29 min read

Fund Stuff Episode 5 - Pricing with Nick Duncan

I reached out to Nick Duncan who had been running some pricing experiments on Twitter for his new site content thought. And decided to bring him on to chat through pricing. We both mutually decided that pricing is tough and that's all there is to it.
Fund Stuff Episode 5 - Pricing with Nick Duncan
Fund stuff. Episode five, I reached out to Nick Duncan who has been running some pricing experiments on Twitter for his new site content thought. And decided to bring him on to chat through pricing. We both mutually decided that pricing is a bitch and that's all there is to it. But please enjoy my conversation with Nick Duncan, where we chat through some of his pricing experiments

[00:00:00] Andrew Pierno: All right. Fund stuff. Episode five, I reached out to Nick Duncan who has been running some pricing experiments on Twitter for his new site content thought. And decided to bring him on to chat through pricing. We both mutually decided that pricing is a bitch and that's all there is to it. But please enjoy my conversation with Nick Duncan, where we chat through some of his pricing experiments.

[00:00:25] Nick Duncan: I was actually just reading your post here on, um, your, the first company that you sold at XO XO.

It's really cool story. I read the whole post. Um, it's a exciting, I understand, understand the struggles of needing a developer meeting a growth person. Getting a full-time person to, to drive the things. Right. I mean, we try to do all of that ourselves and it's an absolute, all

[00:00:50] Andrew Pierno: like it is. So I worked at a venture studio for awhile and, um, I learned a lot of ways not to, not to do it, not to build a venture studio.

And that was of course, you know, as the name implies venture, right? And this micro, private equity stuff is not venture. I think the business models are quite different. I think it's a fundamentally different thing to say. I'm buying a business with some cashflow, a couple thousand a month, whatever. Um, versus I'm starting from zero.

I just think the unit economics of that are just very, um, you know, hopefully fully it's slightly more cash efficient, et cetera, et cetera. There's some kind of benefit. Um, you know, downsides are, we're not creating new markets, right. That's, that's kind of what venture is for. Right. Get a a hundred million dollars to go build a market.

Um, but. It has a lot of the same elements like operations, operations for a company that's doing two or three or four or five or even 10,000 a month, honestly. Like I can't hire anybody for that. You know what I mean? 10,000 a month. Wow. Big milestone for any entrepreneur to bring a company to $10,000 in MRR fucking a mate, but it's not.

It's actually nothing. I literally can hire one developer . Like, I mean, not one, maybe two, but like not, you know, he can't run payroll for us employees. Guess what? 10 K

[00:02:14] Nick Duncan: in MRR. So not at all as I was actually looking at the I'm in South Africa. Right. So. Yeah. I was actually having a look because I was trying to figure out, you know, what sort of cash do I need it for when I grow content.

But if I'm looking for venture capital, you know, they're going to start asking me, what am I going to? Who am I going to iron? How much is it all going to cost? And I started looking at the American center is, and I'd say to myself, wow, are we going to need a lot of money if we're going to hire an American people?

But you know, we, we obviously, as south Africans, you should look at south Africans, Andrew. Um, you can get decent, decent senior developers. Yeah. For probably. Two and a half thousand dollars a month, maybe $3,000 a month. And there's a senior guys that really know what they're talking about. So they should, I know, I know a lot of the, the WordPress plugin ecosystem, those companies, they actually end up hiring south African developers and, uh, cause it's a lot cheaper and they, they a lot more reliable than the Indian developers.

I've got to tell you that we've used, we've used freelancer. Uh, we've used some Indian chips, some of them really good. But, uh, yeah, it's difficult. It really is difficult.

[00:03:20] Andrew Pierno: It's difficult. Yeah. You've uh, you're the second person that's mentioned south African developers as a potential place to look for talent and, uh, yeah.

Yeah, I'm just, we're we're in the process at the moment of form forming the legal vehicles to start like actually bringing in outside investors. We've been just doing everything with our own cash at the moment. Um, Yeah. And so, uh, that has obvious limitations, namely, that I'm not like rich, so, and not, you know, none of us are so we can only buy so much.

