How One SaaS Company Raised Pricing Page Conversions 310%

by 13 03/18/2014

Figuring out how to price your SaaS product is difficult. It relies on customer segmentation and profitability analysis, and then, when you’ve finally optimized your pricing strategy, clear, effective communication.

That’s the part where we were stuck.

As anyone who’s ever worked on a SaaS pricing page knows, it’s incredibly tricky to communicate value and differentiation effectively and succinctly.

At RJMetrics we were struggling with some of the same problems that many SaaS companies face on their pricing pages:

  • How can we give visitors the information they need without overwhelming them with options?
  • How can we avoid “scaring away” our core demographic while still showing the full range of companies that we can help?
  • And, most importantly, how can we avoid showing up on the Saddest SaaS Pricing Pages of the Year?

Fortunately, we found a solution that shot conversions up a whopping 310%. Ours is a case study in understanding your customers and finding good hypotheses to test. And the lessons learned could benefit any business trying to create a better-converting pricing page.

Let’s take a look.

Our problem

One of our core beliefs is that the more data is embedded in an organization, the bigger impact it has. Because of this, our pricing is designed to encourage:

  1. As many users as possible
  2. As many data sources as possible

We never want price to be the thing that makes a client pause before adding a new employee to RJMetrics or pulling a new data source into our system.

Instead, our pricing is built around the number of customers a client has. That way, when our clients make money, we make money.

It doesn’t matter if they connect 10 new data sources and everyone, including their grandmother, is regularly logging in to check out RJMetrics dashboards. If they’re not adding more customers, we never charge more.

This is the key message we needed to communicate on our pricing page. Here’s how we were doing it:

pricing pageOut original pricing page

It was clear, but was it effective?

While the page was doing a good job communicating our pricing strategy, it wasn’t doing much to show our tailored pricing.

As a startup ourselves, we love helping small companies grow. We want data-driven startup leaders to know we want to work with them. But like most SaaS companies, we want big-ticket prospects to know that we can handle their data as well.

That’s two additional layers of complexity that are just… well… two more layers of complexity. Our single message was being muddled by options.

How could we communicate the singular focus of our pricing strategy and still get every prospect the information they needed? That was our challenge.

Getting inspired

To figure out how to solve these problems, we did something truly innovative—we checked out what the other guys were doing. In particular, we liked MailChimp’s approach.

Here’s step 1:

pricing page 2b

Here’s step 2 if you click on Growing Business or High Volume Sender:

pricing page 3b

The input field is a fast way to get customers the pricing relevant to them without overwhelming them with all your pricing options. And since we had recently released our customer lifetime value calculator, we knew our visitors like this kind of interactive tool.

We decided to try a modification of MailChimp’s approach for our pricing page.

Start Testing

Our new design focused exclusively on the input field.

We built this:

pricing page 4And it completely bombed.

As we suspected, people loved the calculator. What we didn’t expect was the negative impact this would have on the Sign Up button. While 62.5% of visitors were interacting with the input field, only 1.2% of them were clicking Sign Up.

We had integrated the initial test with Crazy Egg, so we went back to the scroll maps to see what had gone so wrong. Here’s what we saw:

pricing page 5Crazy Egg shows you how people interact with your Web page.

With Crazy Egg’s scroll map, whiter areas show where users are spending most of their time, while darker areas indicate where users are scrolling by a bit faster.

As you can see, visitors were getting stuck at the top of the page and weren’t engaging with elements lower on the page (like the Sign Up button).

Our CrazyEgg dot map confirmed this. The new pricing page was doing a great job at getting users to engage with the input fields. We just needed them to click Sign Up.

Refine test hypotheses

Our next move was almost as cutting edge as the initial research phase: We moved the Sign Up button above the fold.

Design is riddled with assumptions. Getting good at optimizing a website is largely an exercise in getting good at spotting your own assumptions.

The assumption we had made, without recognizing it, is that users want all of the information before they sign up. We assumed their thought process goes something like this:

  1. How much does this cost me?
  2. What will I get for this price?
  3. Where can I sign up?

We then arranged our page according to that. Turns out our assumptions, as they so often are, were dead wrong.

Perhaps people are just sick of reading glowing lists of SaaS features. Maybe they just want to skip to the fun part and see the features in action. We don’t know exactly why, but for our buyers the data showed they wanted to see:

  1. How much does this cost me?
  2. Where can I sign up?

Here’s the second variation we tested:

pricing page 6This version crushed it. It beat the original by 310%. We were thrilled. Our sales team was thrilled as well.

