Recently, we put out an open call for participants in an experiment coupled with a series of blog posts where Brian or Mike writes up impressions and advice about a SaaS company’s pricing pages with their cooperation. This is the second entry in that series. Thanks to Allan Ebdrup, CTO of Debitoor, for getting in touch! Here we go!
Debitoor is invoicing and accounting software, designed for small businesses and freelancers, which lets you:
Take charge of your own accounting and get an overview of your business finances.
I like to take a moment to consider how a product is sold on a marketing site’s front page before I start to consider the pricing. The relationship between the two is often instructive.
We’ve divided our pricing breakdowns into these sections: The Heading, Self-Service Plans, Enterprise Plans, and Messaging & Audience. We’ll take a look at each of those and then leave you with a section outlining our recommendations.
“Choose your plan” reads the heading — “Four plans to choose from” begins the subheading. And then, all of the sudden, “Cancel at any time. No obligations.”
The subheading talks more about how you can cancel than how you can sign up.
I think I understand the motivation for this wording — I read into this that in the seemingly commoditized market for accounting software, small businesses and freelancers (who are notoriously tight with services they purchase) feel hamstrung by contractual obligations. The issue I take with this language is that while it may be persuasive, in the end, I wonder what it accomplishes. Is it worthwhile to try and persuade people who will be swayed by this language? People who have questions about cancellation policies will likely just dig around your site to find them. In other words, there are easier, more discreet ways to communicate policies around plan cancellation.
The only reason I find mentioning this at some length so important is that this is very valuable real estate. I come across this a lot in pricing pages. The subheading on your pricing page is almost certainly going to be read by people who visit the page — use it to sell! Use it to build trust! Don’t use it to remind people that they can cancel.
There are four self-service plans, organized by size: XS, S, M, and L. Plans range in price from £4 to £20 per month, when paid annually.
I couldn’t quite grok the value calculation that makes “M” the best value.
This page uses the old “highlight the annually paid price per month” technique with the price paid monthly in slightly finer print. Annually paid plans are discounted at 20%. This is common enough in pricing pages these days that I think consumers expect it. One tweak that I prefer is when you can switch back and forth with a visually appealing toggle to view the different pricing structures. I find that connecting the click with the price switch resonates better and can clean up the visual presentation of the pricing considerably.
The “M” plan is highlighted with a blue box and is touted as the “best value.” I’m not sure what value calculation is being made here, and it may be persuasive, but under a little bit of scrutiny it becomes a bit tough to figure out. Is it “Most popular?” or “Best for small businesses?” maybe, but I don’t get why it’s the “best value.”
Plans are differentiated on two features by volume:
*Number of invoices & expenses — *from 100/year to unlimited.
Users — from 1 to 3.
And four features by inclusion: Delivery notes & quotes, Invoice design, Bank integration, and VAT/P&L reports.
The £10 and £20 plans include all features, and the £20 plan has 3 users to all of the other plan’s 1. Here’s one area to think about: there’s no direction for people who want to use the software with more than 3 users. No “email us if you have a larger team,” etc. 3 as the maximum number of users also seems odd in the context of the other features: 1 user can buy up to 800 invoices, but for three they are unlimited.
It would be nice to see a way for people to be able to pay Debitoor more money over time and right now how that would happen isn’t obvious if it exists. Small businesses and freelancers sometimes have more than 3 people that would need to use this software.
No enterprise plans to speak of, and I wouldn’t expect one, though I think a “call us if you want more” option is always a good idea, so I’ll reinforce that here.
Messaging & Audience
The pricing page is pretty neutral messaging-wise, aside from the domain terms used for feature names and the up front information about how easy it is to cancel the service. As the audience is large for this type of software, all of this makes sense.
Debitoor does a good job choosing features that bring value to their customers and differentiating by the “size” of the business that it is being used for. The prices seem low to me (this is going to be a theme of this column, for certain) — low enough that at £5/month, why not just call it £60 per year? Maybe it has to do with the audience’s apparent fear of commitment.
The heading and subheading could be rewritten to sell the benefits of the software better and to build trust with the user. Leave the cancellation stuff to the terms of service.
It would be interesting to see what a three-tiered plan (“Personal,” “Team,” and “Business”) would feel like to customers. Personal could have the low-end’s current features and 1 user, Team the full features and 3 users, and Business unlimited invoices and 10 users. Prices could be £5 / £30 / £50.
Debitoor is in a tough, competitive market and their pricing shows it. With some tweaking to the messaging to build trust and sell features, and some movement in plans to draw people to a slightly higher ACV than their current high end, they might be more likely to boost ACV and attract and retain customers who are driven by the value their software provides.