How do you convert users of a high quality free website to premium subscribers? That was the problem facing with their premium offering, RealMoney.
Thousands of users had become accustomed to getting RealMoney’s expert online stock market and investment news content for free. Now they were being asked to pay about $12.00 a month to get more in-depth advice from the same source.
I knew that my CDMG staff and I had a triple challenge. Not only did we have to (1) convince prospects that they’d be getting content that would be worth the price. We also had to (2) be sure not to drive away readers who could easily feel manipulated if they felt they were being asked to pay for what they had been getting for free. Plus, to (3) convince those unwilling to pay a premium price that the free content on RealMoney would continue to be worthy a daily visit to the website.
I recommended an online direct response landing page to’s senior vice presiden, one whic would target the hard core information seekers that frequented
This long-copy direct response approach was contrary to traditional practice, but I’ve proven that direct response techniques were a perfect fit with online products.
The more difficult challenge was coming up with a creative theme to accomplish the three big marketing goals. This was accomplished by positioning the numerous advisors on RealMoney as a high investment think tank that strategizes the market throughout each day. The reader was invited to join them by email, receiving real-time advice as the think tank members conceptualized it.

The content that would continue to be free was positioned in the letter as “news and observations” by the RealMoney staff, including up-to-the-minute stock data, research, and investment “tools”.
A 3-day free opt-out trial was created to let prospects try the premium service. Additionally, two special reports were offered as further incentive to try RealMoney for free for 30 days.
That combination proved to be a winning pitch. Readers rushed to sign up, creating the largest investment premium site in America. Web hits on the free site continued to be high, as well. These results exceeded the client’s expectations by over 200%.
Do you want a successful direct marketing campaign like this one for your business or service? Call me at (310) 212-5727 or email me at for more information.