Displaying pricing on your website: How to discuss cost and pricing in your content marketing

Should you display prices on your website? The answer for most businesses is yes, you should be discussing cost and price on your website and in your content.

Before you turn away, this is not a discussion about simply having a definitive price for all your products and services, which in many cases is simply not possible.

Whether you have exact pricing for your products and services or not, the purpose of this discussion is about providing your buyers with accurate and transparent pricing and cost information to help them understand how pricing works in your industry and make better buying decisions.

So with that in mind, let’s reword the question on your mind from ‘should we put our prices on our website?’ to ‘what’s the best way to discuss cost and pricing on our website?’.

Your questions about cost and price might be:

  • What’s the best way to display pricing on our website?
  • Should we display pricing on our website?
  • Should we put prices on our website?

It might not always be possible to display exact pricing on your website, but it’s certainly possible to discuss the factors that influence pricing.

There are four main sections in this article:

  1. Why should we be discussing price and cost on our website?
  2. Why do companies hide their pricing?
  3. How should we discuss and display pricing on our website?
  4. How will your company benefit from discussing cost and price?

Why should you be discussing price and cost? Seeing the world from your buyer’s perspective

Content marketing fails when you can’t see the world from your buyer’s perspective

What do we already know about consumer behaviour?

  • On average 70% of the buying decision is made online before a buyer contacts a business for the first time.
  • We are officially in the era of the research obsessed consumer. We want to do our research before contacting a business and making a buying decision.
  • We don’t like being sold to. We want to make a confident and educated buying decision and have more control in the sales process.
  • There are key topic areas that every single prospect needs to have addressed before contacting a business for the first time, and pricing is one of those major topic areas.

When it comes to the cost of a product or service, we might have a budget in mind, but until we look around we don’t know how realistic it is. We start doing our research and we have questions – Why are some products or services more expensive? Why are some cheaper? What factors are affecting pricing? How do I know what is a reasonable price to pay?

The key to understanding the need for discussing price and cost on your website and in your content comes from being more conscious of your own buying behaviour.

What have you bought recently? What process did you go through? What information did you need to help you make a buying decision?

Here are 5 key factors you probably considered:

  • The factors that influence price and cost – what made the price higher or lower?
  • You read reviews/case studies from other people that have bought the same product or service
  • You were probably concerned about some of the problems associated with the product or service and wanted to make sure you knew what to expect and how those problems were solved
  • You probably compared products and services with other similar and related products/services
  • I bet you also looked at the best in the industry and then compared those against others that were the best

Now that you’re more conscious of your own buying behaviour, I urge you to apply this thinking to your ideal customers. How do they see the world? What does their buying process look like? What information do they need to help them make a confident and educated buying decision?

We have to close the gap between how your buyers search, find and use information to make buying decisions, and how your company communicates with their content online. There’s a mismatch, and it should be clear to you when you start to see the world through the eyes of your buyer.

If you fail to see the world from your buyer’s perspective, the rest of this article will make very little sense to you, and you’ll struggle to get results from your content marketing efforts.

Related content:

"Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable sales and marketing strategy..."

“Consumer ignorance is no longer a viable sales and marketing strategy…”

“Companies often say, “I don’t want to talk about price because I don’t want to commoditize what I sell.” But let’s look at that. What commoditizes something? It’s when someone feels that two or more products or services are essentially the same thing, and therefore end up choosing the “cheaper” option. Well, as businesses, when we refuse to educate the marketplace on all the factors that dictate “value”, what we unintentionally do is commoditize the very thing that we were attempting to de-commoditize. Fact is, ignorance in the marketplace breeds commoditization, and too many businesses are not just allowing, but spawning ignorance in the marketplace by refusing to address this most essential part of today’s digital buyer”

Marcus Sheridan, Global Keynote Speaker and Author of They Ask You Answer

Buy They Ask You Answer (AMAZoN UK)

Why do companies hide their pricing and choose not to discuss cost and price on their website?

We’re only getting started on this topic, but hopefully, you have already shifted your own thinking in terms of how possible it is for you to discuss pricing on your company website.

In my experience, mindset, assumptions and complacency are what stop companies from discussing pricing on their website. They think that because they don’t lay out their products as Amazon does, that talking about price doesn’t apply to them.

If that’s how everyone else is thinking then that creates an opportunity for someone like you to take advantage of the situation.

