Long-Term Consumer Subscriptions
When I think “SaaS,” I think business. And I don’t think all “SaaS business” logic applies well to a consumer-oriented product like Write.as.
I tweeted this morning about how our current 5-year plan discount turns this month into a bit of a “fundraising” event for our bootstrapped business:
This is the second year we've done this promotion and it's really turned February into a bit of a "fundraising" month for us. https://t.co/Y01gmsYWzu— matt.baer.works (@ilikebeans) February 14, 2022
It helps because many people are happy to grab this deal — which comes out to $3/month over 5 years, or just 33% of what they’d normally pay month-to-month — and we get a quick influx of cash, and some extra cushion in the bank account.
The multi-year subscription makes a lot of sense for a product like ours. A personal blog isn’t something most people use every single day, like a TV or music streaming service might be. It isn’t a gym membership you have to dedicate yourself to. You might not even use it every single month.
So when renewal time comes around, this is easily a service people can discard, even if for a bit. And we see this a good bit — times get a little tighter financially, someone hasn’t written anything in the past few months, people leave and come back after a while, etc. But if you just have to make the financial commitment one time, it’s easier to make the decision, incorporate this tool into your life, and then just use it when needed, and leave it when it’s not. Like a hammer or any other tool.
Especially if writing is a hobby and enjoyable pastime, I think the mental load of an automatically-recurring transaction just to conduct that pastime really diminishes it. It adds the rigid processes of scheduling and accounting on top of daydreaming, and eventually turns those processes into a prerequisite for creation.
It might be similar to creating non-digital art — paintings, drawings, film photography, etc. But even then you’re consenting to each financial transaction. Unless it’s your profession, you probably wouldn’t subscribe to recurring deliveries of film, canvases, or paint. You buy them as needed. You paint over old paintings when times are tight and you didn’t quite like that one, anyway. You draw on napkins when you run out of paper.
There aren’t perfect parallels between these “analog” and digital creation processes. But I think it’s crucial to think about how our business motivations and requirements affect the people using this creative tool, and the things they create. All is interconnected.