Know When to Lower ‘Em

High Rollers? No.
Online poker site just announced that they’re opening up real-money poker tables in which people can play for “micro-stakes.” That means that people can play for as little as $.02 per hand. With small blinds at $.01, this is the lowest price the site could possibly charge to play cash games on their site (without splicing pennies into fractions, of course).

The Smaller, the Better
Micro-stake online poker is a fantastic idea. Why? Because it all but eliminates the barriers to entry that potential customers feel when considering playing online poker.

Consider the reasons why a poker player might be hesitant to play online poker for real money:
  1. He doesn’t want to lose money / he’s afraid to take too big of a risk.
  2. He is afraid that he won’t be good enough against players who play for real money.
  3. He doesn’t trust that the poker site offers a fair game.
Offering games for players at the lowest possible price eliminates the first reason. It doesn’t get cheaper than this. And, once a player starts playing at micro-stakes, he will gain confidence and rule out #2. Unfortunately, micro-stakes doesn’t solve #3.

Big Money
Full Tilt Poker makes its money by taking a percentage of the money bet on each hand. By getting players to play for the cheapest amount possible, the site is obviously hoping that players will gain confidence and eventually step up to more expensive tables.

Other Examples

Consider the ways that other industries lower the barriers surrounding their products and services:
  • Paint manufacturers often sell small, inexpensive sample containers of paint so that customers can take them home and try out a few different colors on their walls before committing to a color.

  • Non-profit organizations are now encouraging “micro-fundraising” in which they encourage donors to donate in very small amounts – often $5 at a time. This allows individuals to donate small amounts of money to numerous worthy causes instead of committing to fewer.

  • ING Direct offers a service called Share Builder in which investors can buy stocks and mutual funds for any amount they’d like. Don’t want to commit $1,000 to pick up a couple of shares of Google? Buy $25 worth and test the waters.
Add This to Your To-Do List
Are there ways in which you can lower the barriers that prevent customers from buying your products or services? Can you attract new customers by selling at “micro-stakes” in order to let them test the waters? Think about how these examples can apply to your business and test out your ideas. What do you have to lose?

There’s never a lack of ideas.

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