Onboarding flow for dnsimple
Back then, there was a major flaw with our pricing dynamics: thousands of companies of all sizes were subscribing to our Personal plan instead of the appropriate $25/mo Professional plan. This was an obvious ever growing pile of money left on the table—to the tune of several hundreds of thousands of ARR (and growing).
The real concern however whas that this also meant thousands of business customers restricted by the Personal plan feature set—getting diminished experiences thus increasing their churn risk.
On top of that was the elephant in the room: customer indifference.
It's no secret that web domains & DNS management is an afterthought at best—the average developer just don't care about it all that much.
We explored various pricing models, experimented with feature gating and upsell tactics to no avail. The issue remained. At the end of the day, domain names aren’t all that sexy—people just didn’t care. Features didn’t matter all that much and companies were perfectly fine cruising on our bare bones $5/mo plan.
By digging into our subscription & activity data, I noticed that our problem was rooted in our onboarding flow. In order to start their free trial, users had to pick a plan. Invariably, the first team member of a company (no matter its size) would always subscribe to the Personal plan—our cheapest plan.
We needed a way to change that behaviour. Quick.
I presented an alternative to our current onboarding flow. The idea was to add an extra step where users would identify themselves as an "individual" or a"business".
Depending on their answer, the next step would showcase our subscription plan differently.
If the user identified as an individual, we’d showcase the Personal & Professional plans. On the other hand, and this was the key here, if they identified as a business, we’d showcase the Professional & Business plans respectively.
In retrospective, it was a fairly simple bet: asking would-be users to project themselves would be sufficient to nudge developer working on for-profit projects to pick our business-oriented plans.
Back then, dnsimple had a very spontaneous approach to improving the product—especially non-core features.
And so, I simply went to work and designed a first version of the flow and shared it with our full stack developer who inherited all things design.
He brought it into a working version and I proposed to our CEO to run this new onboarding flow for a short period of time—and since it didn’t affect anything on the backend, it was an easy pitch.
It happens rarely but this one was an overnight success. Adoption of the professional plan skyrocketed. Several years later, dnsimple has left this flow mostly unchanged.