After losing yet another client to mailchimp today due to cheaper prices i want to vent...
there must be others in the same boat here on the forums...
together perhaps we can draw managements attention to the gap in pricing with other major email marketing providers. After all we only want to be given the chance to be more competitive so we can more effectively resell the CM product!
We've been CM (via our own white label version) evangelists for years now but are getting more and more concerned at the difficulty in competing with prices from other services like MailChimp.
The standard response from Ros and CM staff points to superior customer service, features, best-in-class editor etc and yes these are valid (although we hardly ever need support so not exactly a selling point) . CM is a great product, im not disputing it, i dont want to use Maichimp myself, CM is an innovator with an amazing product the result of years of hard work and dedication to their customers... BUT if our customers (which are in turn CM customers) are leaving because of pricing then these previous successes are not addressing true market conditions.
As we are seeing, it just doesnt count for enough when youre talking considerable savings elsehwere...at the end of the day email markeitng is not something most of our clients get as warm and gooey about as we techheads/designers do, its a means to an end, whether thats contacting customers, raising awareness, or increasing sales etc if the cost of making this sale is cheaper elsewhere its usually smart to move to the competing service in order to cut costs
We are seeing pay-as-you-go clients just stop sending via our version of CM and start using Mailchimp etc, most of the time they dont even tell us, we only find out when they send their next newsletter out (as we are generally on their lists under a few testing addresses...) yes the self-made template from Mailchimp are generally not as "nicely designed" as their previous CM template but hey if it does the job for sometimes more than half the price...Im at a loss to argue with that.
So now we have the frustrating scenario of pay-as-you-go clients using our version of CM as a free list storage platform as all their forms etc push signups to CM, they then export from CM into mailchimp prior to each new campaign via mailchimp. Awesome huh!
Or they are simply cancelling their accounts with us and saying point blank its because theyve found another competiing service that offer (what is in the end) a comparable service for a far cheaper price... hmm mailchimp.? yes they reply... to which we have no answer... frustrating!
Yes these loads of other services dont all have the features that CM does (although some are getting pretty close, and some actually have the lead in others eg surveys etc ), they may not have the sweet usability and perhaps the editing and sending proicess is a not as refined, but money talks in most small to mid businesses and at the end of the day if a campaign takes a bit longer to send out, but costs far less, which way do you think most clients will go? We are seeing which way and its not encouraging
Also more to the point, the more savvy clients are always going to be comparing serivces and trying to cut costs where possible...doesnt take much to type 'email marketing' into google and see the plethora of competing services, the majority of which charge less then CM these days... making it easy for clients to play the field...and harder and harder for us to put a decent percentage on top then justify the increased price to the client... its making me super uncomforntable to say the very least each time i hear "oh really, that seems expensive, what about of we use mailchimp, its only $X there" yes theres value added services etc and we have invested a lot of time effort and money into our own range of CM templates for clients, training sessions and manuals etc but at the end of the day clients usually look at a montly committment in dollar figures, its starts with a base cost that the client has to committ to, and as most businesses have 10 ways to spend every dollar, a monthly committment thats twice as expensive as the other service, hmm a hard sell any way you look at it..
I believe CM pricing is okay for smaller lists as its comparable to the other major players...thats all im pushing for, to stop the endless questions about why we are so much more expensive than <Insert competing service here>, with advances in cloud computing and the infrastructrue you guys now have in place, why is it so much more expensive?! Perhaps there are some technicla considerations im not aware of.
If its comparable then all the standard arguments come into play, better editor, more user friendlyt etc we can put a margin on top and rely on superior product features to justify the reasonable price difference but what im talking about is the larger end of the scale... this is where CM really starts to go into the stratosphere as far as pricing comparisons, its practically double and thats all without a margin on top for the agency that attracts the lead, usually educates the client, nurtures the client relationship etc not exactly helping out your resellers!
See these two for example
Pricing for 10,000 - 25,000 is $150 per month unlimited sends...
obviouslty the inferior constant contact is jkeeping in line with the superior mailchimp else it would be lucky to get any clients, especially any who have shopped around and tried both demos etc
But for CM
10000-25000 is $250
$100 more per month and thats the base price! Wed want to be putting at least 20% on this else its simply not worth our while, this currently makes us a pretty measly $50 a month considering the effort, not retiring on that anytime soon...
