Why I Decided to Simplify our Pricing Structure

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.

27 comments on “Why I Decided to Simplify our Pricing Structure

  1. Hi,
    Totally understandable action (pun intended ;-). The only thing I use MB for is the send-delay, which has saved my bacon quite a few times. It’s a mind-thing.
    I have looked at all the other options MB provides, but with my own use of the email medium they are all out of my league. I wish I somehow could justify an upgraded plan with all those goodies, but I can’t.
    So I’ll continue on as before, plugging MB with email power-users though.

  2. Very disappointed to see this ‘simplification’ of pricing.
    I’m an ‘Essential’ user and I only use email scheduling , I don’t need or want any other Professional features.
    My cost will jump from ZERO to about $120+ per year, if I choose to stay with Mailbutler.

    I appreciate the company needs to make some money, but this cost is too high for what I use as one minor tweak to the MacMail programme.

    I would ask you to add ‘Scheduling’ to the Essential package. I’d pay up to $1 per month for that…

  3. Instead of removing access to all 30 Actions, might it be reasonable to continue to allow — at least for Professional level subscribers — say, three or five Business level Actions?

    Speaking personally, however, I cannot recall having ever used any of the free Actions in the five years I have been a Professional subscriber, so I’m not going to be greatly affected whatever happens to the Action allowance.

    1. Hello Sandy,

      I just checked your usage history and can confirm that you won’t be affected by this change, actually, at all. I have still passed your suggestion on to my higher ups.

  4. I’ve been with you a long time as a free user and appreciated having 30 actions for free. I will miss them. I rarely used actions more than 15 times a month, almost always to schedule the sending of email but occasionally to track read receipt. I will miss the extra flexibility the free actions gave me and will be removing the application because, working for a charity as I do, I know my employer would not pay for it. However I understand your reasoning and your right to charge for providing a useful service. I wish you well in future.

    1. Hello Gillian,

      Could you please email directly? Please address your email to Claire at support@mailbutler.io. We have options for people working for non profits. Please be sure to included the email account that you used to register for your Mailbutler profile. Thank you.

  5. Problem is I am neither a Professional nor a Business. The only non-“essential” feature I am interested in is “Schedule Email.”

    You might consider a paid “Essential-Plus” tier, from which a subscriber could cherrypick one “Plus” feature.

  6. I cant say I am thrilled.

    Your argumentation feels a little … fluffy … Could it be that there are other reasons as well? Other reasons weighing higher than you actually want to admit?
    Such as to put a little extra pressure on your Essential users to get them upgraded to paid subscribers?

    1. Hello George,

      The reasons for discontinuing actions in October are genuinely what we’ve listed in that blog post. They have been a source of confusion and frustration for our Professional subscribers, and our resources can be better allocated. We’re still offering the Essential plan, with free access to Undo Send and Attachment Reminder. And we’ve also given our Essential users nearly 4 months notice that we are removing the actions, so that they have time to decide for themselves if they want to simply use that pared down Essential plan in the Fall or sign up for a subscription. There is no pressure intended in this announcement, it is simply a fact, and one that we’re trying to communicate as transparently and with as much advance notice as possible.

  7. Hi Tobias,

    While I understand that your’e running a business in a very turbulent time period and competing against larger companies along with well funded startups, I am disappointed to read this post that you and the Mailbutler team have decided to slowly start to charge your most loyal customers who’ve not only been with you from the start but also helped you improve the product to where it is today.

    I recognize that your resources are valuable and you want them focused on revenue generation product functionalities but I feel you can do both. One idea is to have your Essential customers be grandfathered into the existing functionality without using customer support / resources for those features. If those customers want support from your resources, they will have an option to upgrade.

    The slow and steady loss of basic functionality in Mailbutler, is eventually going to force customers like me to move away from you. As a customer centric company, I hope you would reconsider some portions of your pricing model.

    Thanks for everything you do.

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for this very thoughtful and kindly worded email. You make a lot of valuable points, all of which I will be passing on to the CEO and CTO. We have some time before October, and between now and then, if you’d like to discuss some options for a custom pricing plan, you can email me directly. Please address your message to Claire at support@mailbutler.io. Be sure to include whichever email account is registered to your Mailbutler profile.

  8. Your service is exceptional but you are ‘bundling’ services in the same manner as communication companies. You might have noticed how many are ‘Cutting the Chord’ across the planet because customers end up paying a lot of money for features they do not need.

    You offer 2 features that I need and desire to charge me for many features which I do not need. THis is to force non paying customers to become paying customers. I am not in a position to pay and have integrated MailButlet into my workflow with every intention to RENT your service if and when I am available. You decision will take these tools away as if being punished for obliging a serice that you willingly offered. Seems like a double standard to me or rather an offer that was not genuine. Why not put a limit on the number of features instead so that non-paying customers cano continue to enjoy the service without you having to feel as if they are getting ‘something for nothing’.

    It’s not for anyone’s protection…

    1. Hello Gil,

      You mentioned wanting to rent our service in the future if and when you’re able. Are you aware that you could pay for either a Professional or Business plan for just one month at a time, if you wanted to? That would mean that, as needed, you could potentially pay €7.95 for one month, and in that month, use the hell out of all of our Professional features. I fully understand what you’re saying about bundling, but MOST of our subscribers tend to just use 2-4 of the features heavily, and the other features very rarely or not at all. And they feel that they’re getting a good value out of our service.

      If you have more questions about any of this, or would like to discuss your options in October, please reach out to me directly at support@mailbutler.io, and direct your email to Claire.

    1. Hello Gerardo,

      Most of our subscribers, at both the Professional and Business level, tend to use 2-4 features on a regular basis, and we’ve factored that in to the pricing structure.

      If you’ve got more questions regarding this, please feel free to contact me directly at support@mailbutler.io

  9. I would like an even more flexibel pricing.

    eg. I do not use the integrations but would like to use the contacts feature. I do also not use signature and have no team. So there is no need the business option.

    1. Hello,

      I can see that you’re using the Open Tracking feature that comes with your Professional subscription, as well as the Contacts feature. I can understand why you would not want to switch to the Business plan for just one feature, but that level of subscription also comes with Link Tracking and Tracking Details, both of which I can see you’ve used in the past. Most of our subscribers, at both levels, tend to use 2-4 features on a regular basis, and we’ve factored that in to the pricing structure.

      If you’ve got more questions regarding this, please feel free to contact me directly at support@mailbutler.io.

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