Lessons We Have Learned From Our $29 Oempro 1-User License Discount

On October 28th 2011, we started a big discount on our 1-user Oempro license. The regular Oempro price of this license type was $299 and we reduced it to $29. Yes, we made a big discount. It was a big risk for our sales revenue. Even though 1-user license sales have a small impact on our Oempro revenue stream, it was still a big risk.

When making this decision, we were inspired from Atlassian’s JIRA pricing model where they have $10 10-user license. To those who don’t know JIRA, it’s a well-known enterprise level issue tracking software. We decided to give it a try and started the big discount on 28th October. The discount period ended at the end of November 2011, which means it last for around ~34 days.

In this period, we sold 25x more Oempro 1-user licences. In just 34 days, we gained new customers whom were being gained in 10 months. It was a big success from customer-base and sales quantity side. However, was it really a success?

This was the first time we were reducing our enterprise level email marketing software to a low price level. There were some risks such as;

  • Damaging Oempro’s brand. Selling a software with a low price may cause to position it on a “Personal” category instead of a “Professional” or an “Enterprise”.
  • Acquiring customers who don’t believe in our product. When you keep the entrance barrier low, anyone can purchase easily which means your product will loose its value on customer’s side.
  • Loosing the customer feedback. When you purchase a product, which is cheap, you tend to provide feedback to developers less likely. You see it as a time loss.
  • Loosing the customer loyalty. They purchase it almost free. So, they can easily switch to an alternative solution, because their loss will be nothing. Just $29.

These were the main risks involved in our big discount period. However, we wanted to give it a try, because it was working well for Atlassian and many other successful software companies.

In the beginning everything was great. We were making lots of 1-user Oempro sales and our charts hit the ceiling. We were selling tens of 1-user Oempro licenses every day. We were getting tens of new customers every day. We were quite happy and believed that this pricing model was working.

However, a few weeks have passed and we were measuring our success (or failure), we noticed something weird. Even though our customer base was increasing dramatically, the numbers of provided feedbacks were decreasing. The numbers of support requests were decreasing. We decided to wait a week more to see the big picture. On the third week of November, we started to analyze every single parameter and noticed a few things;

  • Our 1-user Oempro sales volume has increased dramatically. We sold almost 25x more 1-user licenses compared to previous periods.
  • Other Oempro license sales decreased a lot. 1-user license sale was great, but our high profit licenses such as 10-user and unlimited-user licenses were going down. Everyone was purchasing our 1-user license, which was $29, but they were not purchasing $699 or $1979 licenses.
  • Numbers of feedback shared with us through our community forums and support desk didn’t increase just like our customer base and sales volume. This was pointing to a warning, because softwares cannot live without feedback provided by users.
  • Our revenue didn’t increase a lot. Even though the number of units sold increased, our revenue had no valuable change.
  • Support requests didn’t increase. This seems to be good in the beginning (considering customer maintenance costs), however support means questions and questions means feedback for the future of the software. We were loosing this advantage.

So, this “easy entrance barrier” pricing model didn’t work for our software and we decided to stop the big discount at the end of November.

1-User Oempro license is now $299 again just like before the discount. We also have higher licenses with the following prices:

  • 5-User Oempro License – $499
  • 10-User Oempro License – $699
  • 20-User Oempro License – $1099
  • Unlimited User Oempro License – $1979

We are still not happy with our pricing. Oempro is one of the best and most powerful email-marketing software designed for ESPs mainly. With Oempro, anyone can build a new ESP business. And it’s the only ESP software which is being used by its developers to run another successful ESP business; Sendloop.com. We believe that we are leaving money on the table.

We are now working on a new pricing model on Oempro. We will announce new pricing in following months but until then we will continue experimenting and measuring.

I want to learn your thoughts. What kind of pricing model do you apply and how do you measure your success. Feel free to share by posting comments below.

4 thoughts on “Lessons We Have Learned From Our $29 Oempro 1-User License Discount

  1. Hi Cem,

    In my opinion I think what you have done is an investment to catch new customers.
    We all know that the most difficult / expensive part is to get new customers.
    You could easily spend a lot in ad’s and with a lower return, because it’s a competitive area with high CPC’s.

    One other reason for me to considering it an investment is the fact that all these new customers will have to renew next year for at least $99 if they want bug corrections, etc, so you are thinking about the long term and not the short term.

    I think your campaign “big test” will be next year to see if these new customers pay the service renewal fee, meaning that they are really using the software.

    If they don’t renew… well they paid you to test the software, that can’t be bad because there are companies offering trials for free. :-)

    Regarding pricing, in my opinion you shouldn’t always be pushing the price higher, mainly because of your existing customers that have been supporting you. At least keep the service renewal fee’s as low as possible, because the loyal customer base represent your business so don’t ruin it.

    About sendloop.com, it would be nice if you could offer sendloop as a white labeled service. I do know you offer oempro as a service, but we all know that sendloop.com and oempro aren’t really the same thing.

    Wish you all the best!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree with you. “Acquiring a huge customer base quickly” was one of the main reasons for running this “big test”. We achieved this in just 34 days. We had hundreds of new customers and time will show how many of them will continue to extend their service subscription.

      But on the other side, the success of software depends on feedbacks provided by users (customers). If this doesn’t increase with your customer base, then there’s a problem and probably your software will be out-of-date or behind the competition.

      Regarding the Oempro pricing, we do our best to keep it cheap compared to competitors. However, it deservers a price increase for license fees and service fees, this is a must-have but we will find a good way to protect our existing customers.

      Regarding Sendloop, we are not considering to offer it “white-label” at the moment. It targets a different user segment. Sendloop is “simplified” version of Oempro with lots of features removed.

  2. Nice idea and experiment. However, IMHO, 34 days is not enough for such a *big* test. You should have continued at least 2 months to make a decision on such a different pricing model.

    I know Atlassian very well, use JIRA + FishEye every day and until this month, I was using their $10 license. Now, upgraded to $1000 license for more users. This kind of pricing doesn’t make JIRA a “personal” category software. I am also curious about their $60m revenue source considering JIRA and JIRA licenses.

    Anyway, since you have decided that it doesn’t work in your case, you may consider some other pricing models;

    – Unlimited time trial with very limited features (or performance)
    - Payment plan for single-user license (my favorite)

    Keep up the good work guys. My small, boutique ESP business wouldn’t exist without Oempro.

    p.s. When are you going to release the next major update? We are excited about features you are going to implement :)


  3. Hi, I’ve one who bought the 29$ offer. I run a small esp service and I need to change the script since my current one, Interspire IEM, is almost a dead product. It’s a pitty because IEM has a very intuitive and fast user interface and the presence of survay feature is a plus.
    The real alternative was Oempro and ActiveCampaign. I’m still unsure since both the products have nice features, while are missing others.
    I decided to buy the oem pro 1 users licence because the temporary offer but I’m still unsure if I will invest in this software. What prevent me from doing it are the various questions left unanswered in the customers forum, features and bug fixing announced and not released on time as announced and the graphic user interface that in my opinion need to be revamped since it is not intuitive and up to date as sendloop.
    Also it is not true that octeth is only company using their own software to run succesful esp service. Also ActiveCampaing is doing the same but using “exactly” the same software version. This means that the downloaded version gets the same treatment of saas version. I don’t understand why for example the oempro downloaded shouldn’t have the sendloop drupal and facebook applications.
    What I like about Oempro is the current business model especially the unlimited version. If it became the same of Active Campaign I would probably choose this last one.

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