agreeing with them, or undervaluing yourself. However, it does mean considering if a small gesture, which costs you nothing but brings them happiness, is worth it. Spoiler alert: It almost always is. Any action that makes your fans feel special will keep them subscribed for longer. I also want to stress again that keeping a customer, or in our case, a subscriber, happy and continuing to subscribe is much easier than convincing a new person to subscribe in the first place. Throughout this discussion, I will use the term "customer" instead of "subscriber" to help you associate what you're learning with common business terms. It's easy to forget that a subscriber or fan is a customer, and when we lose sight of that as creators, we tend to make more mistakes in how we interact with them.


When a business succeeds in keeping its customers, it has a high retention rate. This is often a sign of a thriving business. Retention is particularly important for adult creators because, as we know, it's challenging to grow on social media due to de-platforming and shadowbans, among other obstacles. Acquiring new customers isn't an easy task, especially for smaller creators who may lack the financial resources to invest heavily in social media promotions, shoutouts, or other forms of advertising. Therefore, this topic is especially crucial for smaller creators who are listening in today.


Keep reading to learn ten strategies you can use to enhance customer retention on your fansite.


1. Provide Exceptional Customer Service

Being responsive, understanding, and proactive in customer service can establish strong relationships with customers (also known as subscribers) and enhance their loyalty to your brand.


Providing outstanding customer service does not mean that the customer is always right or that you should compromise your boundaries. I want to emphasize this point clearly. For me personally, it means going the extra mile beyond the basic requirements, especially when it involves little to no cost. I often include extra time in custom videos, randomly send free audio replies in DMs, and occasionally share SFW content without charge. Why do I do this? It's because I want these customers to feel that they receive exceptional value just by being part of my fansite, making them reluctant to leave. If you're in a position to do something similar, I highly recommend considering it.


Empathy and proactive engagement with customers are also crucial in delivering an exceptional experience. When I have fans on my fansite who have been subscribed for a long time but express the need to take a break due to financial constraints, I empathize with their situation and take proactive steps by offering them an individual discount to encourage them to stay subscribed (note: I only offer this to customers who have been subscribed 6 months or longer). Why do I take this approach? Well, they have already shown loyalty by being subscribed for six months or more. The reality is, if they cancel their subscription, it means zero revenue per month. However, if they continue to subscribe at a discounted rate, it still amounts to SOMETHING. Personally, I prefer having something rather than nothing. Additionally, by making them feel special, acknowledging their struggles with financial difficulties, and validating their human experiences, they tend to remain loyal for a longer period and often increase their spending when they overcome their situation. I'm playing the long game with my customers because, as I mentioned before, acquiring new ones is challenging. Therefore, I strive to retain as many customers as I can for as long as possible.


2. Offer Exclusive Content or Benefits

Regularly offer unique content or exclusive benefits to your subscribers to make the subscription feel special and valuable.


Offering exclusive benefits is a phenomenal way to keep customers rebilling. Whether you ‘raffle off’ a custom video to a subscriber who has renew turned on each month, or send a specific piece of content out monthly that only renew on subscribers receive. You should be giving extra value to those who keep renew on and rebill month after month - after all, this is a behavior you want to reinforce.


If you don’t want to offer content, you can offer benefits instead. Some great examples of benefits are things like priority DMs, meaning you respond to those users more quickly than renew off users. Another one could be one free written sexting session each month. You can think creatively about what you want to offer but just make sure there is some additional value for staying subscribed and active on your fansite so that it makes your customer second guess ever deciding to leave.


3. Engage Regularly

Regularly communicate with your customers through direct messages and comments on your fansites.


If you haven't been utilizing DMs on your fansites or have chosen not to do so simply because you've seen creators promoting "No PPV" or "No PPV DM" fansite pages, I can assure you that, based on my experience, it's not the right approach. More than 80% of my fansite revenue comes from DMs, regardless of which fansite platform you inquire about. In addition, as a consultant for various agencies, I can assure you that a significant portion of their revenue, with many earning six figures per month from fansites, also comes from DMs.I'm not sure who initiated the trend of "No PPV" pages, but the reality is that many of those creators are missing out on potential earnings.