So the next step is bringing outside investors. But the, I mean, the tricky part for me now is just looking at the math. If you do the math on what it looks like raising, like let's say two and a half million dollar fund, not for an individual company, right. Where they're expecting you to spend that for fund.

There's not that much money. Right? Like we have to go buy companies with that. And then like, where does that cash flow go? Well, it goes a hundred percent back to the investors and tell their payback. And then we get our little piece of the pie. But it's just nothing like, I can't live off of it. None of us can live off that, which is kind of crazy to think about like two and a half million dollar fund.

You know, you put that on Twitter. Like people are gonna love that, you know, like great job. Wow. Wow. Wow. And then you you're sitting in it and you're like, I literally can't put food on the table with this money. This

[00:04:35] Nick Duncan: is crazy. That's scary. It's actually quite scary and all, you know, um, I know next to nothing about the venture space, but.

I've been looking at it from a founder's perspective, um, over the last few months. And I can say it's, it looks very complex and very difficult, um, for you specifically. I mean, after reading your posts, You know, I can, I can, I can completely relate to what you went through actually, because what would we like to think of ourselves as like this little mini incubator, young South Africa, you know, we've been going for 10 years and, um, we've made quite a lot of products and a lot of them have absolutely failed.

You know, we've, we've probably made 25 products, one. Has done really well and still is doing really well. And that's the map like in that we have, we made another live chat WordPress plugin, which did really well and then got acquired, um, which kind of gave us then a nice little cash injection to keep us running and keep us going.

But that money goes so quickly, you know, when you start building products and you think that that product is going to really work and then you start marketing it and you know, there's distribution happening. And before you know it, you're spending thousands of dollars on it. And Facebook traffic that does absolutely nothing.

I don't understand Facebook traffic. Honestly. I suck. They come in at says they spend one second on the side. Y you know, and, and hundreds of them. So anyway, uh, yeah, I know the pain. I feel the pain, like lucky first, um, you know, we've got quite a good team. There's seven of us at the moment. It's myself. Um, my wife is like a silent partner.

She's butter money helped start the company about 10 years ago. And, uh, I've got a CTO he's really gifted developer as well. We've got two other developers. We've got a content marketer. We've got another marketer and we've got an intern as well. So it's yeah. We've got a nice little team and we quite focused at this point and we focused on content, but we still pushing the map plug in every now and again.

But our sole focus is really just on content, but because we feel like we've hit something here, it hasn't really taken off just yet. You know, the churn is still really high. It's still trying to figure that out. We're pretty new to the, to the cess industry. You know, we're pretty new to MRR to put it that way.

Yeah. Our plugins all. Payments, you know, maps, maps does exceptionally well. The map plugin actually does exceptionally well, even for a once-off payment model and that keeps us going. But yeah, it's this, you know, building MRR, watching your churn, looking at your cost per acquisition, that's just the Chin's killing me.

And I think we finally found positioning, but the churn is now where the real pain kicks in. And I think that from what I've looked at over the last few years, that's where the real stress. If you can either get distribution, right. Churn comes and kicks you in the nuts, or, you know, you struggled to get distribution right.

Then you don't even worry about the Chen because you're not even getting it.

[00:07:45] Andrew Pierno: That's right. That's, that's the quote, that's the quote of the conversation right there. We can, we can just close up now. Uh, yeah. I, I think that, you know, uh, the reason I brought you on us, I think that it would be cool to walk through your prices.

Experiments that you've run. Uh, so for context for us, we have two. Now that we sold one, we have two developer tools left, and most of the time when we're looking at these little products, we immediately see. Obvious knobs to pull, right? Their landing page was obviously written by somebody who does not speak English as a first language.

Okay. That does not help build customer trust. Very easy to fix. I, you go to their pricing page. These are the weirdest prices I've ever seen in my life. Also they're way too cheap. Uh, so, right. So like let's, let's like double, triple prices and make them make this pricing page just look normal for, I don't know what at least US-based consumers are used to.

