Getting the Most Out of MuCash

Since we launched our platform, we have learned quite a bit about what works and does not work when implementing MuCash on a website. Micropayments are probably a new concept to your readers. As with any new service, you will need to educate your readers and get them used to the concept. MuCash’s success is directly tied to that of our partner sites, so we are sharing what we’ve learned from experience to help you get the most out of MuCash.

Always Be Optimizing

Impressions →Clicks →Transactions

As much as we wish we could just install the MuCash plugin, sit back, and watch the transactions flow in, things rarely work out quite that way. You’ve probably worked hard to promote your site, build up a loyal readership, and bring traffic to your website. If you have advertising on your site, you’ve probably thought about ways to get your readers to notice and click on ads relevant to them. Getting your users to engage with MuCash on your site is pretty analogous to that.

It’s helpful to keep the above graphic in mind. Impressions are the number of times the MuCash button appears on your site, and is closely related to the amount traffic on your site. The next step is getting people to interact with the MuCash buttons on your site.  You can do this through a combination of providing valuable content, teaching your readers about MuCash, and just ensuring that the button is sufficiently visible. A button buried deep down a page among a lot of clutter with no explanation is unlikely to ever get clicked on.

Analytics ScreenshotIn our experience, a conversion rate of 0.5 to 1% of impressions to clicks is a good target to aim for, and we have seen rates significantly higher than that. Your publisher dashboard lets you track these stats in real-time.  We recommend you check your stats at least once a week, and try new ideas out and see how they affect things. Watch for sudden changes in traffic levels and click-through rates and you’ll soon learn what works and what does not.

Let People Know They Can Support You Through MuCash

MuCash is something new on the Internet.  It lets people do things that they could not do before, so they need to be taught about it. We have designed MuCash to be as simple and straightforward as possible. We also include education about the platform wherever we can to help people understand just how it works. Your readers are just that – your readers. They are much more likely to pay attention to something you say to them than anything we do. The more you mention the fact that you are using MuCash and how it works, the more likely they are to use MuCash to support your site.

Your readers are much more likely to pay attention to something you say to them than anything we do.

Put up a quick blurb about MuCash somewhere in a prominent place on your home page, such as a sidebar. People are much more likely to use MuCash if they have seen something about it before, and know what it is. Most of your readers enter your site through the home page. Placing information about MuCash there is a good way to make sure that all your readers know what MuCash is before they make a transaction. A nice sample blurb was:

“We have decided to start using the micropayment platform MuCash. From now on, whenever we have something extra special we are going to introduce a paywall on those items. It’ll be for the best stuff, and it won’t be very often. Look out for this , it’s a sign of quality.”

This is also a good place to take advantage of our promotions feature. Promotions provide another great way to get people to utilize MuCash without making them pull out their credit card initially.  Once they are familiar with how it works and expect to get those great premium things you charge for, they will be much more likely to purchase additional items in the future.

Selectively Charge for Premium Content

We have noticed a significant increase in the use of MuCash on sites that have something valuable that the reader can purchase. Every site is different, but your readers use your site for a reason. They like what you have to offer. We recommend thinking about what content on your site is above and beyond your average post, and selectively charging for that. A few examples are: a recipe cooking site that charges for videos of the recipe being cooked, a guitar lesson site that charges for sheet music, a chess non-profit that sells puzzles to help improve your game.

A key advantage of MuCash is that you can charge for as many or as few of your items as you want, and pick varying prices as appropriate.

MuCash is a great way to implement a freemium model on your site. A key advantage of MuCash is that you can charge for as many or as few of your items as you want, and pick varying prices as appropriate. You can give away a bulk of your content for free to draw people in, and give them a taste of what the paid content will be like.

Some of our sites have found inspiration in implementing reader suggestions. These suggestions seemed like too much work in light of the low traffic and advertising revenue they would bring in. However, when each user can bring your site $0.50 instead of $0.001 per reader, these suggestions become much more viable. It is important to keep in mind that this doesn’t just bring in more revenue for your site – it also creates a better experience for your readers who now can enjoy content that never would have been available before.