What makes fansites special isn't solely the content we post there. We also distribute content to clip stores, tube sites, and other platforms. What we're truly selling on fansites is access to us, and that interaction happens through DMs. However, I want to clarify that when I mention engaging in DMs, I'm not suggesting sending mass messages for unlocks multiple times a day. Instead, I encourage genuine conversations with fans and using those authentic exchanges as opportunities to upsell locked content that is relevant and contextual to the ongoing conversation. For example, if you're engaging in a sexting conversation and mentioning touching your breasts, it would make sense to offer a photo unlock of you touching your breasts. This kind of personalized approach is what generates significant revenue, as opposed to spamming your customers.


Additionally, I make an effort to be active in the comments section of my feed posts. I respond to every single comment, expressing gratitude or answering questions, to show fans that I acknowledge their presence in the comments. This encourages them to continue commenting and increases overall engagement on my fansite.



4. Implement a Loyalty Program

Reward long-term customers with a loyalty program that offers benefits, discounts, or special content.


This is similar to what I mentioned in strategy 3 about offering exclusive content or benefits. But with this I want you to think about it on a grander scale. Think about a loyalty program that rewards your 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, 3 year (and so on rebilling customers) in a special way. You can make a post on your feed that names and tags those loyal customers and recognizes them publicly, as well as give some sort of reward for their support of you. Perhaps they get a free custom for every year they keep rebill on or an exclusive video. My point is whatever you decide to offer, make sure it’s exclusive to these customers.


5. Maintain Quality and Consistency

Ensure the service or product you deliver consistently meets or exceeds expectations. In the case of being an adult creator, your service is whatever you offer in DMs (e.g. sexting) and your product is your content.

Maintaining quality is very creator specific. Amateur low-quality content tends to perform better. However, if you’re a creator like myself, you may put out super aesthetic cinematic content. So quality is really going to be your own personal expectation of what style of content you put out. However, at a baseline, I’d suggest the technical quality of what you’re creating to still be 1080p.


Consistency is often the aspect we struggle with the most. However, if your customers don't see you posting regularly, they may feel that they can't rely on you or that you're not treating your fansite as a serious business. This lack of consistency can erode the trust between you and your customers. When customers notice gaps in your fansite posts or see that you've become inactive in DMs (remember, they primarily pay for access to you, not just content), they may hesitate to renew or continue their subscription. After all, if they can't trust you to show up, engage, and consistently provide value, what are they actually paying for? It's important to deeply consider how your target customers think and feel.


I recently had an experience with a YouTuber whose content I love to watch. They would upload a new video every Wednesday, and I eagerly anticipated watching it each week. It became a reward for me after a productive work day, similar to how some of you may feel about your favorite shows. However, there were three consecutive weeks when this YouTuber simply stopped posting. I felt lost and frustrated because I had come to rely on their content as part of my routine. Each Wednesday, I was met with disappointment. And you know what happened? By the fourth week, I stopped checking to see if they had posted a new video. The YouTuber's lack of consistency had trained me to no longer associate Wednesdays with the reward of their new content. In just four weeks, they lost my viewership for every new video they uploaded.


Now, think about your posting schedule on your fansite. Do you have one? Do your customers know when they can expect new content from you? Or have you been posting inconsistently, eroding their trust and inadvertently teaching them to disengage or stop checking in? This is why consistency is immensely important. It can genuinely make or break your business as a creator, whether you're an adult creator or a mainstream content creator.


Now that you probably feel personally attacked 😂 let’s talk about strategy for increasing retention...


6. Personalize the Experience

Use customer data you’re able to gather to personalize the customer experience. Tailored recommendations or customized content can make the service more relevant and engaging.


The terminology I just used, such as "customer data" and "tailored recommendations," may sound like mainstream jargon, but we can apply these strategies to our adult businesses as well. Let's begin by discussing how we can gather customer data. One excellent tool for this purpose (you can find the link in our Twitter bio at the bottom) is Fanwire. It provides valuable statistics and insights about your fans. Alternatively, a simpler approach is to take thorough notes on each of your users. Whenever a customer shares their name with you, make sure to add it to your notes. Similarly, record their content preferences, favorite color, birthday, occupation, location, religion, hobbies, and any other relevant information. By compiling this information, you can start building customer profiles.


Why is this important? Well, having these profiles allows you to personalize your interactions with customers and tailor the content you send their way. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that they will unlock or pay to access it. Let me provide you with some examples of how you can utilize the information I just suggested adding to their profiles:

  • If a user isn't responding to your DMs, including their name in your message might help re-engage them. For instance, you could say, "Hey [insert customer name], it's been a while since I heard from you. I hope you're doing well."