Um, so we've been pulling very obvious levers. Adjusting pricing and, and doing pricing experiments, kind of like what we were talking about on Twitter. It's still for me, a monumental pain in the ass. It is still an expensive labor written process, even with all of Stripe's magic to literally go in and do AB tests on which pricing model.

Does better, especially when you get out of just like, okay, you pay for the thing and you get access to it. And it's Percy never owns 9 99. Right. When you get into like for a screenshot, for example, we have overages. So if somebody goes over their pricing package, then we build them on like a per screenshot basis, a nominal amount.

Um, but that changes based on different tiers. Do we make more money doing that? Or do we make more money? Just increasing the. Doing a hard cap, right. And forcing people to upgrade. I don't fucking know it's going to take us forever to figure that out. Like I'll, we'll probably sell the company before we figure that out.

And that's like one experiment we want to run. So really we're kind of limited to like changing the numbers of, of, of pricing and whatever kind of pricing structure. Otherwise it's just going to consume our tiny little development budget for, uh, Yeah, for like endlessly just to get it right. And by the way, it might be the case that like, actually the first thing was fine.

That's not actually where the problem is the problems on the other end. Like, I dunno, churn for example, or it's seasonal or, you know, the worst case scenario where actually the type of product that you have, people use it when they need to, and then actually like go away for six months and they run, I don't know for content.

Maybe somebody does a lot of campaigns in the summer for whatever reason, because they're an agency that focuses on something that has these in it. And they use you guys every summer. And then every, at the end of every summer, they fuck off for the rest of the year and you don't see them till next summer.

And you're like, wow, what, how weird is this business? Right. But I think, you know, people think SAS, people think MRR and they think, oh, like this nice, beautiful even ever increasing cashflow coming in and it's lumpy as shit, especially right. When we are buying or, or selling the companies. And we look at like P and L statements like profit and loss.

Yeah. It's, it's so difficult to get people to who are not familiar with this or who think they are, but are actually not to understand. Yeah. Oh, our MRR quote, unquote, if you log into Stripe was like seven grand that month because we sold a bunch of annual packages, but like, you know what I mean? Or whatever the case may be, it's just like lumpy and not as, as some nice,

[00:11:09] Nick Duncan: it's a mess.

It's an absolute mess. You know, I'm looking at it now, you know, I use ChartMogul and then I use Stripe and, you know, I'm, um, I'm lazy with Edmunds. So I still haven't tried to figure out why those numbers are so wildly different. You know, you look at, you look at Stripe and it's a little bit more depressing when you look at ChartMogul looks a lot better for some reason.

I don't know. But so you look at the one that

[00:11:32] Andrew Pierno: looks good. Yeah, totally. But you bring up a great point is like actually calculating MRR turns out to be a non-trivial task. And you can see that because Stripe, and ChartMogul tell you two different numbers and which one's right. And the answer probably is they're both

[00:11:46] Nick Duncan: wrong.

Yeah. I believe that as well, because I mean, if I look at straps, I've figured out strap, strap likes to put the stuff in. That is cap that's that's past you, you know, we've tried to charge the golf four times. It stalled past you it's been a month pretty much, but Hey, we're still reporting on that revenue, but just haven't seen a dollar out of that guy, you know?

So, you know, that was, that was one of the biggest issues, you know, when I was looking at our MRR and it's just, it's so deflating because you're like, you see it going up, but you know, it's not actually going up. And, you know, again, just to go back to what you were saying about. How much time it's going to take to run these experiments specifically with development time.

And you know, this is one of our biggest things. Cause again, we we've come from, we've had to learn a lot over the last couple of years, um, with SAS because you know, we come from really WordPress. They used to paying once. At the very most they used to paying once a year, but then what they would normally do is pay the $39 and then cancel so that they don't pay it again in a year.

And then when they want to update the product and then I'll pay it again. So that's the standard model for WordPress is as terrible as it sounds. That's what it is, but that's what works. And again, a transac 40% of the internet at this point in a sea of such a huge, and if you have the monopoly there, you're pretty much sorted for.