In order for us to make a margin on top of CM prices we end up with up far more expensive prices than mailchimp and constant contact etc. These need to be more in line otherwise i expect this trend to continue... and when mailchimp release their white label version well... why wait to revise pricing until then? People arent going to be easy to bring back over once they change. Frustrating...
Im saying at least keep pricing in line with that of the do-it-yourself-email-marketing industry leaders, pricing that is easily found by anyone with half a brain , then we can add margin and rely on our own client relationships and value added services etc to justify the increase... an increase which floats our businesses and allows us in turn to signup more customers for CM
Hi nwm, thank you so much for taking the time to explain your situation here. We're very much focused on remaining competitively priced and always appreciate feedback on how we can offer our resellers and their clients a value-for-money service.
In our experience, we've seen that there are plenty of designers out there charging a lot more than our base rates for their rebranded accounts and still doing well from it. In particular, our most successful customers are the ones who are providing things their client doesn't have the time or skills for. Offering nothing more than Campaign Monitor itself is honestly, not a sustainable position to be in.
The services these designers provide can include custom design, advice on email marketing in general, analysis of reports (and suggestions for changes based on that analysis), ideas for growing their email list and the like.
They tend to present Campaign Monitor as part of an email marketing service and consider it as their trusted work tool, rather than as the end product in itself. That way, they can say to their customers "This is the tool I know and work most effectively with, and we can use it together to create more effective email programs for you". This recent blog post interview is a great example.
There will always be cheaper options, but that way you can differentiate yourself even from someone else offering a Campaign Monitor rebrand. Most people will be happy to pay for something that is easier, more effective or that is recommended by someone they have reason to trust. Does that make sense?
We're keen also to find out what you need to convince your clients that your service is worth paying for. Would a manual or guide you can give to clients to show them how easy it is to send email campaigns help?
I'd love to hear your feedback on this, the more we understand about what it is like for you trying to sell Campaign Monitor the more we'll be able to do to help. Thank you so much, nwm - we'd really like to remain being an attractive choice for you and your clients and certainly appreciate hearing from you on this matter.
hi ros thanks for the detailed reply... keen your open to an open dialog about this.. I only want the best for both our businesses
sorry i meant to add in my OP that value added services were also a big part of the argument you usually suggest to put across as to why it costs more than <other service here>... but put simply not all clients want or can afford these services in an ongoing sense, besides most of these fees are in setup eg template creation, training, strategy etc
The point is we have to actually work for each hour of time put in to CM value added services, now im not adverse to hard work, Ive been working hard building my web dev business for hmm 12 years...but via that methodology we stop work we stop earning...after 12 hard years id like to work less and earn more :)
Like CM we are looking to maximise passive recurring income in order to be more profitable, and then to mainly reinvest time and effort in other aspects of our business to grow it further... and in turn attract more clients and sign them up to CM also.
Essentially you are saying "introduce your clients to CM, make some money providing value added services at the outset and perhaps during, while CM makes it passively off your introduction month in month out". So resellers trying to compete on price with the likes of MailChimp are being forced to work hard hours to make money from CM related value added services, not so much the send fees and monthly packages. in your words "Offering nothing more than Campaign Monitor itself is honestly, not a sustainable position to be in."
If we have curently have 40+ clients in CM that we are trying to move to monthly packages (with a view to double/triple that in coming years) well id say its sustainable if CM allows it to be, i guess im saying (and assuming) not all your resellers want to constantly providing value added services...aside from it not being our focus (we focus on heling retailers sell online) we deal with small to med businesses who dont have the budgets to contantly pay for vaue added services, dont orget we offer other servicea also competiing for their markerting dollars... some just want to be setup with a email marketing service that they can run themselves after intial setup.... with current pricing youre saying this type of client is worth not a lot margin wise to us but a lot over their lifetime to CM.
For example after signing them up we (simplistically speaking)
Integrate signup forms into the client website and some API work to communicate wth our shopping cart system
Import their list(s)
Provide a set of customised templates (a newsletter one and a number of postcard style templates)
Provide a document with suggested strategies/advice to grow their list and ideas for campaigns
Then they are on their own... so if we cant make a decent margin then our income stops after setup... not exactly encouraging in the long term when email marketing isnt our focus, building and supporting online stores is...