  • If a customer has mentioned their interest in JOI (Jerk Off Instruction) content, you can ensure that the majority of the content you send their way for unlocking falls into that category or something similar.

  • You could even explore variations, such as introducing elements of dominance or fetish into your JOI content to see if they also enjoy that.

  • If you know their favorite color is blue, you can make a point of sharing new photosets or videos where you're wearing blue lingerie.

  • If you happen to film something in their location, like a hotel room in New York, you can specifically target them with that content. Additionally, if you're aware that their religion excludes the celebration of holidays like Christmas, make sure not to send them any Christmas-themed content.

  • If their hobbies include gaming, you can ensure that your gamer girl-themed videos are prominently featured for them.

By maintaining detailed customer profiles and keeping meticulous notes, you can tailor your recommendations to each individual, optimizing their unlocking experience.



7. Use Feedback Effectively

Regularly solicit feedback from your customers, and more importantly, act on it. Customers feel valued when they see their suggestions being implemented.


Seeking feedback from your customers is a powerful strategy for increasing your revenue as an adult creator. Consider this: by producing more of what your customers want and less of what they don't want, you have the potential to earn more. It's a straightforward equation. Now, how can we effectively ask for and gather feedback? There are a few approaches you can take. You can utilize polls on your fansite, send a mass message in DMs, or create a post specifically inviting feedback in the comments section. Whichever method you choose, it's crucial to genuinely consider the feedback you receive. As a creator, you're not expected to completely change your entire approach or compromise your boundaries. However, you may discover that your customers are steering you in a direction you hadn't previously considered, noticed, or simply overlooked. Take note of the valuable feedback and implement it where it makes sense to do so.


How does this aid in customer retention? Well, when your customers receive more of what they like and less of what they dislike, they are more likely to remain loyal. Additionally, involving them in the feedback process makes them feel like they are part of something meaningful. By validating their feelings and implementing their suggestions, you make your customers feel heard and valued. All of these factors contribute to better customer retention.


8. Offer Flexible Pricing

Provide a variety of subscription options to cater to different customer needs and budgets. Offering a lower-priced option - AKA a retention offer can prevent customers from completely leaving if they can't afford the regular subscription price.


If you haven't implemented a retention offer on your fansite yet, I strongly recommend creating one immediately. When I mention flexible pricing, I'm not suggesting having multiple tiers of subscription. In fact, offering too much variety in terms of subscription options tends to result in lower conversion rates. This is due to the psychology of consumer decision-making. Personally, I advocate for having a single public subscription price and nothing more.


On platforms like OnlyFans, you have the ability to create subscription offers that are visible exclusively to expired fans. Let's say, for example, a fan's subscription has expired, and they attempt to re-subscribe. At that moment, they will see a special offer of 60% off for the first 30 days. This retention offer remains hidden from new subscribers, ensuring they remain unaware of its existence. This approach is an excellent way to entice back expired fans. Instead of losing their revenue entirely, you can provide them with a discounted rate for the first 30 days and then capitalize on the full-price rebill afterward.


Now, here's an additional caveat: promote your retention offer to expired fans. By now, you should recognize the importance of following back your fans. OnlyFans even has a setting specifically designed to automatically follow back your fans and continue following them even after their subscription ends. Make sure you have that setting turned on. Once you're following fans back, you can target only the expired fans with a mass message. To accomplish this, create a mass DM and select "following" as the recipient group while excluding "fans." This ensures that the message is sent exclusively to expired users. In your mass message, convey that the offer is limited-time only, such as "60% off my page for expired fans who resubscribe within the next 24 hours." Don't forget to include your regular OnlyFans link, as only expired fans can view this offer when they visit your page. For more advanced tracking, consider using a campaign tracking link to gather data on how many people claim the offer and resubscribe.


Implementing a retention offer and effectively promoting it to expired fans can significantly contribute to retaining customers and maximizing your revenue as an adult creator.


9. Easy Onboarding

Make the sign-up and onboarding process as easy as possible. A smooth start can set a positive tone for the entire customer journey. While we can’t really change the way adult platforms onboard our fans much, we can make it as easy as possible to get from social media to our platforms and get them from new subscriber to first sale as quickly as possible.


