Yes, you heard that right, instead of the usual announcement as to why you need to start paying after trying out a great product for free, it’s the opposite! We are pleased to announce that Evercontact’s contact mining and auto-updating service is now absolutely free for unlimited individual use in Gmail, Outlook & Office 365, for life!
We know what you are thinking: “Wait … sounds too good to be true!”
Why on earth would we want to do this when we have a great paying client base? Our founder and CEO Philippe Laval will explain now, after a short commercial break 🙂
May the Evercontact Force be with You!
First off, how does your company plan to survive without revenues? Are you expecting contributions or is there a trust fund somewhere?
Well, we do have fantastic investors but they are actually demanding something in return for their investment, rather reasonably I must admit! 😉
We will still have revenues, but from companies who want to use our service, especially to get centralized contact updates . We figure that companies can afford it and are used to paying for valued services, in fact they find free products suspicious. So why not rely on them when having accurate contact databases is one of the most valuable things for the company.
How does the free vs paid plan work exactly? If I am a user with a professional address, do I have to pay?
Absolutely not. It is only when teams or entire companies want to share a common address book or have their contacts update their CRM (Salesforce, Highrise, etc) that they pay. You can be the President of IBM, or someone like Guy Kawasaki, and still use us for free. Your address book will always be automatically up-to-date via your invisible personal assistant, Evercontact for individuals.
Okay, so why on earth would anyone choose to pay you?
Companies can get fantastic value out of us (our team plans start at only 5 USD per user per month) in two ways:
(1) If you don’t have a CRM, we can create a shared address book so your team are all on the same page as far as contacts and updates. So if someone on your team or in your company is already in contact with someone you want to reach out to, you’ll know that and have the latest details (phone number, title, etc) right away, without having to have a costly CRM installed.
(2) If you do already have a CRM, you can get the most value out of it by making sure the contact details in it are always up-to-date. Evercontact can do this automatically by mining your team’s inbox and passing new or changed information from incoming email signatures directly to Salesforce or another CRM. So the very common problem of CRMs with stale information is solved.
But it must cost money and time to run the free service, are you planning to cut corners on that by limiting service or support to make up for it?
Definitely not, there is still huge value for us in providing the best free product possible:
1. We can get feedback to continuously evolve and refine the product to provide the best service to both individuals and paying clients, without having to find out after someone has already paid us that we are lacking something could bring value to the organization.
2. We don’t have to spend money on outreach – paid advertising like billboards or lots of online advertising.Our individual user base is so happy with Evercontact saving them time and otherwise lost contacts they love to spread the word.
3. And, as Evercontact works only if you get emails with signatures, our free client base is made up of professionals. This means that they are very likely to work for or with companies that could be potential clients. So the more professional users we have, the greater chances of our eventually getting revenues from companies that want the same great service for their teams.
Aha, this isn’t all out of generosity then, I am shocked!
No, but honestly we really have a mission. We believe that people having to manually stay on top of contact information is something that should be from the last century. There is no reason when the technology exists that anyone should have the wrong phone number or get email bouncebacks.
And, we have gotten lots of help from others along our journey. We received funding and resources from people like the French government, Seedcamp and Business France. So why shouldn’t we give something back when it isn’t going to hurt us?
This all sounds really nice, why didn’t you just do this from the beginning?
Actually, we did, we launched as a free beta product, but we had a hard time determining whether the service was really of value without putting a dollar figure against it. So we took the very good advice of Saul Klein and Reshma Sohoni of Seedcamp to charge a bit, even a very minimum, and to see if people found it valuable enough to pay.
And they did! So for a while we employed the freemium model. We offered limited service ongoing, and paid only once you had more than a certain number of contact updates.
But there were a few problems with this model:
Trying to figure out where the service should be limited and what to do when someone on a free plan had more than the maximum number of contacts was a real headache. Should we save their extra contacts in case they paid later, or should we just ignore them and have them start from scratch?
Plus, we really hated hearing from frustrated users and feeling like the limited free product didn’t represent the best of what we could offer. How could someone recommend that their company use Evercontact when they didn’t see how valuable our unlimited service could be?
Do you expect finances to drop to nothing for a while?
Actually it’s funny, we had warned our investors that this would happen at first. But since we already had a great base of companies, the initial revenue drop has been much less than expected. And we expect this slight downward curve to be corrected upwards as more professional users recommend us to their companies.
And besides the team plans, we do still have some paid services, like Flashback, which scans your older mails and finds contacts that are outdated or missing from your address book. If you are a new user of Evercontact this can be really valuable to put you on a good base right from the start.
It’s been completely smooth sailing then?
Well no, it was really difficult for the team here. They had been so conditioned to looking at revenues to validate the company and our product that the change in business model and the attention now paid to usage vs finance was hard to take.
So how do I get the free service?
But what if I am already a user, what’s in it for me?
You can invite your friends to use the service! Just login at www.evercontact.com and click on Boost Your Results to invite them directly or share the link. They’ll appreciate your gift of a free 1 month Flashback as well as continued service, and you’ll be sure to have their latest contact information when they write to thank you 🙂
We hope you are as happy as we are for this news!
If there is anyone out there with feedback or advice for us as we start our new free adventure, we’d really appreciate it, please feel free to leave your comments below!