Are you shy about prices?

Recently, I’ve been working with a client on their web & content strategy.  They currently have two websites, and we were examining the Google Analytics data for both.

While so doing, something rather interesting popped out.  The most looked at page (after the home page), for both websites, was ‘PRICING’.  Worryingly, the pricing pages on both websites didn’t really contain any indication of what the price actually was – they just waffled.

And I don’t know about you, but pricing pages that just waffle really annoy me.

So where does that leave you when it comes to providing pricing information?  Should you put prices on your website?  Should you have a pricing page which says ‘due to the varying requirements blah blah blah…. we’re not going to tell you our prices’?  What is the answer?

I’ve been banging on a lot about context these days, and I think that is important here.  If there is an answer, it’s likely ‘it depends’.  That’s a real let down I know, but it’s true.  But rather than leave it at that, let’s dive in a bit deeper:

Why might you want to include price on your website?

People appreciate your honesty – and it demonstrates a confidence in what you offer.
I remember when I first started out in business, I used to want to hide behind the settee when people asked about price.  I would almost feel like apologising for the prices I quoted.  Now, because I am confident of the value I offer, I’ll give people an indication of price as soon as they ask – no problem!

You will filter out calls from people who are looking for your product at half your price.
I get a fair few calls from people looking to set up what I call ‘hobby businesses’ (sorry in advance if this sounds entirely snooty, it’s not meant to).  Again, when I first set out in business, I would arrange to meet them, spend lots of time discussing their requirements and sending them a proposal.  At which point everything flopped, when they discovered that a website from me costs more than a couple of hundred pounds.  My mistake, not theirs – I should have been more upfront.  Nowadays I will ask prospects whether they have a budget and/or give them an indication of price before I even start talking about meeting.  If you have prices on your website, you make that break one step further – saving even more time & effort!

It can help with search results – a lot of people will be searching something like ‘how much does a website cost’.
This can be particularly beneficial if you offer a relatively niche product, as this example shows:

Why might you not?

“I don’t want the competition to know what I’m charging”.
Fair enough.  But double check whether it’s because you’re afraid of your prices, or whether you really believe it will put you at a competitive disadvantage.

“My business is not focussed around price”.
It’s like the boutique store where there are no price labels… it does portray a certain impression doesn’t it? This was something I discussed at length with my client. Their business is definitely not focussed on price – rather top notch service & quality. But there was still the question of whether the ‘no prices’ impression was the right one – or whether by having no prices, people might wrongly assume the company was ‘out of their range’.

“I want people to phone me up for prices… so I can start engaging with them”.
This one for me is probably the most compelling reason as to why you wouldn’t have prices on your website.  I had an enquiry from someone the other day, and at the end of the conversation, she asked me for an indication of price – which I duly gave her.  She kindly went on to tell me that had I quoted double the figure, she would still have wanted to meet with me to discuss further.  (Yes, there was a slight moment of ‘bother!’ that went through my head, but don’t worry, it didn’t last long!)  If my prices were on my website, I would perhaps lose that opportunity to convince people, in-person, that they should be doing business with me, regardless of price.

So in conclusion…

For my business, if I was to have a pricing page, it would have some hard & fast figures on it – just because honesty & openness are very important to me.  A detailed price list is genuinely not do-able, as each project is calculated based on specific requirements, but an indicative ‘starting’/guide price, hosting price, etc etc definitely is.  Maybe a new pricing page will feature on my long-delayed re-design…

You? Think about it! Only you can make the decision at the end of the day, but hopefully this discussion will help you to make that decision.

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