Donations

Donations are a great way to get started with MuCash. They are quick to implement and don’t require you to spend time figuring out which content to charge for and how much to charge. It is important to remember that when you enable donations on your site you still need to make the case to your readers to donate. Be sure to remind your readers that they can make a small donation every time they particularly enjoy one of your posts. This is a big departure from more conventional approach where may make a donation once a year or less. Make sure to let your readers know that their donations have an effect on what you create in the future. It is their way to put their money where their mouth is and tell you what they value. Let them know when their support enables you to create extra material.

Be sure to remind your readers that they can make a small donation every time they enjoy one of your posts.

You may want to create a contest to go along with the donations. Have them vote to pick the next feature you will write or tell them that the money will be donated to a charity (make sure you actually do donate the money!). Initially, it is important to encourage and reinforce the behavior of donating to things that they like on your site. The money will come once your readers are in the habit of donating to you, and feel empowered to directly encourage you to create more of what they like.

We are always excited to help you get the most out of MuCash.  If you’d like help implementing MuCash on your site, give us feedback, or just trade ideas please do not hesitate to contact us!

Interview with Ebele Chizea of Drum Tide Magazine

MuCash co-founder Ben Oaks interviewed Ebele Chizea, the owner of Drum Tide Magazine, one of our partner sites to learn more about their site and mission.

Ben: To get started, tell me a little bit about your website drumtidemag.com.

Ebele: Drum Tide is an online magazine that caters to the afro-cultural community, but it is really for everybody. We provide information  and artwork that is connected to the afro-cultural community, afro-cultural meaning African-Americans, African people, and the African diaspora in particular. We like to call ourselves a socio-political, art and cultural magazine.

Ben: What are the most common topics I would find discussed in your magazine?

“…people are bombarded with advertising that is forced and in your face. But when you choose to support a publication in some way, it is empowering…”

Ebele: We discuss socio-political issues. We look at it from the the perspective of the individual. We are not so much about news. We are more about the philosophy behind what’s happening in our society and our culture. We like to get individual points of view like writers who are thinkers and in a way philosophers. We talk about cultural issues, artistic trends, books, and, in particular, literature. We try to inform the public and get the public into discourse, and provide something that is intellectually stimulating and promote communication and dialogue.

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Streamlining the User Experience

As we mentioned in an earlier post, micropayments are about way more than just processing small transactions. It’s primarily a user experience challenge, and traditional payment methods don’t work well for that. Something may be worth a nickel to a user, but may not be worth two minutes of their time to go through an onerous purchase process. User experience is something that we are obsessed with here at MuCash, and not a day that goes by when we don’t think and talk about how to make our integration into our partners’ sites smoother and more seamless.

MuCash ButtonFor example, consider a user buying an article from a site with MuCash. After the excerpt or intro, there would typically be a link to read the rest of the article. On premium articles with MuCash enabled, that link is simply replaced by our pretty “buy article” button. The user clicks the button, which pops up a window confirming the details of the item they are about to purchase (price, author, title etc.). They then click “confirm” and are instantly taken to the full article. The whole process is just one more click than they would normally need to read the full article, and flows naturally with how they would normally interact with the site.

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Building a Better Web

Since we launched our product in the summer, people often ask what prompted us to start MuCash. We believe that a micropayment platform like MuCash can make the web a more responsive, higher quality, and overall more rewarding experience. The ability to pay for what you want opens up all sorts of possibilities for new, ingenious ways to deliver content and other experiences which just wouldn’t be feasible otherwise.

In this screen shot of a popular news site, prime screen real estate is dominated by advertising (red), with the actual article (green) making up only a small fraction.

Sometimes “free” isn’t better. Nothing in this world is ever truly free—someone is always paying for whatever it is that you are getting, and they normally have a reason why they are paying for it. As much as writers prefer to maintain the integrity of their work, when it is advertisers who pay the bills, the authors are ultimately beholden to them and their goals are often prioritized ahead of those of the readers and users of a site.

A stark example of this is the fact that although modern web design emphasizes clean and uncluttered interfaces, and minimizing the number of clicks, the very first thing you’ll often see when you visit a typical large media site is full page ad you need to click to dismiss. Then articles are often broken down into several pages to artificially increase the number of page views, and thus the number of ads you’ll see. Moreover, advertising is ultimately a numbers game, which means that content that is produced tends to be designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, and more in-depth and specialized content that appeals to smaller audiences (however passionate) or not linked to “purchasing intent” may never get created.

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