Simply Testable Updates #104: On Hiding The Free Plan
August 27, 2014
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This is the 104th of weekly progress updates on the development of Simply Testable, your professional automated web frontend testing service providing one-click testing for your entire site.
Yesterday I released changes that hid our free plan.
The free plan still exists but is no longer mentioned on our plans page, is no longer mentioned when viewing plan details and is no longer an option when creating an account.
You can end up on the free plan if your premium subscripion lapses or if you choose to cancel your premium subscription. But we now no longer promote the free plan or let you choose it when creating an account.
How This Came To Be
I recently introduced changes to allow discount coupons to be used. One current coupon offers a 20% lifetime discount on a premium plan and was introduced to accompany an up-coming run of ads on the TMS podcast.
A 20% discount on something that is free is a pretty useless and pointless thing whereas a 20% discount on something that otherwise would cost £9 per month is a tangible and useful thing.
I decided that for users creating accounts where a discount is being applied, it does not make sense to allow such users to sign straight up to the free plan. A discount of 20% off something costing nothing looks somewhat daft and doesn't really provide any benefit to the user.
I was then faced with an odd situation to resolve: new users acquired via ads were not offered the free plan whereas all other new users were offered the free plan.
This disparity introduces complexity into the account creation process and introduces inconsistency. I'm not a fan of inconsistency.
I considered what the free plan has to offer over any 30-day free trial of any premium plan. Since we ask for no payment details up-front, I decided that the free plan offered nothing. In fact, the free plan, by its very nature, offers very little compared to any of the premium plans.
By offering the free plan as an option to choose when creating an account, I'm offering new users the option of choosing a lesser level of service. Is that what I want to introduce new users to? No, I don't.
Won't This Result In Fewer New Signups?
If I drop the free plan as an option from which to choose when creating an account, won't I reduce the number of people who create an account?
Perhaps yes, perhaps no. I'll have to science it up with some data to see what the long term impact is.
Do I mind that this could reduce the number of new accounts? No, not at all.
From the perspective of creating revenue, a potential new user who would be willing to sign up to a forever-free account but would not be willing to sign up to a trial of a paid subscription that asks for no payment details up-front is, to be honest, not a user I want.
This might sound a little harsh but that isn't my intent. Someone who is deterred by there being no forever-free option at the point of creating an account is not a good fit for the service. The service is not right for the user and the user is not right for me. It's not me and it's not you. We're just not meant to be. That's ok.
Benefits To New Users
In order to clearly present the price reduction offered by a discount (where relevant), I needed to modify the account creation page.
Previously the choice of plan was a regular drop-down that gave the plan name and the monthly price. I wanted to introduce the savings offered by a discount. When initially adding this to the plan choice drop-down I saw that I had made something messy, cluttered and distracting. Not a good thing.
I removed the plan-choice drop-down and replaced it with a set of radio buttons, with the plan name, price and, where relevant, the discount savings, next to each radio button.
This redesign left room to add some differentitation details. Below each plan name I added a brief sentence showing the number of credits provided by the plan and the number of pages that could be examined in each test.
I increased the amount of differentiation information from nothing to something. Something is better than nothing and so I hope this is a good change.
Potential new users can now see all of the details of all of the plan choices at one time and can, due to the differentiation information, carry out a brief comparison in order to better choose a plan.
Over the next week or so I'll be sorting out the copy/details for the TMS ad and will be looking into further ways to promote the service.
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