We recently released a new version of Leave Me Alone and we wanted to share why we changed our pricing model. There were a lot of factors that influenced this decision, but there was one main reason; people found it confusing. Potential customers were struggling to understand our pricing model, creating huge hurdle when they were deciding whether to buy it or not.
What was wrong before
Our previous pricing model was time-based; users would pay for how far back in time they wanted to scan their inbox for subscription emails. The highest tier cost $8 and scanned the previous 6 months of their emails.
It was difficult to explain and we had to make several UI changes to try and clarify what the timeframes meant to new users. We added "one-time payment" to each tier as many users thought the price was for a recurring monthly subscription.
When users signed in they couldn't see emails and try unsubscribing straight away - we probably missed out on a lot of conversions here. The free scan only showed the last 3 days of subscription emails which would usually be a small number and not likely to convert to a longer, more expensive scan - we weren't showing how much value we could provide up front.
Users didn't understand what the timeframe of 3 days, 1 week, 1 month, or 6 months meant. We wrote lots of copy to try to explain but most users didn't read this information, so we added exact dates that we would scan on the payment screen - "we will scan for subscription emails received between 1st August 2019 and today".
The fact that we had to make these changes to try and explain how to pay for our service was a huge wake up call. We started to discuss ways in which we could provide the same or more value for the user but with a different pricing model.
We had made a classic developer mistake of charging for what was our biggest cost and transferring that directly to the customer. The more emails we wanted to query for from providers like Google or Microsoft would take more bandwidth, and cost more money.
What we changed
We decided to move to a credit-based pricing model which would be easier to understand and would actually be better for the customer. Each unsubscribe costs a small amount - 1 credit, so each time a user unsubscribes from a mailing list they will use 1 credit.
The main reasons for changing to this model is that people are already familiar with credit-based pricing and it allows users to only pay for what they unsubscribe from.
We are able to demonstrate value much more quickly than before. Users can now see all of their subscription emails as soon as they sign in and try unsubscribing straight away with a few free credits. This means they are able to get started immediately and use the full version of Leave Me Alone before making a purchase.
Users can purchase different packages of credits depending on the size of their inbox. If they aren't sure how many credits they might we have an estimator on our pricing page where we recommend a package based on the number of emails they receive. Once signed in we also let them know how many subscriptions they still have to unsubscribe from so they can bear that in mind when deciding which package to purchase. We don't want to mislead anyone into paying more than they should, we encourage users to only buy the number of credits they need.
The price for each package is not random. We were happy with the amount we were charging before, so we calculated a price for each credit based on the average number of unsubscribes from our previous pricing model. Most users purchased the 6 month scan for $8 and performed an average of 200 unsubscribes - our new packages reflect this.
Our unsubscriber is awesome, but sometimes we fail to unsubscribe from a mailing list. This can happen for a number of reasons; the user needs to login, the email address can't be found, there were extra steps to unsubscribe etc. Now that each unsubscribe costs a credit, we only charge for successful unsubscribes so failures do not cost any credits.
Extra good stuff
Changing our pricing allowed us to make several improvements to the user experience.
Users can now connect all of their email accounts to one Leave Me Alone account, see all of the subscription emails from all of these accounts in the list, and use credits to unsubscribe from all of them together. This is much better than having to sign in with each email address they want to clean and one of the big improvements our pricing change has allowed.
We added filtering, sorting, and pagination to make it much more manageable to unsubscribe from a large number of emails; it is less overwhelming than an endless list of subscriptions, users can more easily see the progress they are making through their inbox, and failed unsubscribes can be found and resolved more quickly.
The mail list is now kept up-to-date with the users' inboxes so that each time they log in any new subscription emails are ready to view rather than having to pay to scan again. This reduces the stress of unsubscribing from 6 months worth of emails in one go, and encourages users come back more often to keep their inboxes clean instead of just cleaning them once.