Balancing free name pronunciation with revenue
Pricing is a touchy subject. How can you hand out free name pronunciations when your entire offering is name pronunciation?
In the journey of building a startup, there comes, time and time again, a recurring question. How do you make money?
No matter the mission, purpose, or lofty goals founders may have, finances cannot be ignored. To be a healthy company, there has to be money flowing in both directions.
For some companies, this nagging question can become an unhealthy obsession. Cash flow becomes priority number one as the promising vision of an enterprise is diluted by the promise of more and more dollars.
Others strike the balance, developing sustainable paths to revenue whilst bringing the same care and attention to building excellent experiences and lasting relationships with their customers.
Which company would you prefer?
We’re hoping you picked the latter.
Taking in new viewpoints
For some time now, NameShouts has operated with a more restrictive trial system.
Designed to allow anyone access to our wealth of information, the NameShouts free tier previously offered users ten free name pronunciation searches before requiring a conversion.
With the idea that our most dedicated users would be willing to upgrade for more names at a lower price, we assumed that ten names was more than enough for someone to get a feel for NameShouts, figure out its place in their workflow, and commit.
The issue with this viewpoint was that it came entirely from us. There was no feedback and response, only our vision of what our company could do.
It’s good to have a strong, unified vision for your company. But it’s also extremely important to listen to your customers. And our customers had a lot to say about the name limit.
Plugging in our ears
NameShouts’ secret sauce is in our audio pronunciations. We’ve got the best around. Which means we know a thing or two about listening.
But the problem was, we weren’t listening. We had imposed a limit on free name pronunciation searches, and people were letting us know they didn’t like it.
Some users were offering us their feedback. Others were a bit more passive aggressive, maneuvering around our limit with incognito mode. When it’s clear that something in your product is causing friction, it’s time to smooth things out.
Nobody wants their users to be forced to using incognito tactics to get value from a product.
So, we went back to the drawing board. We took a good, hard look at our goals for NameShouts, and brought the goals of our customers into the fold as well.
We came to the realization that unless everyone can have access to a friction-free, basic NameShouts experience, we won’t be making huge strides towards our mission – for anyone to be able to pronounce any name in any language.
What’s next? More free name pronunciation searches.
With a renewed understanding of our mission and vision, we decided to increase our limit to 50 searches per month. This would allow users to understand the full value of NameShouts before purchasing, rather than forcing them into a buy.
It gives us time to show that value to our users, by optimizing their experience, providing them with resources, and guiding them along the path to stronger first impressions.
It also leaves room for casual users to play around with our tool, and for friends of users to check things out without quickly being unable to go further.
After our experience in FounderFuel, we have dramatically expanded our vision for what NameShouts can be. By increasing the limit of names, we also take a step towards bringing value to our users through exciting new features, rather than just allowing them to use the platform more.
Ultimately, this was an exercise in trust. Trust that our customers would, if treated correctly, choose not to abuse the system. Trust that our users would be engaged in the problem of name pronunciation, and not need to be forced into a funnel. And trust in our product and vision: that we could go the distance, and really make a change.
A priority goal of any company should be to provide value to its customers. No matter how lofty your mission is, if you aren’t creating something useful and necessary, chances are you’re not setting the right priorities.
And in our current era of information overload, climate change and political chaos, there’s no room for anything but companies that take the time to listen.
We’re starting with 50 names a month. We’ll check back in soon to tell you how it’s going.