May 04, 2016
Should you list your prices online? 3 Reasons why you should
Whether or not to post your prices online is a long, ongoing debate especially for service-based businesses. For product-based businesses, it’s a no-brainer. In nearly all cases, you need to post your prices online.
But for service-based businesses, the answer to the question, “Should you list your prices online?” isn’t a definitive yes or no.
In the previous article, I gave three reasons against posting your prices online, but in this article, I want to talk about three good reasons you should share your prices on your website.
It’s common practice among your competitors or in your industry
If listing prices for services is common among your competitors, then it’s something that you want to consider doing as well.
If others in your industry are doing it, but you’re not, then visitors to your site may assume that your prices are higher than your competitors’ prices.
Not listing a price is a practice more often associated with high-end, luxury products or services and the saying, “If you have to ask, then you can’t afford it.” If this doesn’t describe your business, then share your prices.
Also, when your competitors list prices, then it sets an expectation among your target audience to be transparent when it comes to pricing. In this case, listing your prices may build trust with your audience.
It may save you time
If you are bombarded with requests for your prices, first, congratulations. Your marketing is serving you well if you hear from potential clients regularly. But if you’re tired of answering the same question about your prices day after day, then offload that information to your website.
Even if you have a canned email response, you’re still spending time reading and replying to emails. You could spend less time in your inbox, while reducing the number of emails by posting your prices online.
Your website can be your best employee if you know how to use it. If your audience requests your prices often enough (two or more times probably indicates that this is an important topic for your audience), then it’s time to put that information online.
Depending upon how much information you have, either add a question to an existing FAQ page or dedicate a page to your pricing. And make sure that the pricing is easy to find by linking to the appropriate page from relevant pages and from your navigation bar.
You won’t do yourself or your audience any favors if the pricing information is difficult to find.
As an added bonus, by adding new content to your website, you’ve given search engines more content to index. There’s an SEO benefit to be had.
It eliminates those who are not prospective clients
A visitor who likes your work, but knows that she doesn’t have the budget to work with you is unlikely to contact you, which is a good thing.
By listing your prices online, you eliminate anyone who isn’t a potential client sooner rather than later. This is especially important if one of the first questions you ask a potential client concerns his or her budget.
New clients may not know how much to budget for your services particularly if cost varies greatly in your industry and if they have no prior experience with services like yours.
Web design and development is a good example. With competition from other countries, prices can start in the low hundreds. A web developer whose ideal client expects to spend in the mid-four figures for a custom designed and developed website doesn’t want to spend time with a client whose budget is thousands less.
If a visitor to your site contacts you after seeing your prices, then that visitor may be better qualified. You hope that a visitor who views your pricing doesn’t expect to negotiate a considerably lower price.
Listing your prices online can also eliminate the window shoppers and bargain hunters as well as deter the tire kickers from reaching out to you.
Likewise, sharing your prices may help those in the planning stages of a project who need to estimate future costs. With any luck, those who researched your prices will come back later when they have the budget they need to work with you.
To list or not to list your prices
If you want to list prices for services on your site, but worry about the risks of losing prospects, then consider these methods.
Common services or package pricing
You could list prices for your most common services or packages, but emphasize that you offer other individualized services. In which case, prospects can always contact you to learn more or to request a custom quote.
A career coach, for example, may list the price for her most popular package: $250 for a 90-minute brainstorm session with one follow-up email. She can make clear on her site that for those who need additional guidance, she has other options available, including ongoing, personalized coaching.
If you know from experience the average time for a specific project type, you might consider listing a starting price for that type of project.
I know from previous projects what a custom web design project includes and how many hours those tasks take to complete. But I also know that much can depend upon the client and her requirements.
When I meet with a client for the first time, I typically provide a starting price for a custom web design project before we talk requirements. That starting price reflects specific items that I consider standard to every web design project, including:
- Responsive web design
- Google Analytics integration
- 2 hour training and a custom training manual
After gathering a client’s requirements, I let her know that she’ll receive a proposal with a custom quote that reflects the work that is unique to her website needs. If she doesn’t require additional features and functions, then her quote will likely come very close to the starting price.
The risk with listing only a starting price is that clients may equate the starting price with the final project price. If the actual project price exceeds the starting price significantly, then it may scare off your prospect.
A price range shows both a floor and a ceiling when it comes to cost. When a client sees a range, he or she may be inclined to want to keep the cost close to the bottom of the range, but may feel assured if there’s a perceived cap to the costs.
There is always the risk that project cost exceeds the top of the price range. It may be necessary, in this case, to provide a wide range—maybe the top price is as much as three or four times the bottom price.
This article and the previous one are intended for those who know and are comfortable with their prices. But if that’s not where you are currently with your business, then in the next article, I’ll talk about different pricing strategies that you can use to price your services.