Let's discuss making the transition from social media to your fansite as seamless as possible. The key aspect to focus on for conversions from social media to your fansite is minimizing the number of clicks required from point A (social media) to point B (your fansite). Ideally, this should be achieved in just one click. For instance, a Twitter post can directly link to your OnlyFans page, resulting in a true one-click journey from the Twitter post to OnlyFans. However, if you're using a Linktree-type setup in your Instagram bio, it may involve more clicks. Users would have to click on the link in your bio to access your Linktree, then click again to confirm they're over 18, and finally click to reach your fansite. This multi-step process of three clicks increases the likelihood of losing potential fans simply due to the inconvenience of navigating through multiple clicks between point A and point B. It may sound trivial, but it can make a significant difference. This is precisely why platforms like Amazon have a "buy now" button.


To facilitate a quick transition from new subscriber to first sale, an optimized welcome message plays a crucial role. Your welcome message should provide a brief introduction about yourself and include an enticing offer asking them to tip for content. To maximize its effectiveness, consider presenting three options: one priced low (e.g., $3.99) for one video, one priced higher (e.g., $8.99) for three videos, and one priced highest (e.g., $9.99) for ten videos. The second option should be only one dollar less than the most expensive option, creating the perception that the most expensive option offers the best value for money. When presented with these choices, customers tend to opt for the highest-priced option, assuming it to be the most advantageous deal. This is how you make a sale to a new customer and expedite their progression along the customer journey.


By minimizing the clicks required for users to reach your fansite from social media and implementing an optimized welcome message with enticing offers, you can enhance conversions and guide customers swiftly from the point of subscription to their first purchase.


10. ABC - Always Be Closing

This sales tactic, known as "Always Be Closing" or ABC in sales terminology, can be applied to our approach in maintaining high customer retention. "Always be closing" refers to the continuous effort to reinforce the value proposition and persuade customers to stay subscribed. As a creator, it's your role to remind your customers why they should remain subscribed by emphasizing the benefits they will continue to receive. This ongoing process of reaffirming the sale is crucial for customer retention.


One effective way I achieve this is by promoting the new content and experiences planned for the upcoming month. By constantly generating anticipation and excitement about what's to come, my customers are encouraged to stay subscribed to witness the fruition of these offerings.


So how do we generate interest in "what's coming next month" while still in the present? There are a few approaches you can take. You can create a feed post that outlines the videos you'll be filming and releasing in the following month. Alternatively, you can share censored photos that will be fully revealed on your fansite next month, giving them a taste of what's to come. Another highly effective method, which I personally favor and am implementing on my own fansite, is creating video trailers that tease small snippets of each video set to release the following month. I have already tested this approach once, and the results were incredible. However, it's important to note that to implement this strategy successfully, you need to maintain consistency and film content one month in advance. So if you needed more motivation to stay consistent and get ahead, this is it. I am creating captivating and action-packed trailers for each future month, which will be released on the feed and pinned to keep customers engaged and excited, ultimately discouraging them from turning off their rebill. Additionally, I plan to send this trailer, essentially a commercial, to all my expired customers along with their retention offer, and share it on social media. If you want to see an example soon, keep an eye on my Twitter feed.


By employing the "Always Be Closing" approach and effectively promoting the upcoming month's content through teasers, trailers, and enticing previews, you can keep your customers engaged, excited, and motivated to stay subscribed, leading to improved customer retention.


TL;DR

In conclusion, maintaining high customer retention as an adult creator requires a strategic approach and consistent efforts. By implementing various tactics and techniques, such as understanding your customers' preferences, soliciting feedback, offering retention incentives, optimizing the conversion process, and continuously reinforcing the value proposition, you can significantly improve customer retention rates. Building strong customer profiles, tailoring content recommendations, and providing a personalized experience enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, effective communication, consistency in posting, and creating anticipation for upcoming content play vital roles in keeping customers engaged and motivated to stay subscribed. Remember, customer retention is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process that requires dedication, adaptability, and a customer-centric mindset. By employing these strategies, you can foster long-lasting relationships with your audience, drive revenue, and thrive as a successful adult creator.

 

If you enjoyed this blog, you'll really love the Twitter Space we did focusing on this topic. We received some really great audience questions so make sure to listen until the end! Have a question of your own about subscriber retention not answered above? DM or tag @sexworkceo on Twitter and Instagram or send us an email. We're always here to help, it's what we love to do! Want to be part of the conversation? Join us Tuesdays at 1 pm CST on Twitter where we discuss new topics weekly to help take your adult content creator business to the next level. Unable to make it live? No problem! You can listen to all our past Twitter Spaces here.

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