So while the passive income keeps going into CM bank account at that point it trickles in to ours ... feels like weve done a big share of the work but CM gets the lions share of the holy grail - passive income!
Of course, please dont get me wrong, and I appreciate the fact you are listening to my thoughts...CM deserves a good portion of this passive income for spotting the initial opportunity, and capitalising on it so well by developing kick ass software, growing CM to this point, providing infrastructure etc
what im asking is to be comparable to the other major providers at all levels of your pricing... the basic concept (well my understanding at least) of a reseller system is to be able to buy cheaper than the customer can get it themselves, this no longer the case, so makes it more and more of a hard sell, we are losing more clients to mailchimp than ever before, and we are in the trenches here, some move over after finding it or being recommended it as a cheaper option, (as youd know under 200 list size is now completely free) some never even start with our version of CM cause they found mailchimp before coming to us in the first place
So we can compete with these easily found competitors we need room to move...
Sure years ago people were less inclined to even know what to search for, but I feel these days with more and more people getting familar with the web, with the web maturing and people not so scared of the big bad internet, more small business owners are getting more involved in their own net marketing, thus making more enquiries on their own. As well as these competing services obviously having big marketing pushes of their own, not just in design communiteis like the days of old but everywhere small businesses may visit on the web...popping up everywhere and thus being seen by more eyeballs than ever before.
Top end of town and their agencies im sure can whack a geat big margin on top but its the small businesses that im concerned about.
With the current pricing there is not a lot of room, given a quick search turns up cheaper prices without us even being able to add a margin, so we simply cant compete...
If you were to adjust prices, it would help us if/when existing or potential clients do come across <other service here> (perhaps we have more savvy cost conscious clients than most?) as we are still competitive
re: a manual or guide, yes I have suggested this a number of times as have loads of other people im sure, a fully detailed white label userguide outlining standard features etc perhaps with a more davanced part at the end that could be removed (as dont need it for exmaple) this would certainly help (its somewhat perplexing there still isnt one considering CM growth and singular focus) so then we have to spend less time on training and support, being first level of support we rarely annoy you guys, but again this eats into margins.. we cant charge extra for support as again mailchimp etc include this as standard and prices are already cheaper than the non marked up CM prices... soyep would be good start, but not enough, the software is very intutirve so user guide is not enough to justify increased fixed costs etc this should be a given really
once again it comes down to money
had you guys given much thought to awarding resellers discounts based on the number of accounts/emails sent/monthly packages that a reseller has, pretty common approach surely it has come up before...
like i said we have 40+ im sure you have many more volume sellers but imagine youd have some special arrangements in place for super high volume guys? this would make it even more attractive even if clients stubme upon CM themselves, which they hve in the past, awkward!
anyway tired now, and rambling (again), one of the downsides of being able to type 90+ WPM
ill hit send to continue discussions
Thanks again Ros
Thanks for your thoughts, we do appreciate you taking the time to give us the details. We certainly may look at rewarding high volume resellers in some way in the future, we definitely appreciate the hard work our customers are doing.
Having said that though, Campaign Monitor will not ever be the cheapest option, nor price matching specific competitors. Competing on price is not the approach we want to take, and we also don't want to encourage our customers to take that direction.
It's a valid business model, but it's a frustrating and difficult road to follow because there is inevitable someone who will offer it cheaper or for free. It may be that the clients you are dealing with don't value anything above cost, but that's not all clients.
In the web design world, most designers are aware that they have competition from people in countries where costs are vastly lower, and understand that to compete they need to offer something more than just a lower price.
As Ros mentioned, we have plenty of customers (from individual designers to large agencies) who charge well above our prices and still are very busy and growing, so it is quite possible.
Dropping prices would be (from one perspective) a quick fix, but it isn't sustainable in the long term as an advantage. On the other hand, building a better tool and helping you guys out with better sales material, advice and support is something we can keep doing and keep doing better at.
Assuming for now that our prices remain the same, what do you think you would need to convince your clients to pay more for your services?
Interesting discussion :)
A few comments from the client side... where we have recently brought in-house all things EDM related. Our email volume is not massive - maybe 2,000,000 this year. I've worked on the agency side too (using CM).
