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Why I’m Going Back To Capturing Credit Cards Upfront (planscope.io)
76 points by gavingmiller on Oct 23, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments

As a consumer I hate this. If you know that you need the software it isn't a big deal to add your CC info, but if you are just trying out some different products/services it is really annoying.

Also, I suck at completing timed trials. I sign up for a service, play with it for a bit, and might not come back for a few weeks - usually when the trial has expired. Having to enter credit card information is exactly one of the roadblocks that causes me to abandon ship and put it in the "This is a pain and taking more time than I thought, so I will just do this later." category.

So, while I don't think you are losing any customers that already know they need your service, you may be losing some who might need your service, but aren't sure yet.

The best onboarding process gets me signed up as quickly as possible (you are clearly doing that) - and takes me through an interactive tutorial (i.e. "Enter your project name here") where you are actually entering information into the system, not just completing some demo that isn't useful.

Show users how to do something useful with your service as quickly as possible and you will have their attention. The CC info will be secondary - they will happily enter it when the time comes!

This is exactly what I think I'm proposing to do. If you come across Planscope and think, "Interesting. I'd like to play around with this" you can - quickly - and with no time requirements.

But once you have a real life project that you're getting paid for, then you come back and kick off your formal trial.

I'm curious how this goes (so please post a write-up when you have data). We (www.agentmethods.com) collect credit cards up front exactly to avoid that "create the account and forget about it" situation. The clock is ticking so our trials are serious.

We experimented with removing the credit card at signup and it killed our conversion rate from trial to happy paying customer.

We now invest a significant amount of support resources into trial users which we wouldn't be able to do if we opened the floodgates to every uncommitted tire kicker.

Gross; you're hiding the credit card requirement until after I've made an account.

As a customer, I would abandon your site faster than anything, no matter how slickly you'd done the presell.

And yes, I tried making an account. It's very jarring to suddenly be hit with a credit card wall to actually do anything in the trial. A free trial where I give you my credit card number isn't free. I don't feel this is going to help your conversion rates.

"A free trial where I give you my credit card number isn't free."

It is when you aren't charged for anything. It's basically a way to qualify a (future) customer.

...Also, what paywall were you hit with when creating the account you mentioned above? Right now, you can create an account and activate your timed trial without entering anything in. After 11 days, I send out an email stating "If you don't plug in your credit card soon, your account will be deactivated."

I insist on credit cards upfront on moustachecoffeeclub.com I am sending people a free physical bag of coffee though that costs me around $12 so it's very important that I convert people. But yes, lots of advantages to this approach not least getting rid of time wasters, who always seem to be the most annoying "customers" on the planet :)

I think I might do a post sometime about all the fun ways I've sacked my annoying customers. Keeps me interested anyway :)

This appears to be a dupe of https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6600137 from a few hours ago. However, it's a fantastic article.

It's amazing how HN, a community supposedly filled with entrepreneurs, is so opposed to anything marketing related.

Software doesn't sell itself guys...honest, insightful posts about the reasoning behind business decisions that directly affect a product's bottom line are really important and should not be dismissed because they contain "marketing speak".

Brennan, if you are reading this, get rid of that bloody "powered by drip" widget in the bottom right corner. It is annoying as hell that it can't be fully removed from the screen.

Done :-) It works wonders off normal organic traffic, I'll enable it again after the HN rush dies off.

-He lost me at the phrase "onboard new users"- ;-)

edit: I rescind my comment, I'm not adding anything useful to the discussion here. I still hate the term, but I guess there's not anything better.


That sort of marketing-speak made up word just makes my skin crawl. I don't see how it's any more expressive than "signing up new users". At least he calls them "users" and not "consumers"...

It didn't really stop me from reading the article, I kept going after I finished cringing.

"Signing up" implies creating a few database records and logging someone in. When I say "onboarding", I mean a deliberate attempt to transition somebody into the workflows and uses of the product.

Thanks for the clarification, interesting article, and sorry for being a jerk about your terminology. Airing my opinion on the term isn't a useful contribution to the discussion.

Signing up new users != onboarding. Getting them to signup is only half the battle. Onboarding, or getting them to actually setup their account, start using the product and usually taking actions that offer the most value is a pretty important part of reducing churn.

I believe 'on boarding' refers to post signup new user education. That appears to be how he used it here. I have never heard it used as just signing up.

What do you call post signup new user education?

Induction might be an option, but on-boarding covers it well enough IMO.

I think that, in an article directly related to marketing, marketing-speak is appropriate.

Fair enough.

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