There is a part of business models that I've nicknamed your Gumball Machine because it's a set-and-forget revenue earner that gives customers a sweet little taste of what you do.
I want to start with a current stat that shows the opportunity you could be tapping if you had your own digital vending machine –
45% of global consumers are spending more time on social media.
What does that mean for businesses with a gumball machine or two?
A business has a gumball machine when they have an additional income stream, often digital, that doesn't require much ongoing effort to run.
Not just any passive income stream, a good gumball machine is a creative, irresistible product at a low price point. What's particularly awesome about them, is they give prospective customers a taste of your magic.
Instead of just being a good little income earner humming along in the background, a gumball machine also actively nurtures prospective customers down your funnel. This means they earn income that also makes customers more likely to order a big ticket item later. They have bonus features too – a versatile tool for bundling into any future promotions as well as an easy upsell that enhances the rest of your offering. Pretty good right?
Features of a great gumball strategy:
- Both fun and helpful
- Relevant to your wider business
- Relatively easy to set up
- Low ongoing maintenance and running costs
- Customers can pay and automatically receive their product at a time that suits them
- Potently communicates your brand and competitive advantage
To get some ideas, you'll want to start looking at your customers current experience of purchasing in your category and work out what happens right before they need a service or product like yours. Then with this trigger event in mind, spend some good time researching trends and businesses and brainstorming ideas of what you might be able to do to help them.
Now you'll likely end up with a few different ideas after that process, so how do you choose which one to test first? Enter a technique innovators call: How, Now, WOW.
Super easy, you just plot a graph like this one and stick your ideas in the relevant categories. The 'How' ideas aren't right for a gumball, but they're worth dedicating some research time to see if they can be made easier. If that hurdle can be overcome, it's likely to be a great idea for your business. The 'Now' are easy, low hanging fruit ideas worth experimenting with in the near future. The 'Wow' are innovative ideas that are easy to implement – these are the ideas we're looking for.
Don't have a "Wow"? We're bursting with creative business ideas for products and services.