It's now costing us half to send emails out. The mark up by the agency we were using was quite high, and my view on this is that in a self-service scenario (the agency did nothing) the mark up is only justified to cover 'maintenance' costs. I wouldn't want to pay more than 10% for that.
We work with the agency to develop templates and we could work with them even more if they offered us specialist services (eg. content optimisation, A/B testing, analytics, cleaning lists, etc...). But EDM is not their focus.
We are aware that there are other products out there cheaper than CM. I've used quite a few, including Mail Chimp. But we feel that a) CM remains a better products and b) it would be quite disruptive and costly to move to a new system. It's costly because we put a $ value the time spent getting up and running on a new system, including training multiple users.
For us features and usability are the key above pricing. If our requirements change and CM isn't fit for purpose anymore - or there is a much better product for us - we will change.
Hi architxt, thank you so much for your thoughtful response, it's excellent to hear this matter from a client's perspective. If there's anything we can do to make Campaign Monitor more valuable to your company, please let us know - we're keen to stay in your good books :)
NWM is right in that it's very hard (impossible) to compete on price using CM. Only a narrow range of clients are willing to pay significantly more for the advantages/benefits that CM currently has over other platforms. There ARE benefits, but it's a hard sell for the added cost.
So far I've just been letting clients go to competitors if they can't justify the price to themselves. But here are some things that might help us sell to clients on increased value:
1. Multiple logins. Seems archaic that CM can't support multiple logins for accounts.
2. Ability to customize and brand the back end for end-clients (not just agencies). If I could show a client their shiny new CM dashboard with their OWN branding, colors, etc that's extra "wow" factor. Every little bit helps.
3. Even though the template builder is fantastic, the basic set of templates from which to work from is rather limited and produces generic looking templates. If the template builder had a broader range of base templates that would really help. Even if we could upload our own templates and then edit them using template editor, that'd be fantastic!
4. Not only a white label document to show customers how to use CM, but white label videos too. These could be series of short snippets that describe how to do basic tasks - adding a text box, image box, defining recipients, etc.
5. The admin area (that customers see, not necessarily agency-side) could use a little Web 2.0 shine or..something. A UI update. It's fairly intuitive to use, but just not as beautiful as it should be for a premium product - with premium pricing.
Hi sepiariver, I'm really pleased with the constructive points you've made here. As per our earlier thread on multiple logins (which I just responded to), this is something we have high on the list - it absolutely would make our service more appealing to designers and agencies. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
A cleaner interface and greater flexibility with rebranding is also something we're keen to look at, too. I've bumped this internally and hopefully we'll see some changes in the future.
Absolutely, the template builder is a work in progress. While we've seen some great examples of non-generic templates so far, there's certainly more that can be done to assist designers and clients with creating beautiful campaigns. Watch this space.
Ah, the user-manual is something we've bandied around for a while. In the initial stages, we may look at creating a quick-start guide and video, then gauge the response before shooting off into more detailed guides. How does this sound?
Thanks sepiariver - we really appreciate you letting us know what you'd like to see in the app. I'll be updating the thread as I receive updates on your requests above.
The manual and videos would be really helpful. I've put together a site for me to push my rebranded CM but I have yet to really push it because I need to created some videos, and I haven't had the time. I have still been sort of selling it to my clients, and have a couple on there, but haven't been able to do a big push because I just haven't had the time to prepare the material.
I understand that CM doesn't ever want to be the cheapest, or even on-par with the competitors, and I expect a higher price as it is overall a better service, but I do think CM needs to at least keep in arm's reach of the competition. There will always reach a point where someone just can't justify the difference.
Thanks, Stephanie - I'll pass these comments on to the team. We're keen to get some guides and videos together, so I'll let you know how we progress.
At present, we're also looking at changes to our pricing tiers, which will hopefully make our service better value for larger clients. Stay tuned to our blog, as we'll be sure to post updates there.
Thanks, Stephanie! We really appreciate you sharing your experiences with us here.
The reality. What I pay for keeping my website up, each month:
MediaTemple GS $20
MediatTemple QuickSSL $10
Guess which service will be first on the chopping block? CampaignMonitor.
Hi there bc173, many thanks for contacting us, both here and via email. I'm not sure exactly what the comparison is here, as the services you've listed are very different from what we're offering. That said, if you'd like to discuss ways to make the most of your email marketing budget, we'd be more than happy to help you out here.