Pricing, it's a contentious issue. Maybe it's the Britishness in us, or just that we're afraid of putting people off before we get to speak to them, but a question that comes up time and again is 'should you include pricing on your website?'.
We're going to take a look at why we think you should and how including pricing on your website can actually help you be more Inbound!
Why are we afraid of pricing?
A lot of people, especially British folk, are brought up with a strange view of money and try to avoid discussing it where we can. This doesn't help matters to begin with.
Moving on from avoiding talking about money, when it comes to pricing for our business, there is a definite mentality amongst new businesses and freelancers to under price and therefore undervalue their services because of the perceived intimidation of being the new kid on the block, or in order to win that vital starting out patronage.
Lastly, if you don't typically come from a sales background, there is an inherent fear that discussing budgets and costs, especially early on in the sales process, will seem too mercenary or even a little vulgar.
So, who hides their pricing?
Typically it's those businesses in the service industry. Think about it, if you run an ecommerce outfit, an online shop, it would be really difficult to make this work without having your pricing readily available. But this sort of business is usually dealing with physical products, or certainly commodities that can be itemised and priced as a pre-packaged deal.
Service-based businesses most commonly object about displaying pricing and investment information for 3 reasons...
1. Businesses who find it hard to price for variable services
Service-based businesses, like ours in the digital marketing sphere, generally offer services that boil down to trading time for money. Because the amount of time often varies so greatly between projects, depending on the needs of each particular client, it can be difficult to offer even a remotely accurate price to a prospective client.
Reverse this thinking by: Looking at your most common services and thinking about them as a product with options.
By treating your variable, difficult-to-price services as products with flexible options, you can start to analyse trends in previous projects to find a base starting price. Once you have this starting price, you can begin to build out some bolt-on options or additional extras.
This way you're giving a prospect something tangible to work with against their budget, but also allowing your business some negotiation room for different client needs.
2. Businesses who are worried about their competition seeing their prices
This is a tough objection to work around, but many businesses spend a great deal of time trying to live a dual life; one in which they are trying with all their might to reach new customers, but at the same time, hide as much information from their competitors as possible.
Reverse this thinking by: Worrying less about what your competition are up to.
Buyers are always thinking about price. Depending on your buyers' stage in their buying journey, they might not be looking at solutions to their problems just yet, but they will always have an idea of budget in their minds.
It's true, your competition could try to undercut you, but to do this, they'd also have to start talking about price much earlier in the sales conversation - i.e. by putting it on their marketing material.
Your job here is to start the sales conversation much earlier with your prospects and get across the value of your offerings and how it supersedes that of your competition. After all, you very much get what you pay for.
3. Businesses who fear they'll put people off
Take a look at the graphic above. This is basically what you can expect to happen when you put your prices on your website. Your visitors and leads viewing your website will fall into one of three categories:
- People who are priced out of your services because of low budgets
- The grey middle ground of those with flexible budgets
- People for whom your pricing is well within their expected / budgeted range
Of course, those within the green range are great and haven't been affected. It's the other two that will likely dissuade you from the decision to include pricing on your website.
Reverse this thinking by: focussing on appealing to your ideal clients, their average budgets and reducing pricing shock
It's understandable why this fear is the most compelling, given that visitors in the red section will almost certainly exit your website and start another search elsewhere (all might not be lost, but it's a good bet that if your pricing is way beyond their budget they won't follow up).
This isn't a bad thing, however, as it's more than likely you aren't a good fit for one another: you've saved some time otherwise lost working with a potential client who isn't a good fit, and your prospect has saved themselves from exploring a service that they absolutely cannot afford.
But it's the uncertain middle ground that is the largest concern to businesses as they represent a real wild card section of prospects. It might include people who are out of budget but nevertheless interested, but it can also push away the people who are only just outside of affording your services.
The latter, more flexible prospects might very well end their engagement with your business there, even though a skilled sales person could highlight the value of your services and coax out a slight increase in budget, or even a discount on your costs to secure a deal.
Some ways to reduce this pricing turn off could be:
- Employing testimonials from key accounts to add value to your services
- Highlighting what you offer to justify your prices - this is especially powerful when compared with a competitor
- Show how good your services are with data. People like to see results and things in action. Let them try that demo, show them photos before and after, give them charts showing growth, whatever it takes to convince them to reach out.
How can showing my pricing help my inbound marketing efforts?
The whole point of Inbound Marketing is to attract more of your best, most ideal clients and to help start a conversation with them. The simple act of being open and transparent with your pricing and how this stacks up with your expertise and value is one great way to start aligning yourself with potential clients who are a better mutual fit.
Looking back to the chart above, as illogical as it seems, by actually putting off bad-fit prospects at an earlier stage, you'll naturally see an increase in engagement from more ideal clients.
Additionally, when it comes to talking sales, you won't experience the familiar scene of progressing a lead so far through your sales pipeline, only to have them baulk when the subject of investment crops up. Remember, no matter how good your sales team are, you will always struggle to sell to prospects who don't have the budget!
So you should include pricing on your website then?
Well, yes and no. Personally, I think more businesses should aim to up their transparency game and make it easier to access prices and costs.
However, you've got to determine what's right for your business, who you want to deal with and how. The three objections we talked about earlier are the most common, but it might be that you have different reasons for refraining from discussing pricing more openly.
If it's something you absolutely can't work with or get around then stick to your guns and leave pricing for a later conversation.
Use data to decide
One of the best ways to decide anything is to employ the tactics of Mr Spock and let logic and data do the talking!
Using tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar to monitor the traffic, user flows and hot-spots / drop-offs on your website is one way to measure how your audience are interacting with your content and can give you an indication of what's causing the most pain for your users. For example, it might be that you see a lot of activity across your site but a large portion of visitors leave at your pricing page.
You can then use tools like Hotjar to interact with visitors through survey prompts or mini-questionnaires to see if they find the information useful or off-putting.
Finally, there are complete, closed-loop solutions, such as HubSpot, which allow you to see where the potential pitfalls might be, or how people view your pricing information, right there in a visitor-specific CRM record - neat!