For a good few more years. So we've come from that, that sort of background. And, um, that's a really easy background to come from. You don't have to worry about churn. You don't have to worry about MRR. You don't have to worry about anything. You just know that on average, on any given month, you're getting X, you know, and hopefully it's growing.

Um, so when it came into, into sort of, uh, software as a service, and we started looking at this monthly recurring, um, figures and amounts and all that, and it was just. It was actually so difficult to get into, because again, we started so low, you know, we'd be like, okay, well let's just charge $9 a month.

We'll try and break into the market because some books, that's a good idea because if you'd go low, meanwhile, that marketing advice is like from the sixties and seventies, you know, you go in cheap and then you'll get a piece of the market that doesn't work like that. It really doesn't. Like you mentioned it earlier, you know, up the process to what the market is used to and see what happens, you know, low, low price.

Probably low quality at the end of the day. And you know, we've, we've had to wrestle with that, but in terms of trying to run all these experiments that we've been running and content button, we've done quite a few over the last few months. I mean, we've only been around for six months and I think we've done about five experiments already.

And, uh, Where were lucky enough again, because we've done so many startups in the past, we've kind of got reusable pieces of code that we can just sort of put in. And the CTO Dylan is an amazing developer. So what he does. And, and this, this processing thing is, uh, it's like a point of contention between me and him, because whenever I mentioned pricing to him, he knows he's going to be busy for three days, flat out on changing code and making things fit and legacy and grandfathering and all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

So I think he has a little mini meltdown every time I say, Hey, we're going to test something, which is quite funny, but he knows that now, because of that, that's happened in the past. He's actually built quite a road. Stripe module in, in PHP. So when I change something he's, he doesn't have to do so much anymore.

He can just sort of flip flick a couple of switches and move some things in the database and change a few things here and there. And then it's, that's sort of, okay. So, you know, we we've, we've got that done. That's why we were able to do a few more experiments a little bit quicker than, than most, but still, it's still challenging to try to figure that.

[00:15:36] Andrew Pierno: I still feel like there is a huge opportunity. And I have seen a few companies to try and do this, but they're, they're like a layer on top of Stripe that allows you to do these kinds of things a little bit easier. Uh, I've never used one, but man, what a useful product for somebody that's really, really, really trying to dial in price.

Which by the way, is every startup under like, you know, a hundred thousand in MRR is really trying to just adjust and dial in, like, you know, is it this feature? And that feature is that what really gets people to pay? Is it, you know, just pure usage? Is it seat based actually seat based doesn't work because this industry is not used to doing know.

All that stuff just feels endless, but I'm surprised at how many experiments you guys have been able to run. And it makes perfect sense. Now that you guys would have a stuff in PHP. Cause that's all, all the WordPress stuff and then be a set of reusable modules. And it just kind of goes back to what I was I'm thinking through currently.

That has to be a muscle that we as like a group building. I mean, whether we're building it or buying it, we still are stuck with the operations and engineering of running several different product lines. I don't know how we get much alpha if we don't have shit like that on tap for 101 different use cases, right.

Onboarding all that stuff, uh, pricing. What else could be. I mean, well, there's like web flow and stuff for landing pages. Landing pages might be another contender, right. A set of templates that we already know converts really well. And actually. You know, we could run some pretty interesting experiments between company a and company B and say like, why is, why is conversion rates like 10 times higher on this company versus that company, all that kind of stuff I feel like is our superpower, but boy am I, I, I I'm nervous about repeating the mistakes of the venture studio because I mean, we didn't figure it out.

We got no code reuse between the company and each company had their own kind of team and they were off doing their own thing. Right. And even if you start with the same template, Uh, or like based application, give it like two, three months and like a product manager and those two things there is like, you know, basically on the other side of the planet from each other, from that point forward,

[00:17:46] Nick Duncan: Mean, Andrew, you know, I think you're spot on there because I mean, if you, if you're working with companies that are built by different developers, you never gonna have that reusable code base either.

