Going into the launch, I had a lot of questions. Here’s how they turned out.
Which option was the most popular?
- DBAs – 29% of buyers (126) opted for this
- Performance – 29% (125)
- Enterprise – 41% (177)
Wow! The dead-even split between DBAs and Performance totally shocked me.
I’m not sure yet how much of the split is due to lower pricing – maybe people are buying the $39 plan because they see it as more affordable. It’s priced that way because there are less training videos for that plan, but the plan’s popularity hints that maybe I should get my butt in gear and record more training videos to justify pushing it to a $49/mo price tag along with perf.
How did buyers pay, card or Paypal?
We’ve always offered both, but previously (when 80%+ of our sales were the Everything Bundle), Paypal sales represented a very small percentage of our sales, and it was almost exclusively the $29 videos. Now that we offer monthly subscriptions, did that change?
- Paypal – 18% of payments
- Credit cards via Stripe – 82%
The majority of the Paypal checkouts were for monthly subscription plans – so yes, it would seem that we’re opening up to a new market of folks who not only prefer subscriptions, but also prefer paying with Paypal.
I’m not too surprised by that because the goal of the subscriptions was to enable people to get in at a lower transaction price if they were paying for the subscriptions themselves.
How many monthly subscribers bailed immediately?
On offering a subscription product, the big worry is that folks are going to subscribe for just one month, bum rush the videos, watch every one of them, and then cancel. The purchase instructions say you can cancel at any time, and you can continue to watch the videos for the rest of your month – and you won’t be charged a renewal. (I wanted to make this as easy as possible for everyone involved.)
Subscription vendors look at this in a couple of ways:
- Churn – how quickly the subscribers bail
- Lifetime value – how much the subscriber will pay you before they churn out
To decrease churn, a subscription product needs to add value over time. One way to do this is to trickle out videos during your subscription so that you can’t see all of the good content right away. I’m not a fan of that one just yet (although I do want to give people a better learning plan to navigate through the content.) Another way is to add new content for everyone on a regular basis – that’s the approach we’re using instead, with new video material from Erik going live today, for example.
I expected the initial sales to have a lot of cancelations right away because we didn’t have a track record of adding new videos over the last few months – I had my hands full prepping for the subscription launch. I was happy to see that only 10% of customers canceled, and surprisingly, most of those were actually annual customers. That makes sense in retrospect – we’re seeing a lot of corporate buyers where the boss is buying the training for someone else, and they don’t wanna get hit with an automatic renewal.
What holes had I missed?
I figured I’d end up with a few loose ends or desperately missing features, but there’s only one really big one right now: making it easier for corporate folks to buy seats for other people. Right now that buying process isn’t intuitive at all (causing Erika to tell me, “Your web site sucks.”)
I’ll outsource that tuning (plus some conversions testing and free trials stuff) to a WooCommerce guru. I’d love to keep working on this, but it’s time to switch focus. This week, I embarked on a client project to build self-healing, auto-scaling Availability Groups at scale (hundreds of thousands of databases) in Azure VMs. The last step will be building a Chaos Monkey that randomly kills VMs – our proof of concept will use a D6. Awesomely, the client is going to let us blog & talk about the end result.
Not enough hours in the day.