1. Markos Giannopoulos

    Thank you for the write up. One thing i’m a bit confused about. How exactly did you lose revenue? The conversion rate dropped, but what about actual number of sign-ups? From your numbers (assuming a 100 trials base)
    100 trials x 30% conversion = 30 sign-ups
    100 trials x 5x times more x 3% conversion = 15 sign-ups

    So the argument is that by removing the credit card requirement you send the wrong signal and serious customers stop signing up?

    • Nathan Powell

      Hey Markos.

      We didn’t lose money but growth virtually flatlined. If we can’t grow enough then we can’t survive. There were conversions, just too few for our liking. And yes, I think removing a credit card from the signup process sends out a different message. If someone is seriously searching out a solution, they have no problem in using their card. I understand that not everyone like this approach, but I have no problem in using my card when I’m looking for software that will help me improve my life/business.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Nice breakdown Nathan. We get that a lot too (“hey, asking for a year up front is a little much, no?”) and to be honest we’re actually considering changing that on a short-term trial basis.

    But you’re right, with the wealth of subscription stuff around it’s easy to sign up for something, have a play around then leave if there is no incentive to carve out some value in it (you would if you had paid).

    You’re also right to point out that in the right circumstances free trials are great – and much more effective (well, especially when you’re spending someone elses money and all that matters is users & traction) :)


    • Nathan Powell

      Hey Liam.

      I do get that some people feel we’re out to “rip them off”, but to be blunt, we’re trying to build a business. We can only focus on the people who at least have the intention to buy. I’m also pretty sure that most people’s opinions would bend slightly after launching any kind of subscription based business. Everyone one wants to help as many people as possible when building a business, but for free and at scale just isn’t an option.

  3. Definitely an interesting experiment. Your tracking and insight is the important part, and will allow you have some more solid controls for future pricing tests in the future.

    I think you touched on the real problem — the nature of Nusii itself. Many solo practitioners or freelancers only send 2-3 proposals per year, not enough to justify a monthly signup as a thriving agency would. These same soloists will likely feel “hoodwinked” into a credit card charge when they genuinely want to experiment. There’s perhaps a lurking variable about this same demographic (which includes myself, actually) and that has to do with how much email we receive from software and how many SaaS accounts we’re managing. Fragmentation is a real problem, and the warning emails may genuinely get lost in the shuffle, if not swept up by a spam filter properly. This isn’t your fault, but it may be part of the underlaying story.

    • Nathan Powell

      I’ve spoken to founders of other SaaS and they have experienced the same issue, interestingly enough, not just with freelancers. Studios and Agencies form part of the same results, which shows that there is a lot more happening here than merely audience. Psychology must be buried deep in here somewhere. Time, money, investment, need, desire and so on. But all of that is above my pay grade. Maybe one day we’ll have a better grasp of why it works this way.

  4. Hi Nathan, wonderful article. I always emphasize on the need for testing and experimentation. I’m so happy that more and more people start to realize how important this is. We can’t just reproduce what other have done and expect the same results. Thanks for writing this up!

    • Nathan Powell

      Hi Pierre.

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s true, all too often we assume that because something did or didn’t work for someone else, that we shouldn’t try it. If we don’t experiment, we’ll never know!

      Good luck!

  5. Alex

    I’m legitimately curious, and confused at how the math worked out.

    You say that you lost ‘revenue’? I understand that your conversation rate dropped, but did you lose customers that you thought would have otherwise become paying customers? Despite a drop in conversion rate, did your total number of conversions also drop!?

    • Nathan Powell

      Hi Alex,

      Perhaps I should have been clearer. What I meant was that we had zero growth. A 3% conversion rate put us virtually at a standstill. So yes, our total number of conversions plummeted. I’m convinced that this is purely down to the message that “free to get in” puts out there. I don’t have any other feasible explanation. We can only be guided by the results we see, and they weren’t good :)

  6. I am all for listening for advice like remove this or add this or change this. Normally going with your gut feeling works.
    Very nice article and very to the point.
    Nice one

  7. Ganesh

    you mentioned that once u reverted to the CC based trial; you had your biggest growth month. What would you attribute that growth to? Were there viral effects of the ‘free to trial month’ that led to more word of mouth and therefore more signups?

    • Nathan Powell

      That’s an interesting thought Ganesh, although if trials weren’t willing to use a credit card during the “free to get in” stage, I’m not sure that would later convert to, “now I’m OK with it”. But who knows, stranger things have happened!

      This has given me something else to look at, thanks!

  8. I don’t have an issue giving my credit card, the issue is sites convert you to a paying customer once the trial ends.
    I agree that inputting a credit card eliminates the fakes, but to charge a user after their trial ends and they didn’t want to continue is shady.
    There are sites now offering a free e-book but the catch is you have to sign up for a trial of their premium service, I don’t consider that free.
    Unchecking the trial charges you the full amount of the e-book.
    You no that they are hoping forget the trial .

    • Nathan Powell

      Hey Roger,

      I’ve no doubt that some are counting on your forgetting, but as I said we don’t all play that way.

      The fact that your card is charged at the end of a trial, unless you cancel is the way it should be, right? Not sure of a way around that. Providing the trial user has sufficient warning and time to cancel, then the number of false charges can be reduced the a minimum.

      I’ve yet to see one of these sites that offer a book as long as you signup for their premium service…

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