[00:17:55] Andrew Pierno: Yes. So the three that we bought were all in different stacks, different languages, one was Rails one was Python and one was PHP and node JS.

Um, we rewrote the PHP and node JS just to be in no JS sold the rails one. Now we just have Python and node JS, which is manageable. Um, I think that we're going to have to start by making that a buying criteria. Just saying, like, what's this tech stack, actually, we don't, we can't buy this right now because I'm going to have to staff devs to be able to go execute on that.

And so for the foreseeable future, we might be able to do like node and Python, maybe two, and like, that's it until we get big enough where, you know, either the company can afford its own dev team, um, or, or, or we were able to staff those people at the kind of fund level, but. Yeah. I mean, it, it gets, I mean, you know, this managing multiple projects at the same time, it's just, yeah.

You ended up at the venture studio. We ended up collapsing basically until the most profitable company, not the most profitable, but it was in venture land. So it was the most promising on paper. Right. Um, ended up not being true. Right. There was a, it was actually a different one that, that ended up working and still working today.

But, um, I'm trying to avoid that because when we buy the things it's, it's. It's not, it's not palatable for any of them to go to zero. Really. That's kind of the promise of what we're doing here is that, you know, because we're not guessing we shouldn't be able to, we shouldn't crash companies. Right? Like how did we fuck this up?

You know, some, some poor kid brought it to like a couple of grand a month and like, we took it over and just crashed it. Like, how the hell do we do that?

[00:19:36] Nick Duncan: I've done that before. Have you? Yeah, I did that. We actually, we were. We, it was, it was a good few years ago, you know, I thought I found this, this company.

It was a, it was a tool that allowed you, it was a developer tool. So it allowed you to push your code changes to FTP, and it would manage all of that for you, you know, nevermind gets up coming out to them like six months later. But, uh, we, we, we had that and we bought it and we just didn't understand the text.

And it was completely beyond any of us. Yeah. And the, the guy that we bought it from, I mean, we bought it for next to nothing. The guy that we bought it from was just like, I'm done guys, cheers. I'm out. And, and we just sat there and we're like, what are we going to do with this thing? And it just falling to pieces and it was breaking and you know, I'm trying to fix it, you know, I'm, I'm a developer myself, but I hate it.

But the tech stack, it was absolutely. Terrible. It was just bolt, like with sticks and glue and, and anyways, it just fell to pieces and I just slipped, you know, I'll just shut it down. Just kill it. Please deal with this focus on stuff. That's making money. So we literally took it to zero, which was terrible, but yeah, that's just a school school, school fees, I suppose, you know?

[00:20:50] Andrew Pierno: Yeah, that, that makes sense to me, actually, one of our, one of our partners names, Henry, he, um, he bought a content site. Um, he's in, he's in like real estate. So he doesn't know at the time didn't know like, fuck all about the like internet businesses at all. So we bought a content site that was doing whatever a month.

Right. Although affiliate bullshit. I, you know, I'm prejudice because I don't know anything about that world. And like, it feels like very kind of Hocus Pocus. Um, but anyways, he bought one of these things and yeah, Google like pushed an update and they went to fucking zero, like the next day. So for like three months, he was like, I'm a genius, man.

I just bought this thing. Like, it's just content people just read it, I guess. And like click on stuff. It pays me money and then boom, Google update deceased overnight.

[00:21:35] Nick Duncan: Uh, they got, probably saw it coming. It was probably the Panda up that a something from Google and it's like quickly.

[00:21:41] Andrew Pierno: Yeah. I'm sure. I'm sure.

Sold it to

[00:21:43] Nick Duncan: some of them. That's funny. Yeah.

[00:21:50] Andrew Pierno: So back onto the pricing stuff on the, on Twitter, we had gone through a few of the scenarios and I'd love to just hear what some of the, if you have any of this handy, you can, you can even show a screen if you want. Um, I'd love to just walk through like a couple of these and just hear what you tried, what, what the outcome was and, um, what you've settled on currently.

