Why I Decided to Simplify our Pricing Structure
Mailbutler CEO Tobias explains why he decided to simplify the Mailbutler pricing plan in order to better serve his customers.
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.
Changing the pricing structure was a tough decision for me. It’s a strategic decision for the future of Mailbutler, which will benefit our customers in the months and years to come, but I am aware that the change will also have a negative impact on our free Essential plan users. That’s why I’d like to share the thought process behind that decision with you.
What will change?
As of this October, we will no longer offer actions.
You’re probably already aware of what monthly actions are. Per our knowledge base article,
Mailbutler’s Essential and Professional plans allow customers to try the additional email productivity features of the Professional or Business plans at no extra cost. The use of any one of these additional features is what is referred to as an ,action’.
This change will not effect the prices of the subscriptions.
Why are we discontinuing these actions?
First, a little history about our pricing.
In 2010, we started by selling separate plugins, which added only one feature to the Apple Mail client. Over the next 5 years, we kept developing more and more standalone plugins for Apple Mail until 2015, when we decided to combine all of these features in one productivity suite: Mailbutler.
Apart from paid subscriptions to Mailbutler, since 2015, we’ve offered a free plan. This no-cost, “Essential” plan came with 30 free actions per month, allowing non-paying users to sample the paid Mailbutler features. We extended these 30 actions to Professional subscribers as well, so that they would have access to the Business features.
Since 2018, on top of the 30 free actions for Essential users and Professional subscribers, we have been offering a free 14 day trial for anyone when they first register an account with Mailbutler. This provides two weeks of unlimited access to all Mailbutler features, the same as having the Business subscription for that trial period.
The intention behind both the actions and the 14 day trial was to give people the opportunity to try out any and all of Mailbutler’s features. What we’ve realized is that the 14 day trial has made these monthly actions redundant, in terms of testing out features.
On top of that, the actions have actually been a source of confusion and frustration for many of our customers. Professional subscribers, in particular, have been unclear about the distinctions between Professional and Business features. We’ve heard from customers who would get used to and start relying on Business features, only to run out of actions at the end of the month and not be able to use the features again until the 1st. Things have been unclear in many respects, and we’re receiving emails like this every day:
I’m paying for a Mailbutler subscription!
Why am I running out of actions?!
Because of this, in the beginning of 2020, we started surveying our users about our pricing structure. We quickly realized that it was too complicated, and that many people had no idea which features were included in which plan. The actions were a big part of this confusion.
This is why we’ve decided to drop the 30 free actions in October and focus on the 14 day trial, and to give as much attention and support to these new users as possible.
How will the change affect you?
Nothing will change for most Professional subscribers, but I am aware that this is a big shift for our Essential users. Thank you for your understanding, and I apologize for any limitations you might experience because of this change.
But as a bootstrapped company that is in competition with highly funded start-ups, we must distribute our available resources optimally. By removing the 30 free actions in October, we will be able to use the freed-up resources to improve our service overall. Our goals are to:
- provide even better customer support for our subscribers.
- further improve and optimize all features.
- increase our server capacities to make everything even faster.
To those of you who have been with us since the beginning, thank you so much for being loyal to our product. I hope that you’ll keep using and enjoying our features, as Mailbutler continues to grow.
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