After his studies in industrial engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Tobias co-founded Mailbutler GmbH together with Fabian in 2015. In his free time, he spends most of his time in the garden and with his son Timo.
At Mailbutler, it’s always been very important to us to be honest with our members about any developments in our company.
We've always been transparent in our decision-making, and we want to continue to be this way - to always inform you why we make the changes we choose to make.
All of our decisions are made in conjunction with our members. We work together with you to improve Mailbutler. This includes when it comes to big changes - like to our pricing structure.
What will we do?
With this in mind, we have a big announcement to make. As of February 2023, our free Essential plan will be replaced with a paid Tracking plan, at the low price of $4.49 or €3.95 a month.
This new plan will contain our core email tracking features: you will be able to see if your email has been opened, and you will be able to see if a link in your email has been clicked.
This new plan is designed for professionals who are only interested in knowing if their emails and links have been opened or not.
Of course, all of the other positives you get with Mailbutler’s Email Tracking will remain, such as tracking happening automatically without your recipient having to confirm it, which you have to do with Outlook, for example.
Most important, the Tracking plan will allow you to track emails with an invisible tracking pixel.
In other words, there won’t be a Watermark or any other kind of Maibutler branding inside your email - ensuring your messages stay professional.
Why we are changing our pricing
1. Our pricing wasn’t correct
There are three main reasons we’ve decided to make this change, and they all come back to our customers.
Firstly, our members weren’t happy about our pricing. Many felt they weren't paying the correct amount.
We found this out by checking our net promoter score (NPS) over our last few releases, which wasn’t as good as it could have been. See the image below for our score:
The main reason this score was lower than it should have been was because many of our members didn’t feel like they were getting a fair deal.
So, to learn more, we conducted pricing surveys and user interviews. The results showed us something that we have had an inkling of for a while: lots of our members were requesting a cheap, tracking-only, watermark-free plan.
Email Tracking is Mailbutler’s most beloved feature, and there’s a significant portion of members who only want to use that feature.
Those on higher plans felt they were paying too much for features they didn’t necessarily use, and Essential plan users were disgruntled by the Mailbutler Watermark which was included in their emails.
2. The much-derided Watermark
The results were clear. A Tracking plan would be well-received among our members - but we had to remove the Watermark first.
The Mailbutler Watermark was a small piece of branding that was included in your email if you used Email Tracking on our free Essential plan.
We tried to make it unobtrusive, but any company branding in your message will be noticeable.
As the large majority - almost all, in fact - of our members use Mailbutler’s features for their business email communication, this was a problem.
They didn’t want to have an unprofessional watermark on emails which are going to clients and business partners - they want to have complete control over their email’s design and content.
That was one of the reasons they got Mailbutler in the first place!
On the other hand, many felt they couldn’t justify upgrading to one of our paid plans, either because the price was too high, or because they really only wanted - as mentioned - one feature: Email Tracking.
Similar research to the surveys we did showed us all this, and only confirmed what we’d learned before: our members wanted a tracking-only plan.
So, we asked how much our members would be willing to pay for a plan like this by conducting a pricing survey. The results were clear:
65% of our Essential users were willing to pay for email tracking, provided there was no watermark
35% were not willing to pay for email tracking
55% were will to pay €4 or more per month to see if their email was opened
The average price our Essential plan users were willing to pay is €4.64
Thus we arrived at the price point of €3.95 mentioned earlier in this article, which, with the current exchange rate, is $3.95.
In an ideal world, we would be able to make our beloved Email Tracking feature free for everyone, and use it as a springboard to get people to upgrade to our more advanced plans.
This is how our Essential plan has worked up until now - you get a taste of some of Mailbutler’s great features for free, until you’re ready to upgrade to a paid plan and keep us in business.
Unfortunately, this is no longer viable for us. We're a business that provides a service, and it’s the banal truth that we have to take payment for that service.
The removal of the Mailbutler Watermark means there is no more marketing for us when people are on our Essential plan, meaning there’s no chance our product will be spread further, gaining us more business.
And spreading the word about our product is fundamental for us, because there is only one way we earn money - through our paid subscriptions.
We never sell any of your data like some of the big companies do, we don’t have ads, we don’t have affiliate links - we make money by being the best, so people have to come back to us. All of this unfortunately means that having a free plan is simply no longer feasible.
3. The release of macOS Ventura
As the landscape of email marketing evolves, so too must Mailbutler evolve with it. We have to constantly change and adapt in order to continue to provide you, our customers, with the best possible product we can.
This means, most importantly, listening to our members and doing what they want us to do - but it also means knowing what the competition is up to.
All three of the main email clients - Gmail, Apple Mail, and Outlook - are now offering a basic email scheduling feature.
It isn’t as good as our Smart Send Later feature - we offer Cloud Delivery, meaning your emails still get sent even if your computer is off, which none of these clients provides, along with plenty of other advanced email scheduling features on our higher plans.
Nonetheless, the introduction of email scheduling on the three main clients means our basic Send Later feature isn’t creating value for our Essential users any longer.
And it isn’t just Send Later. As part of the October 2022 macOS Ventura update, Apple Mail now provides basic functionality for recalling emails - the same as our Undo Send feature.
Again, including it on a free plan doesn’t offer much in the way of value to our Essential customers, meaning using them as a marketing channel to introduce them to our more advanced paid plans - so we, as a business, can continue to provide you with the features you want - is much more difficult.
Undo Send, too, was always a free Mailbutler feature. It is still better than the functionality the main email clients use: we offer a customizable time delay that you can set as long as you want and a pop-up with an overview of the email which is waiting to be delivered.
Nonetheless, as the other clients have now introduced this feature, it doesn’t make sense to include it on a free Mailbutler plan.
Because our Undo Send is still a little better than the native clients' version, we will begin to offer it as a free, standalone plugin.
This means it won’t really be part of the Mailbutler universe any more, but you will still be able to have it in your inbox if you can’t do without our customizable time presets or the email overview.
With all that being said, it is only our Essential plan which has become redundant. Our paid plans still offer advanced, smart email inbox features which vastly improve on Ventura, Gmail, and Outlook.
These clients lag behind when it comes to improving their customers' business email communication - which is where we come in, and indeed, why our new Tracking plan makes so much sense.
What we hope to achieve with this new pricing structure is that our pricing works better for everybody and is better organized to the needs of our customers.
You can never please everybody, but remember: every change we make is to try and make our members' - that is, your! - experience better.
At its core, Mailbutler was never a basic app, providing basic features, for a basic inbox. We wanted to be smarter than that - our features are meant to make your inbox more intelligent, saving you time and improving the way you communicate with your clients and customers.
To reflect this goal, to provide cohesion and clarity to our product, our pricing structure as a whole needs to be improved. This means that there will be more changes to our pricing in the future.
We are still working on these, but rest assured we will always keep you informed of any upcoming changes to our product or our pricing.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we want to know what you think, and we want to make the changes that you want. So please, head over to our feedback portal to suggest features and improvements to be made to Mailbutler.
We take every suggestion into consideration and the portal allows other members to vote up those they want to see too. The cream always rises to the top!