[00:22:13] Nick Duncan: Right. So the first one we, we actually launched with, you know, we actually launched it as a, as a WordPress plugin and because that's our strength. So we launched it as a WordPress plugin, but we quickly decided now we need a web app as well, because majority of people, you know, we don't just want to talk at the 40%.

We want to talk about the 60% of the internet as well. So anyways, so we, we bought the way back and we bolted out with a free trial. And then after the free trial, your account is like, And you can't do anything. And then you need to enter your, you need to buy the premium version of $29. And that seemed to do okay.

Um, we had no real issues there. I just didn't know if that was the best option. So I thought let's just try experimenting with more things. So then we, we changed the pricing a little bit and, um, we went up and we went down and we found that 29 is probably the better option because we can't really charge at that time.

We didn't have any leg to stand on with charging more than say our competitors or copy AI or anyone like that, because we didn't have as much access to open AI that they did at that time. So we actually had an inferior product. Um, so we couldn't charge more, which we decided to charge around the same.

Um, so that was okay. And we then decided, okay, let's start looking at a freemium. With paid version where no credit card is required. Okay. So we went away from the free trial and we now decided let's do a free, um, a free plan, which is a lot limited. Okay. Uh, which I actually think of most people a lot more now that I'm looking at at everything, um, we have a free plan, but then they're are going to have to.

Give us well, at that point, there was no credit card. So you just have a free plan and then you can sign up whenever. Okay. Which the numbers weren't that great. I can't really remember what the numbers were, but, uh, they were worse off than the, the free trial and then asked for the, the, you know, the payments.

So the free plan with no credit card didn't really work, but it wasn't bad either. Then we decided I now at night, Let's everyone else's is doing the incest. So let's try this freemium, but they have to give us their credit card details upfront. Okay. And that really didn't work because everybody, everybody decided, and I don't know where they get these credit card details from, but it's almost like 80% of them put in fake information.

More, some, um, throw away card or some temporary card. I don't know where these things come from. I'm still trying to figure it out, but it was really, really upsetting me because we would see this massive amount of, of sales. In stride, right. And you know, seven days. And then are we going to charge your card?

So we put them on the pro plan. They have access to everything. They run up our costs like crazy, you know, open AI is not cheap. I've gotta, I gotta say that. So we're spending all this money and we're expecting all of this money to come back and then. Come the seven days, I just see it's like failed, failed, failed, failed, canceled, failed, failed.

And I'm sitting and I'm thinking, okay, maybe, maybe let's just wait for payday for these people because, because it's the middle of the month, you know? So we wait another week and we wait another week and it's a still failing like three, four times. So I just go into Stripe and I just canceled all of these.

I just cancel, cancel, cancel. And that really, really upset me. Cause I'm thinking now why doesn't stop. Doesn't even do the validation. At that point because there's no payment that's taken place. So it's literally like a holding, you know, I'm gonna, I'm going to just hold on to this card information. And then when I need to make that payment, that's not like the payments.

So although the numbers looked absolutely amazing in the beginning for that, and we were going to be flying high, it was probably the worst plan for us. Absolutely the worst hands down. And I'm seeing a lot of people actually dealing with this at the moment. As well, because it just feels like it's the, it's the right way to go, because what you want to do is you actually want to verify the people as they come and they sign up.

So we can do that two ways. We can verify your email. You've got to go click on a link, but we thought if we just asked for their credit card information, that's verification enough. But again, strop doesn't actually validate that. So it means absolutely one slight

[00:26:44] Andrew Pierno: variation on that, that I've seen work. Um, I think who does that?

Not trans.vc, but the hustle, Sam pars thing, the trend trends.co, they will do, uh, like it's $7 for the first seven days or 14 days or something like that. But you have to charge the card at the beginning and then, um, and then, then like it upgrades, but otherwise Stripe. Yeah, they won't, they won't do it cause we have this problem too.

Yeah. It's remarkable how many payment failures there are like sufficient funds, wrong number. I'm like, it's really, really disappointing that Stripe doesn't do a better job of just out of the box, you know, do a pre-auth check and just refund it and like, you know, no skin off anyone's back. It's like you just tell users that that's what's going to happen and it'll get refunded.

