Get Satisfaction Pricing and Plan Changes

I’m reluctant to write too much about my day-to-day doings at Get Satisfaction just because I don’t want people to think I’m using my blog to pimp the company but it’s challenging because not a day goes by that I don’t experience something that adds to my body of knowledge about selling and delivering technology online.

Today was just such a day, the culmination of a dedicated and extensive effort to change the product plans and pricing that we offer under the non-enterprise side of the business, dubbed the Standard Plans. You may recall that back in August I wrote a post about the freemium goto market strategy and pricing challenges; today we took concrete steps to resolve some of the challenges we were facing as we optimized the business for continued growth.

So what did we do? First and foremost, we collapsed a product, our Facebook application, that was selling as an add-on down into several of our plan offerings, and when combined with similar moves a few months ago on the Enterprise side what this means is that we are no longer selling Get Satisfaction for Facebook as an add-on to any plan, it is now a bundled component in 3 of the Standard Plans and on Enterprise accounts.

We also redesigned the page that we were marketing the various plans on, changing the layout from a horizontal layout to a 2×2 grid. This may seem like a trivial change however the things that should be kept in mind is that you never have the luxury of sitting back and coasting when it comes to your marketing site. Small and large changes really make a difference and this new layout takes into account feedback on the previous layout, which was working quite well, and builds on our prior success.

Whatever the design choices you settle on, the objectives are the same. First and foremost you need to clearly represent the product options you are making available to efficiently direct site visitors to an option that meets their needs while eliminating every possible obstacle between someone hitting the page and clicking buy.

Different people like to see the product options represented in different formats so we offer a confiigurator page that allows people to select different features to arrive at the right plan option for them, and we offer a separate page where each plan is exhaustively detailed according to the features it contains. The configurator and comparison pages still need continued work, I know.

We still have the problem of too many plan options and next year I would like to resolve that but we first have to upsell a good chunk of our customers on the lowest price point, which is a very achievable. Our opportunity on Facebook is substantial and a clear path for upselling free communities and our lowest price point. We should have 2-3 price points on the Standard Plan business and an Enterprise option for the direct sales side of the business.

I also pushed through price increases on 2 plans. This was an easy decision based on what I knew the takeup rate on each plan was and the value we were delivering at each price point. The challenging part of increasing prices is deciding how to handle existing customers because while I don’t think a $10 increase adds up to much on an annualized basis, my customers clearly might think that so I should not presume too much. I decided to grandfather the current customers into the existing price for all of 2011 and I admit that this is a rather arbitrary amount of time but one that is generous and, I hope, will satisfy my customers.

We are also taking aggressive steps to market into the population of free communities that we are fortunate to have in our network. This has been a goal from day one but it turns out that it’s actually quite complicated to pull off and I think the best way to approach the problem is to not try to push promotions through to the entire population of free communities but rather chunk it up into subsets that can then be isolated and a customized promotion created specifically for their needs.

One conflict that I have yet to determine an appropriate resolution for is the tension between my desire to move our price points up while also retaining the free part of the business. I would also like to enable some paid plan features in the free product offering, thereby creating a defensive barrier for competitors and continuing ongoing efforts to increase customer satisfaction (it’s never too high). I will be working on this next but given the depth of our product development pipeline I am not concerned about plateauing in my efforts here.

Andy Wibbels put up a good blog post on these changes today, complete with an Oprah punch line.