Here are six main reasons why companies do not discuss cost and price on their website:

  1. We’re worried that our competition will find out what we’re charging
  2. We’re worried that our prices will turn the customer away
  3. We have more than one price
  4. We want people to contact us first, then we can give them the price
  5. We offer a bespoke service, so the price varies from buyer to buyer
  6. We don’t talk about pricing in our industry

Which of these apply to your company? Let’s look at each one…

Related content:

1. Educating the competition – We’re worried that our competition will find out what we’re charging

Your customers determine the content you create. Not your competition

Do you know what your competition charge? How easy would it be for you to find out what your competition charge?

Everyone either knows already or can find out easily. Costs and prices are easy enough to find these days. Also, people aren’t as interested in what you’re doing as much as you think they are. They’ve got their own problems to deal with.

We have to remember why we are doing this in the first place. Why are you considering discussing pricing on your website? It’s because you want to offer a better customer experience, which has nothing to do with your competitors.

The number one factor that should determine what content you create and publish on your website is your customers. Not your competition.

Your competition shouldn’t define how you go to market. Your competition shouldn’t define the service and experience you create for your customers.

You make these decisions because it’s the right thing to do. You know that if you can provide as much information up front as possible, your buyers will be more confident when they contact you for the first time.

You might be worrying that your competition, upon finding out how much you charge, decides to undercut you.

If the only reason your buyer decides to buy from you is due to price, then perhaps you have bigger problems than discussing pricing on your website.

We already know that understanding how pricing works is information that your buyers need to help them make a confident decision.

As consumers, we want to make a good buying decision. We want to be educated, confident and in control.

By discussing pricing on your website you are putting your buyers in control.

Just because you don’t discuss price, doesn’t mean that your buyers can’t get it from somewhere else. Would you rather they got the information from you or your competition?

Throughout the buying process, your buyers will be comparing you against your competition. To have a seat at the table you will have to provide pricing information, especially if your competition also have pricing information.

You’re either part of the conversation, or you aren’t. It’s up to you, but I know that you’d rather own and control the conversation than be on the sidelines.

2. We’re worried that if we discuss pricing some of our customers will not want to do business with us

Give your buyers everything they need to make a decision and then trust them to make the right decision

A big part of the philosophy behind content marketing is trusting your customers and being confident that they will do the right thing for them.

They can’t do the right thing if they only have some of the information they need in order to make a decision. It’s our job to give them everything they need.

What’s the difference between your buyers finding out your price before they contact you, and then finding out after they contact you?

The information is exactly the same. All you’re doing is delaying it.

Here are a few likely scenarios:

  1. They have no idea what your prices are and don’t contact you
  2. They have no idea what your prices are and contact you
  3. They know exactly what your prices are and don’t contact you
  4. They know exactly what your prices are and contact you

In an ideal world, you only want qualified buyers contacting you for the first time, anything other than that is a waste of your resources and time.

Something that every business wants – better quality customers, spending more, buying more often, coming back time and time again, and referring to their friends and colleagues.

We want our customers to contact us for the first time with as much information they can possibly have. This is what a good quality customer looks like. They have done their research and sold the product or service to themselves.

Everyone that is deterred by your pricing isn’t an ideal customer, yet. They are probably on the hunt for a deal, a discount or can’t simply can’t afford to buy from you. Why would you want to spend time with someone that doesn’t have the ability or willingness to buy from you?

By discussing pricing on your website you deter time-wasters and you attract ideal buyers.

3. We want people to contact us first, then we can give them the price

”If we can just get more people to phone us, I know we can sell it to them”

As consumers, we don’t have to put ourselves into that awkward sales conversation anymore. We do not want to be sold to.

We are officially in the era of the research obsessed consumer. We will read, watch and listen to content to help us make a good buying decision. It doesn’t matter what it is – if it means a lot to us, we’re not willing to make a mistake.

Your buyers want to know the price before they contact you, and if you can’t give the information to them, they will find it somewhere else.

The company that provides all the information has a much better chance of having a seat at the table.

4. We don’t just have one price or a set price

Most businesses don’t, which is another good reason why you need to do everything you can to make things clear for people buying from you for the first time.

Don’t forget, this isn’t about simply ‘displaying’ prices, it’s about ‘discussing’ price.

So, regardless of how many products you have, or different levels of service, your buyers need clarity on why the price is set the way it is.

Your buyers want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. The sooner they have all the information, the sooner they will be in a position to buy from your company. You have the power to speed the process up by giving them all the information they need to make an educated buying decision.

