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The $10,000 Checkbox


Okay, first: there’s a lot more to the checkbox. It’s not just the checkbox. Clicking the checkbox needs to have an effect, so there are about 10 lines of code behind the checkbox. Triggering those lines of code sets into motion a system that I’ve spent a few months fine-tuning, and I’m pretty certain that system comprises many more than 10 lines of code.

So, if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick situation that involves adding a single checkbox and suddenly making $10,000, you won’t find that here. But here are some thoughts on a checkbox I added to Draft’s checkout system that has fared quite well for us.

Here is the checkbox:

Checkbox offering customers a free 30-day trial that they can cancel anytime.

It sits on the checkout pages for Draft Analysis and The A/B Testing Manual. I have worked my ass off to ensure that this checkbox provides a smooth, decent experience for people. It is checked by default. If you leave it checked, you get subscribed to us… only it’s not really what I’m sending that week for most of our’s subscribers. Instead, you get a 4-week email campaign that contains:

  • The four most popular, broadly applicable lessons that aren’t also mostly covered in The A/B Testing Manual.
  • Two follow-up emails that ask how things are going, replies of which go straight to my inbox.
  • A survey that asks whether you plan on continuing your trial, and what value we’ve given you lately.

After that, you’re (hopefully) charged for your first month, and you get the same lessons that everybody else gets.

Since launching The A/B Testing Manual preorders last July(!), I have reworded the everlasting hell out of this checkbox. The checkbox used to be more ambiguous, which was frustrating for literally everyone. It is difficult to balance the checkbox’s need for brevity with the fundamental principle of clarity and transparency in what you’re getting as a customer.

Now the checkbox lists all of the parameters of the engagement (a 30-day trial, $49 value, cancel anytime, what our list contains, etc). I reworded it yet again for Draft Analysis, because I imagine there are a lot of people who will buy both The A/B Testing Manual and Draft Analysis, and I want to make it clear what should happen if you want to re-subscribe. I also hiked the entry-level price of most of what I sell by a factor of 3, which has served well to get us fewer, better customers. The checkbox has become far less frustrating for everyone as a result.

Clicking the “Rejoin” link takes you to subscribe to our page without a 30-day trial, in a new tab. When you subscribe through our page, you don’t get the same fancy 4-week drip campaign that you would get if you were slotted into a trial – instead, you get dropped in the middle of things, and get the same lessons as everybody else.

About two-thirds of all customers choose to take the trial. Around 85% churn out after the trial ends. Our list has a mean lifetime of around 6 months thus far, although this number has a high standard deviation because we’re not (yet!) dealing with an insane number of customers in volume. I’m pretty okay with these numbers; I don’t expect most folks to splash out on a $49/month subscription, but for those who do, they can get a lot of value for their businesses.

So, this is a decent arrangement. The only thing that sucks about it right now, and which is priority #1 for me when Draft Analysis is done launching, is to create a feature for automatically unsubscribing. Right now, you have to manually email my assistant. This indisputably sucks and I am deeply sorry about how inconvenient and stupid it is. I want to make it as easy for people to unsubscribe as it is to subscribe, but in order to do that I need to write a bunch of code and database logic. I am historically atrocious and slow at this. So, that’s up next.

Anyway, I wrote the first draft of the checkbox in about 15 minutes, but have since spent a couple dozen hours on the checkbox – and all the stuff that underlies it. The overall consequence: we get a continual source of subscribers, I keep educating people about research-driven A/B testing, and hopefully we all benefit. And yes, the checkbox broke $10,000 in lifetime revenue.

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