The decision to put your prices on your site is a strategic one for your business. In some ways it can make you feel vulnerable.
But ask yourself: What does my prospective customer want and need?
Studies have shown the consumers want to see prices of products and services. Even a price range is sufficient. But many business owners have reasons why they prefer to not include pricing on their websites.
How can you decide which way to go? Here are some pros and cons to consider:
YES: Nine reasons to put your fees and prices on your website
- Trust. Many potential customers will not do business with a company that is not forthcoming about pricing and fees. They simply won’t waste their time talking with a sales rep only to find out that the price is too high, or that the price is too low, which may feel cheap or low quality to them.
- Price Range. Customers want to know what they’re going to pay for your service or product, or at least have a ballpark figure. It helps them with budgeting.
- Unaffordability Beliefs. Some customers believe (perhaps incorrectly) that if the price is not shown, then it must be a very high price. They reason that if they aren’t shown the price, they probably can’t afford it.
- Efficiency. People who can’t afford your services or products will not request a prospect sales phone call. Hear me out: do you want to spend time convincing people on the phone that they can afford you, when they really think they can’t or don’t see the value you are offering? It’s hard to have sales meetings with people who have unrealistic expectations because they don’t know the fees. Trying to convince them is a hard-sell tactic that I choose to avoid.
- Branding. Pricing is a strategic marketing decision and helps to set your brand apart from others. Are you the low-cost leader? Are you the expert who people pay more for because you’re worth it? Your fees tell the prospective customer where you place yourself among the others in your industry and which target market you want to serve. There is no right or wrong pricing strategy. The key is that you’ve developed a pricing alignment strategy while doing your marketing and branding plans.
- Discounting. For products and classes, there’s typically no negotiation in pricing: either they purchase it or they don’t. If you want a tiered pricing approach for your products and classes, you can either offer coupon codes or separate landing pages for those who will get your discounted pricing, while keeping your full-price offer on your website as well. If you don’t plan to offer discounts, you can offer payment plans, if that helps your customer with a buying decision. If you offer special pricing for nonprofits, put your regular fees on your website and add a sentence about the availability of nonprofit pricing.
- Budgeting. If people feel like they can’t afford you, but want to work with you, they now have a price-point from which they can start savings towards working with you. I have had a number of clients tell me that they saved for three months in order to work with me.
- Honoring. Your customers are busy and time-constrained. They need information at the moment when they have time to do their research. Don’t make them jump through hoops. Try to be helpful in getting them all the information they need, not just in your pricing, but in the valuable benefits you offer.
- Information Gathering. People who are looking for a price range so they can get some budgeting ideas may be a perfect customer for you. One of the important stages your customers’ sales process is the Information Gathering phase when they are researching possible solutions. Get to know your prospective customer’s process for making buying decisions and plan your marketing accordingly. This is especially true when marketing to women: they do a lot of research before they buy.
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NO: Ten reasons not to put your fees and prices on your site
- Customized Services or Products. Sometimes you can’t list your prices, because each person gets a customized quote based on what they need from you, like a home builder or a website designer. But you can offer packages with a note that says, “Fees start at…” for each package. Or show them examples of your work and indicate what each of those project fees were.
- Competition. You’re afraid your competition will find out how much you charge. Bad news: your competition already knows what you charge. It’s easy for them to have a friend pose as a prospective customer and get your entire price list. Or your customers tell others what they paid. You are going to have a tough time keeping your pricing private, especially in the internet age.
- Value and Selling Strategy. You feel that they need to talk with you first, so that you can show them how valuable your service is, before quoting them a price. That is the job of your website copywriting. If your website is written well, it will easily show someone whether you can solve their problem and that the price they’ll pay is worth it. Then, when a prospective customer finally does call you, they’ve already been pre-sold by your website and you don’t have to struggle to convince them of anything. I figure if a sales rep needs to speak with me, it’s because they think the product or service “needs explaining,” or that they need to “handle my objections.” Neither is a good excuse to waste my time on something that doesn’t need explaining or should have been explained thoroughly on the website. Need help with your copywriting? Read my blog post on 6 Copywriting Steps for Non-Copywriters.
- Rapport. Your service is based on your personality and your rapport with your customers. Therefore, they need to speak with you in order to make the human connection and see if it’s a good fit. I agree with this 100%. But if it’s a perfect fit, and they can’t afford you, how does that benefit either of you? Why not put some videos on your website, or offer some free webinar or workshops, so they get a chance to “experience” you before the sales meeting is scheduled.
- Price Fixing. You (or your industry) is concerned about price fixing. By definition, price fixing is a conscious agreement among businesses within an industry to keep the price of something unnaturally high or low, instead of letting free-market forces determine what each customer pays. Putting your own prices on your own website is not a conscious agreement with other businesses, it’s not a conspiracy, and therefore is not price fixing. If you’re really concerned that you’ll be accused of price fixing, consult your business attorney.
- Mimics. You are concerned that competitors who are less qualified than you will increase their prices to mimic yours, but offer poor service. Let them. You cannot be responsible for what your competitor does. If they charge too much and offer a shoddy product or service, they’ll be out of business soon enough anyway.
- Uniqueness. You feel that your service or product is not unique, and is exactly the same as what your competitor offers. This is called a “commodity.” But a commodity implies that what the customer is purchasing is the same, regardless of the vendor (like milk, flour or gasoline). By being clear on what makes you unique, different, or better than your competitor, you avoid being seen as a commodity. This is called your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If you don’t have one, get one.
- Ongoing Marketing. You’re concerned that if someone sees your prices but doesn’t reach out to you, you won’t have any way to connect with them in the future. It’s an easily fixable problem. This is where having a free or low-cost offer on your website which adds them to your mailing list is helpful. Think: email newsletter, webinar, tutorial, or whitepaper. However, you need to handle these people differently than you would a bona fide prospect, because they’re in the Information Gathering stage of the sales cycle, not the Decision Making phase. Establish your sales and marketing strategy and funnel, and reach out to people based on where they are along the sales path.
- Price Shopping and Tire Kickers. If they’re shopping on price alone, they’re probably not your ideal customer unless you are Wal-Mart. People who shop only based on price will leave you when they find someone cheaper. So if you put your prices on your website, you get them to exit before they waste your time. If a prospective customer is truly only shopping on price, then it wouldn’t matter if you tell them the price on the phone or on your website.
- Not Knowing Your Worth. It’s true. Many small business owners feel uncomfortable setting their prices because they don’t truly know their value. Here’s my blog post about setting your service fees.
What to do?
Whether you put your prices on your website or not is a personal business decision. It depends on your business and marketing strategy. Just make sure you make your decision based on what’s helpful to your customer and right for your marketing plan and brand, not based on your fears about what “might” happen.
If you don’t put your prices on your website, it may be helpful to explain to people why you didn’t include them, and explain what the next step is in the process. Prospective customers will be curious to understand why they need to speak with you first.
So…should you put your pricing on your website or not?
The best thing you can do is test it. Put your prices on your site for four weeks, and compare the results. If you get more inquiries, more sales, easier conversions, then you know your audience found it helpful.
You’ll never know if something works or not until you try it.
Do you put your prices on your site? Why or why not?
When visiting other sites, do you want to find pricing there? If you don’t see a price on a website, does that mean you stop shopping there?