By not discussing price and cost you are slowing the process down, and that’s not great for business.

"We shortened the sales process and cut down on the time we spent speaking to people..."

“We shortened the sales process and cut down on the time we spent speaking to people…”

“We offer bespoke products, and on some of those products, the manufacturers restrict us from giving specific pricing. We were always asked about price by potential customers but we didn’t use to talk about pricing on our website.

However, in 2017 we started to talk around the topic of pricing. Even though we weren’t able to provide an exact cost, we would give as much information as possible to help customers figure out how much they would be likely to pay.

It’s one of the best things we’ve done. Customers started contacting us already aware and willing to pay the price of our products and services. We shortened the sales process and cut down on the time we spent speaking to people that were looking to pay rock bottom prices and weren’t the right fit for us.”

– Debbie Ekins, Eagle Leisure

5. We offer a bespoke service, so the price is different for each buyer

I hope you’ve already managed to figure out how to get around this one. It goes back to want I mentioned at the start – moving the questions from displaying prices to discussing pricing. As a bespoke service or product company, it’s unlikely that you can provide a single price point, but you will still be able to provide information that helps your buyer understand the factors that influence costs and price.

You can provide example projects that you’ve worked on before. You can give them a ‘ball park figure’ along with the factors that influence price and cost – what makes the price go up, what makes the price go down.

Again, this argument works against you – the more complex your pricing, the more reason to discuss it and provide information to make it more clear.

  • Clarity = confidence
  • Confidence = trust
  • Trust = buyers

6. We don’t talk about pricing in our industry

I appreciate that there could be some pricing regulations in your specific industry, but again, remember this isn’t simply about providing a single price. If you simply cannot provide the exact price, is it possible to help your buyers understand how pricing works and the factors that are considered when it comes to pricing?

Also, is there an opportunity here for you? Is everyone else your industry sticking to the conventions of your industry? Are your buyers frustrated about how your industry works? Isn’t it about time that someone provided better information for people trying to buy the products or service that your industry offers?

Can you do it better than anyone else?

If anything, I ought to have done it sooner!

If anything, I ought to have done it sooner!

“I wondered for a while whether it would be a good idea to display my prices on my website, because I didn’t see many others doing the same. But I knew that it was the number one question that prospective clients asked, and so it made sense to answer it up front rather than giving myself extra work to do. I charge above the average rate for my industry, but displaying my prices and being able to talk around the issues of pricing has helped me a lot. I’m busier than ever. If anything, I ought to have done it sooner!”

John Espirian, Espirian.co.uk

How should we display our prices on our website?

Before we wrap things up, I’d like to show you exactly how to discuss price and cost on your website.

Generally speaking, it’s not just simply about explaining how cost and price works for your products and services. That’s part of it, but the bulk of the content is created to help your buyers understand how pricing and cost works in your industry or product category so that they can better navigate your industry.

I’ve pulled together a few examples from different types of companies that have done it really well, along with some examples of individual blog articles so you can get a feel for the different styles and approaches.

Let’s take a look through these examples. What can you learn from them? Can you do something similar for your company?

1. AC Architects: B2C – Bespoke self-build homes

AC Architects build dream homes in the UK and Allan and Przemek have done an incredible job of discussing pricing and costs for a relatively complex service.

I’ve found three different ways that ACA discuss the price and costs of building your own home.

ACA - Understanding the breakdown of prices at each stage of the self-build process
ACA – Understanding the breakdown of prices at each stage of the self-build process
  1. On their pricing page, ACA showcases a typical example of pricing for a self-build home along with a breakdown on the pricing at each stage. It’s clear and simple.
  2. You can download their in-depth eBook that walks the buyer through everything they need to know about building the home of their dreams, including what it’s like to work with ACA with a clear understanding of how they price their services.
  3. They have also published a single blog article that addresses the question ‘How much does a self-build architect cost?
What's this? ACA not only 1st position in Google Search Results, but also have the single best answer displayed as the snippet above position 1
What’s this? ACA not only 1st position in Google Search Results, but also have the single best answer displayed as the snippet above position 1

2. Espirian: B2B – Technical Copywriting Services

I love this pricing page from John Espirian. The average price of copywriting services is widely known and easy to find. John knows this, and he knows that his buyers do too.

Espirian - Clear and transparent pricing for his services in 2019
Espirian – Clear and transparent pricing for his services in 2019

He gets right to the point on his pricing page:

“The Professional Copywriters’ Network’s annual pay survey for 2018 revealed that the average day rate for copywriting was £342. My day rate starts at £425.”