And if that check fails, then. They're trying to fucking scam you. You know what I mean? Because we have a bunch of people for screenshot has like probably the weirdest customer base I've ever seen. It's like the most international, like every single support message, it feels like comes in a different language.

It's like this one's in fucking Swahili and like, we're just Google translating it. And like this one's in Portuguese, you know what I mean? It's just endless. And you're just like, and then all these credit card statements come in and like, man, even just trying to collect on some of these suspects.

Basically impossible. Right? It's almost impossible to collect on a lot of these guys that are delinquent to the point where I thought for a little bit, it would be kind of fun to set up like a shit list. Like just get people together that are, um, like, I don't know, I'll put a list together of all the people that have fucked over our little products.

I'm going to put them on an API that you can then call and say like, is this person on a ship? And if they are then, like, they can't sign up for your app. Sorry. It looks like you've been delinquent on other, you know, other providers like, you know,

[00:28:37] Nick Duncan: we're actually doing, we're actually doing manual, um, payments with, with those people.

So I, I was getting so fed up at some point because all of these things were just failing and, you know, like one out of 20 would actually make it through. Those were the numbers. It was like one out of 20 was actually a real. I want to pay customer, you know, and I'm sitting and, uh, I eventually, I ran through all the numbers, so I see all the subscriptions on stripes I just got in.

And there's a way that you can manage it, charge that card and you can hold the cash. Yes. So I go in and I'd, I'd put like a $5 charge and then I quickly cancel it if it went through, you know, and hope that nothing happened. But, uh, I thought, no, this is not the way of the future. I'm not going to do this all the time.

So I actually ended up doing that $7 for seven. And, uh, that's what to be currently on at the moment. And it actually works really well still don't know if it works better than the free trial and then cancel and then ask for payments. I still don't know. Um, uh, I think our conversion rates and our sign-up rates are still pretty crap, to be honest, we still trying to figure out up positioning and all that, but yeah, definitely the pay $7 and then you get access to the probe.

And then when that runs out, we're going to automatically charge you the 29. Anyway, that seems to be doing okay, because then, you know, that person has money and those hardly ever fail. That's probably one in 20. Now that fail actually. So it's much, much.

[00:30:04] Andrew Pierno: Yeah. The difficult part about all this too, is that during the experiment one and experiment five, the product has evolved quite drastically.

And so is, is, is experiment. One's data still valid to compare against experiment five. And the answer is like, fuck, no, like no way, like this is not a real experiment, you know? But like that dude, that's the best we got. That's all we can do

[00:30:26] Nick Duncan: exactly. Right. What can we do? You know, if I look at where we were, when we're doing that free trial.

Um, uh, product was, was, was wasn't that great at all? You know, and over and above the suite doing Epsom, I don't know if you know about apps. But we're doing AppSumo. We did one AppSumo launch, but I really didn't want to, but I thought let's just try, let's use that as a way to help with word of mouth. And then while we're there, I'll just use them to send product surveys and try to get some feedback.

My word, Epps, Timo, um, It just blew up. It really just blew up. You know, we, we were on flooding five days and I said to him, I said, just shut it down. Please just shut it down because our servers were blowing up. You know, we're making a lot of money, but I mean, it's one source, you know, it's stuff that we used to, but this is, uh, this costs a lot, this product specifically on a monthly basis.

And I just, I said to the attitude, my guys, as to please just stop. Let's just figure this out, let me figure this out. And, uh, then, then they contacted me and they said, wow, this is, this is this that's so well, let's do a select loan. So I said, okay, what's involved with that. So we landed up doing the select launch and, uh, that was planned ahead.

And that was just me for a month. I was just answering support tickets, live chats, nothing happened in that month. So again, and you know what happened between the free trial and then the, you know, the different price points and then the freemium, and then there was AppSumo and then there was everything else.