A Final Check

As much as we would have liked to declare the test a smashing success and all go out for a beer to celebrate, the work wasn’t quite done yet.

If you go back and look at our original page you’ll see that, in the original version, the button also fell below the fold. We needed to make sure that our success was, in fact, coming from the input field, not the new button placement.

We created a third test. In this version we kept the three column layout and gave it the benefit of cleaner, updated branding:

pricing page 7

The results came back. Users preferred the input field over the three column layout. We had a winning design!

Lessons Learned

Now comes the standard disclaimer on all website tests—what worked for us won’t necessarily work for you. And just because this works today, doesn’t mean it will work as well tomorrow.

Optimizing a website isn’t a once and done thing, it’s a constant. But like diet and exercise, when you do it every day, every week, every month you end up with a website that can run a marathon.

We think you can learn something from our test results. More valuable, though, is the process we went through to get those results.

Get good at making hypotheses. Then put them to the test. In the end, you’ll know what works for your users and enjoy your own crushing increases in your conversion rate.

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About 

Janessa Lantz is a data-driven marketer at RJMetrics. RJMetrics helps online businesses make smarter decisions with their data. You can find Janessa on Twitter @janessalantz.

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13 COMMENTS

Arun Sivashankaran

Great post Janessa – I really liked the way you walked through the entire discovert -> hypotheseis -> testing journey. I think we’re seeing more pricing pages that go beyond endless rows of checkboxes and offer the potential customer more relevance and interactivity. It’s a great trend because pricing in general has such an enormous impact on the bottom line. Thanks!

March 18, 2014 Reply

    Janessa

    Arun,

    Thanks for the feedback on the piece. There’s certainly room for improvement on plenty of pricing pages, we’re excited to keep working on making ours better.

    Janessa

    March 19, 2014 Reply

Patrick Campbell

Want to avoid those Sad SaaS Pages (thanks for the mention)!

Love the post and think you found a great balance to avoid the “too many checkmarks” problem, allowing you to show the value and give the sign up option, but letting personas who want to explore more the opportunity to scroll. Great stuff!

March 18, 2014 Reply

Van Buskirk

Great job! Now, can you convince your customers to do smart data analysis ? Working at a Philadelphia Interactive agency and now SEMrush in Philly it’s amazing to me how companies still are not taking advantage of basic testing for their pages. Part of my theory is the rise of data to analyze has grown so fast over the last 5 years that they are not thinking through were the best “analysis” bang for the buck is. Example is funnels in Google Analytics vs. A/B split testing, vs. SEO keyword analysis, vs. presenting different page content based on user visit history (content delivered based on IP address)

March 18, 2014 Reply

    Janessa

    Hey neighbor!

    You make a good point about how there’s just so much more data to analyze, it’s hard to know where to get started. Much easier to just continue relying on assumptions and “the way it’s always been done.” :)

    March 19, 2014 Reply

Belle

Your experience reminds me of this online course I’m taking right now. Interestingly, people will always choose the shortest, easiest way, in both small and big choices. 3 choices is the minimum number for people to get confused! So the more options ->more confusing. I guess it’s about visuals>words and to the point>details.

March 19, 2014 Reply

    Janessa

    Belle,

    The human brain is a fickle thing that’s prone to distraction, easy answers, and poor judgements – DON’T TRUST IT! Use data ;) Thanks so much for your comment.

    Janessa

    March 19, 2014 Reply

chawki trabelsi

Before the test with Crazy Egg the click through rate was low. And by adding the calculator
and you’ve moved the Sign Up button above the fold your sales increased by 310%.
This case study illustrates perfectly how much of an impact the design and the crazy egg software can have to track visitors clicks. Also it’s a good idea to let the visitors choose exactly how many customers do they have when purchasing the SAAS software.

March 23, 2014 Reply

@andmitsch

I’m late to the party, but it took some time to come to this tab.

What I’ve to add, you must consider the size of your “price” numbers. A big number creates the perception of greater costs, means the sole font size of the number can activitate neural triggers for negative associations – sounds “simple minded” but few tests have shown it’s a real situation.

This is why clever supermarkets start to use small font sizes for their price tags and get rid of those big “sales price tags”.

Worth a test though ;)

July 11, 2014 Reply


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