In the age of social media, it’s harder for companies to get away with sly shenanigans. Customers are quick to voice their concerns on the everlasting public forum that is the internet. Simply put – do something wrong and everyone will know about it forever.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many great companies. As a whole, I’d say most companies actually go above and beyond with their customer service. Forget to cancel and need a refund? You got it! Accidentally choose the wrong plan? We’ll switch it for you! Painless conflict resolution isn’t just the ethical decision – it’s good business.
I spend hundreds of dollars every month on different services and I rarely run into issues. Recently, I found myself frustrated with Instapage.
Instapage Pricing Fiasco
To be clear, this isn’t a review of Instapage’s service or an attack on the quality of their platform. I enjoy their platform – so much so, that I’ve been using it for the past two years.
I initially signed up for Instapage in 2016, at a time when LeadPages was still the preferred choice to most online marketers. Instapage had comparable offerings and a lower price point, so I decided to give them a try. I went with the basic plan at $30/month (with an annual subscription), as that was all I needed.
Over the years, Instapage added a lot of new features, and encouraged users to upgrade their accounts. I was happy with my current subscription and felt no desire to upgrade. On June 8, 2018, Instapage sent the following email:
Instapage is completely reworking their pricing structure and forcing customers to upgrade or get left behind. Okay, this may not be a huge deal, right? They could just be changing the plans up a bit?
Wrong – Instapage eliminated their old pricing completely. The basic plan ($30/month) was obliterated and replaced with the Core plan ($69/month).
This represents a 130% pricing increase for existing customers. I’ve been a paying member of Instapage for two years and now they want to force me into a package that costs more than double what I was paying before.
I have no opposition to companies changing their pricing over time. I’m a marketer and a business owner. I don’t expect everything to cost the same amount as it did in the “good ol’ days.” Companies grow, new features are introduced, and pricing is increased. But, what about all of the customers that helped that company grow?
Here’s a look at Instapage pricing in 2016:
And here’s a look at Instapage pricing in 2018:
….and here it is in 2020:
I’ve never seen a company force such a dramatic price increase on existing customers.
Most people are familiar with the concept of being “grandfathered” into a rate. While it is not legally binding based on a company’s terms and conditions, it is good business. Customers who help a company grow are rewarded with stable subscription fees.
I’ve been a paying customer of tons of SAAS companies over the years and I’ve never experienced such a rate hike.
Why I’m Frustrated With Instapage
So, you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Companies increase prices all the time. Either pay up or switch services.”
I’ve been in digital marketing for almost a decade and I’ve tried hundreds of services during that time. Nearly all of their pricing has gone up over the years and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here’s what’s different this time:
Slight Rate Increase vs. 130% Rate Hike
Companies are entitled to change their pricing. If Instapage simply increased their monthly cost by $5 or $10, I wouldn’t even waste the time writing this post. The real issue is the 130% rate increase that they are forcing on existing customers.
Existing Customers vs. New Customers
New customers have a chance to evaluate pricing and make a buying decision accordingly. If a services is too expensive, they can keep browsing.
Existing customers have already made their decision and built their business around a certain software. I’ve created nearly 50 landing pages with Instapage, investing time, effort, and money.
What if WordPress started charging you $10/install? You’d probably wish you didn’t build all of those sites on the platform years ago.
Instapage knows their clients are locked in
Instapage uses their new features as a defense for their 130% price hike. While the new features are great, I never asked for them or needed any of them. What if Netflix doubled your monthly rate because they added a new catalogue of soap operas?
Every SAAS company is constantly working on improving their offerings – this isn’t unique to Instapage. Constant improvement is how you survive in this industry. You make a service better and do more for your customers.
You do not add new features, force them on customers, and then jack up the price.
I reached out to Instapage’s support team to see if we could get this issue resolved. I got the classic “thanks for sharing your feedback” and “we’ll pass that along.”
I can’t imagine I’m the only one who has this frustration. Feel free to share your story in the comments.
2019 Update: ANOTHER Price Increase (Now 400%!)
On September 27, 2019, Instapage announced yet another rate increase. This time, Instapage is “simplifying” their pricing by offering a single subscription. This subscription is referred to as the “Business” plan which will run $199/month or $1,788/year.
Here is an update on the history of payments I’ve made to Instapage.
A service that I started paying $348/year has risen to $828/year. Next year’s price increase will bring my bill to $1,788/year. This means my subscription price has increased over 400% in the four years that I have been a loyal customer.
I will NOT be paying for the increase this time. Even though it will create more work for me, I will migrate my pages and decrease my reliance on Instapage into their next billing cycle. I’d encourage others to do the same.
2020 Update: Cancellation
The 2020 price increase is where I draw the line. My subscription cost went from $348 in 2016 to $828 in 2019 to $1,788 in 2020. I have officially canceled and will explore similar platforms like Unbounce and Leadpages next.