It's been an absolute roller coaster. Um, And then they brought us back at AppSumo for last call. You know, this is the last call, the guys that did so well, we landed up back on AppSumo for like four days. And again, it's four days of hour of just answering tickets and doing maintenance and also making sure the service that doesn't vibrate off the shelf.

So it's just, it's been, it's been a bit of a whirlwind, so we're never doing a lifetime deal again. Uh, it's great for a quick cash injection. It really is great, but it just keeps you sober. Um,

[00:32:27] Andrew Pierno: but I always advise people to on the lifetime deals, when, when, um, for us as buyers effectively, we get zero cash from them.

Uh, but we're left with the burden of support and some of these people, as I'm sure you well know, are like support nightmares, and there's just no mechanism for us to, uh, kick them off. Other than to just say, like, sorry, you're out. I know you signed something with the other guys, but like, you know, you can, you know, I dunno probably we'll probably get sued at some point for that, but yeah, it's, it's tough.

Cause we look at those, it's just, it's just a straight liability for us.

[00:33:05] Nick Duncan: So that's a really tough one. You know, I, I, I appreciate the, the lifetime deal community. I mean, they've really helped us, you know, and since that, you know, I, I, I went on that with a clear purpose of helping word math, uh, marketing, which actually, I don't think helped in the long run, but what I was able to get out of the lifetime deal, people was, uh, Reviews, product surveys, trying to figure out who they are.

Not that they're our ideal customer, but just trying to figure out what they're using the product for, because some way in that, that gigantic amount of people, there's, there's a few that are our ideal couple. That we can then relate to the actual monthly paying customers, but they just prefer lifetime deals.

So yeah, it's a bit of a mixed mash of, of people and expectations. And it is a realize now, you know, retrospectively that it's probably, wasn't the best thing to do in terms of if we ever wanted to get bought out or acquired in the future. You know, I'd have to think about what would happen to those people.

But again, what I found with these, with these, uh, lifetime deal people is they just, a lot of them buy it as like an investment and they sell it when the company gets big. You know, when the company actually starts becoming something, they actually, they bought it for four $49 or whatever. And then they sell it for like a thousand dollars because now content bots charging $300 a month or whatever the case.

Interesting.

[00:34:31] Andrew Pierno: That should be, that should be in your terms and conditions that it's non-transferable and stuff, but it's hard.

[00:34:39] Nick Duncan: Yeah,

[00:34:41] Andrew Pierno: well, Nick we're we're well over our time together, but I think that this was a really fun chat. I mean, pricing it's a, it's a bitch. I don't know

[00:34:49] Nick Duncan: what else to say. Is it really a, sorry, I don't have any more numbers for you, but yeah, I'll probably have a lot more numbers in the, in the next few months we were digging deep into analyzing everything and looking at everything and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

But we're.

[00:35:05] Andrew Pierno: Great. Uh, what are the tools that you use to, to measure like conversions? I know you said ChartMogul obviously stripes dashboard, but what else do you have in the mix?

[00:35:13] Nick Duncan: So we've got analytics and then we've also built a little in-house, um, it's very simple reporting. So whenever you land on our site, we, we try to figure out where you came from, what campaign you came from, because it's really, it's actually really difficult in analytics.

To track someone that came through and then, uh, landed on the page and then signed up and then four months later became a paying customer. You know, it's really difficult to do that in analytics. So that's why we tried to do that in house. So we'll be able to say this campaign. Produce that result or this tweet produce that result or whatever the case is, but yeah, we're looking at, um, we just pretty much use analytics at this point.

ChartMogul is just really for MRR. And, uh, we also looking at the attribution models in, in analytics as well, which I think is still very basic there in any to add to that because. There's not much thought to in there, we just know that some people take four touch points and some people take two touch points and a lot of people take one touch point.

And now we're trying to figure out the best avenue for our marketing, but yes, mainly just analytics. Hmm. Interesting.

[00:36:22] Andrew Pierno: Well, cool, Nick. Great to meet you. Cool.

I'll see you back on Twitter.

[00:36:30] Nick Duncan: Thanks Andrew. Bye.

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