His services are more expensive than the average price, and that’s exactly why he must address it up front. Smart.

However, he goes even further. John goes on to answer EVERY question you could think of that has some kind of influence on the buying decision based around the cost and price for his services.

Espirian - Answering ALL of your cost and pricing related questions
Espirian – Answering ALL of your cost and pricing related questions

This is what transparency looks like. Even though John is more expensive than the average technical copywriter, this pricing page builds confidence and trust with his buyers.

Related content:

3. Eagle Lesuire: B2C – Multiple product verticles with multiple pricing options

Eagle Leisure - Find what you're looking for quickly and easy
Eagle Leisure – Find what you’re looking for quickly and easy

Debbie at Eagle Leisure has a big job on her hands. Multiple different product verticals with multiple product ranges, with all different price ranges.

Some are fixed prices, some are bespoke and almost all products have maintenance costs after the sale, too.

Her job isn’t just as simple as a single page, or a single blog. In fact, her work is likely never going to be complete when it comes to providing her buyers with transparent pricing information.

Here are some of the top-performing pricing pages from Eagle Lesuire:

Related content:

4. Jammy Digital: B2B – Website design and development services

Jammy Digital - Showing clearly how the pricing process works for their buyers
Jammy Digital – Showing clearly how the pricing process works for their buyers

Martin and Lyndsay are in a competitive environment when it comes to creating transparent cost and price information for their buyers. There are so many options and companies to select from for designing and building your website.

I love what Jammy Digital have done with their pricing page. It’s friendly, clear and honest. However, they aren’t simply relying upon a single pricing page to help their buyers get a good grasp of how pricing works.

Jammy Digital - Going beyond just a single pricing page with more pricing related questions
Jammy Digital – Going beyond just a single pricing page with more pricing related questions

They go on to address further pricing related questions in their FAQ’s on this page, with blog articles like these:

How will your company benefit from discussing cost and price?

Are you doing everything you can to give your customers as much information as they need to navigate your industry and make an educated buying decision?

Since you’ve read this far I can only assume that you feeling compelled to change how your company discusses cost and price.

Let’s quickly lay out the benefits of discussing cost and price:

  • Highly qualified buyers
  • Filter out buyers that aren’t a fit for your company
  • More confident and trusting buyers
  • Being found in Google
  • Keeping buyers on your website
  • Buyers can prepare their budget effectively
  • Higher quality sales conversations
  • Stop wasting time fielding unqualified enquiries
  • A smoother and faster sales process
  • A better content marketing strategy
"Nobody else is talking about pricing on their website..."

“Nobody else is talking about pricing on their website…”

“Talking openly and honestly about pricing on our website has changed everything for us. We spend less time on sales calls which frees up a lot of time and everyone who does get in touch with us already know how much we charge so there are no surprises. By far, the best thing about being transparent when it comes to pricing is that we stand out in our industry. Nobody else is talking about it on their website which means it’s easier for our potential customers to trust us.”

Martin & Lyndsay, Jammy Digital

Will you discuss cost and price in your content? – The elephant in the room

It’s time for you to own the pricing conversation in your industry. If you don’t, your competition will…

So, we’ve looked at four main areas:

  1. Why you need to discuss cost and price
  2. Why companies choose not to discuss cost and price
  3. How to discuss cost and price
  4. How your company will benefit from discussing cost and price

There’s a lot of detail in this article, but I wanted to give you enough information to not only encourage and inspire you, but give you everything you need to go ahead and actually do this for your company.

At first, it may feel controversial to discuss cost and price, but when you start to see the world from your buyer’s perspective it should feel like the right thing to do.

Why would you deliberately hide information that’s a crucial part of the buying process? For me, it just doesn’t feel like you’re looking after your customer in the best way you can. If your buyers know you’re hiding something, how do you think that makes them feel? How do you feel if there’s no pricing information? Suspicious? Too expensive? Either way, it certainly doesn’t build trust.

You have to trust your buyers. Trust that your information is going to allow your buyer to make the right buying decision for them – even if that means not buying from you.

Your buyers don’t have time to mess around. They want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily so they can evaluate their options. They aren’t going to call you, they will find the price from someone else.

It’s time for you to own the pricing conversation in your industry, because if you don’t, someone else will, and that’s where your buyers will turn their attention to.

DFTBA!

Chris.

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About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.