Unbiased increase prices; how should you react?
Written by Phil Bray on 23/05/19
No one likes a price rise, so the news that Unbiased has increased the cost of enquiries was hardly going to be welcomed by subscribers. However, it’s not all bad news and we, for one, aren’t losing faith with Unbiased.
Before we explain why though, let’s look at what’s changed.
In a communication to subscribers sent earlier this week Unbiased confirmed that:
“As a valued subscriber please be aware that the cost of enquiries will be increasing from 1 June 2019. The new price of enquiries and tokens will be £45+VAT each.”
It also confirmed that the cost of a monthly subscription will remain unchanged. In a separate change, enquiry tokens will now only be valid for six months rather than 12 as was previously the case.
A 50% increase in prices was bound to provoke a reaction and some subscribers took to social media to complain. To get a wider picture we launched a Twitter poll asking:
155 votes were cast, with the following results:
- Accept fewer enquiries – 21%
- Accept more enquiries – 1%
- Continue as before – 33%
- Cancel your subscription – 46%
It’s clear then that the reaction has been mixed. After a 50% price rise, when sentiment towards Unbiased was already variable, that’s hardly surprising.
- It’s clear that some firms will purchase fewer enquiries. Some will be concerned about price, although it’s preferable to focus on return on investment (ROI). Understandably, others will possibly be more circumspect about the enquiries they accept and less inclined to take a chance on a 50/50 enquiry.
- The 1% who suggest they will accept more enquiries might be on to something, especially if nearly 7 out of 10 subscribers take fewer enquiries or cancel their subscription.
- Hopefully, thoughts of cancelling subscriptions are simply a knee-jerk reaction, which will pass. As part of a comprehensive strategy, Unbiased remains an excellent way of connecting consumers with advisers and planners despite the price rise.
We asked Unbiased for their reaction to our poll. They have provided us with a statement, which we’ve included at the end of this blog.
So, why are we still supportive?
Unbiased has its faults. The way matched enquiries are distributed is frustrating and confusing, while the Response Rating is flawed.
On the plus side:
- Its reach is immense with large monthly search volumes
- We see very attractive returns for those advisers and planners who spend time carefully building and maintain their profile
- It’s not even certain that the price rise will cause the ROI to fall as subscribers may become more selective of which enquiries they accept, while the number available may rise if we see a mass exodus of subscribers
For these reasons, we will continue to recommend Unbiased (as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy) to most of the advisers and planners we work with despite the price rise.
Of course, there are times when it will work less well – for example, businesses in rural areas and working in a very tight niche. However, for all others, if you build an effective profile, develop processes for dealing with enquiries and commit to Unbiased, I see no reason why it shouldn’t produce a steady flow of new enquiries.
Three tips to get the best from Unbiased
1. Invest time: So many Unbiased profiles are poor. Images are often missing or low quality, while the profile itself has been poorly completed or sections left blank. If your profile is failing and you’ve not updated it for a while the two things are probably connected!
2. Calculate your ROI and take decisions based on evidence not gut feel: Some enquiries will fall at the first hurdle; others will be clients for years to come. That’s why we encourage advisers and planners to judge the results over a prolonged period of at least a year. You can only do that though if you keep detailed records of the enquiries you’ve received and the outcome.
3. Include it as part of a strategy: No business should rely on a single source of new enquiries. If you use Unbiased (and other directories), it should be part of a wider strategy which generates enquiries from your target clients from multiple sources. That includes considering your wider online presence. For example, if a prospect is attracted by your Unbiased profile, but your website is poor or they can’t find you after a Google search, they are probably less likely to get in touch.
Here to help
If the price rise is the motivation you need to review how you use Unbiased here’s how we can help:
- Use our free checklist to improve your profile. You can find it by clicking here.
- Ask us to build your Unbiased profile. We charge £250 plus VAT to build your profile, which includes training on how to get the best from it. If you would like to know more please email [email protected] and we’ll tell you more.
A response from Unbiased:
We approached Unbiased for a response to our Twitter poll. They have provided us with a statement, which reads:
“We’ve managed to shield our customers from any price rises for over four years and the decision to do so now on the enquiry price alone was not taken lightly. The rise will allow us to invest further in raising brand awareness when consumers are seeking advice and in targeted acquisition marketing to bring even more high quality enquiries, things professionals have repeatedly told us they really value. We’re also working constantly to inform and educate consumers on the Value of Advice through the media and the content we produce so as to steer more people towards advice, something very few other organisations do in such a positive and sustained way.
An Unbiased subscription still remains one of the most dependable and cost-effective ways to market your business – our ‘Plus’ subscription for example already includes one token per month to use on the enquiry of your choice and so we have been pleased to have maintained all our subscription prices – in fact one of our customers summed it up with his comment ‘the package which includes a free enquiry (makes that £59 price a better deal than before)’.
From talking with our customers we would agree with your opinion, in that the ROI will still stack up well for the majority of Unbiased customers. The poll response doesn’t reflect our current experience of what those contacting us directly are doing but as always we will continue to listen and react to what our customers say. Interestingly there has been much validation from our customers on how they use their Unbiased subscription – describing it as ‘an important source of new business for me at this stage in my business growth’, ‘a vital lifeblood’ and ‘great client relationships through Unbiased leads’.
Additionally, many of our consumer users tell us via their Trustpilot reviews and testimonials on adviser profiles that they really value the Unbiased connection service and the quick response they get from professionals on the platform – also identifying friendly customer service, high level of initial information provided and the exceptional quality of the advice provided as being important factors in why they rate Unbiased so highly. Managing these aspects well is clearly important in ensuring advisers achieve the best conversion rate from Unbiased generated enquiries.
We provide a service to a wide range of professionals with different business needs and therefore offer a variety of features so as to suit all their requirements. Depending on the type of business, our additional features such as call tracking, business profiles, location plus and token bundles allow them the flexibility to tailor their subscription to their business needs. At its heart, the Unbiased subscriptions enable professionals to market their business to a high volume of quality consumers and manage their new client pipeline through their dashboard with the analytics suite.”