5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price

Do you openly reveal your pricing online?

social media viewpointsThe way people shop has now completely changed.

We know that if we look hard enough online, we can usually find what we’re looking for.

And that includes the price of any product or service.

Despite this reality, many business websites fail to address some of the most essential questions their potential and existing customers have, especially when it comes to the subject of pricing.

Why Discuss Pricing Online?

To give you an example, I recently spoke at a conference of about 100 business owners where I asked a very simple question:

“How many of you here today talk extensively about product cost and pricing on your company website?”

Can you guess how many raised their hands?

If you guessed “1,” you’re right.

Only 1 person in 100 had actually discussed pricing on his/her company website.

But here is the other shocking statistic—when I asked these same business owners what percentage of their customers ask about pricing and cost within the first few minutes of an initial contact/conversation, every person in the room raised his/her hand.

Surprising? Of course not. People like to know how much stuff costs.

That’s just the way we’re all wired.

Notwithstanding, the majority of businesses around the world have elected to skirt the subject of pricing on their websites for a variety of reasons, the most common being fear of losing a prospect before he or she ever contacts the company.

And although this “hidden approach” may have worked in marketing 5 or 10 years ago, I’m here to say that today’s consumers don’t like their core questions to be left unanswered. Furthermore, if we are truly to embrace content marketing and the essence of social media, we must learn to embrace every question consumers ask our company.

In other words, if your customer is thinking it, you should be addressing it.

This transparent, common-sense approach is the essence of successful modern-day marketing.

Beyond this, though, I want to delve further into the subject of pricing. So before you say, “Marcus, you’re crazy and I’ll never discuss pricing on my website,” I’d ask you to consider the following five points.

#1: The Power of Search Engine Optimization

Most of us have heard of SEO, or search engine optimization. In a nutshell, SEO is the process by which the search engines like Google display web pages that address the word(s) a searcher is looking for.

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a “pool guy.” Before I started teaching businesses about the power of content and inbound marketing, I sold in-ground fiberglass swimming pools, and in fact I still own the company—River Pools and Spas.

In 2009, when we decided to embrace the power of content marketing and started blogging in such a way to answer every consumer question we’d ever received, one of the first articles we wrote was about fiberglass pool pricing.

cost page

Here is a small snippet of the main cost page of our website, which gives visitors a great feel for what goes into fiberglass pool pricing.

What’s interesting, though, is the fact that up until that point, no one in our industry had covered this subject on their website in any detail. Instead of addressing the number-one consumer question up front, they decided to wait until the initial phone contact, or worse, the first sales appointment in the home.

With such a dearth of content with regards to this one very important question, you can imagine just how easy it was to rank on Google for such a phrase. In fact, within 24 hours of writing that one article, we managed to rank #1 on Google for such phrases as listed below.

cost results

This one page literally ranks #1 on Google for over 100 cost-related phrases. If you type a few in Google, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about here.

When we saw the dramatic impact this one article had on our website’s traffic and total leads, we then went even further and wrote more cost/price-related articles that refer to our industry.

To make a long story short, here is the total number of page views on these articles for just this past year:

price stats

As you can see, of the top 15 pages of the company website, 5 are price-related, which indicates just how much visitors care about this subject.

But just saying “we got traffic” from writing these articles isn’t enough, as the ultimate goal of any content on our website is to directly or indirectly produce profits.

This being said, because we track web analytics and leads so closely, as well as the keywords these shoppers utilized to find our site, we’ve been able to attribute over $1,000,000.00 in swimming pool sales from this one article.

Yes, you did just read that correctly.

number of leads

Here is a screenshot showing the number of leads that came from these price-related keywords, many of which ended up turning into a sale—one we would not have had if we weren't willing to discuss the subject.

Because we weren’t afraid to answer this one question on our website, we reaped the reward.

This is the essence of how Google works. This is also the essence of content marketing done right.

#2: Not Every Prospect or Lead Is a Good Fit for Your Business

Have you ever gone through the process of meeting a prospect, giving a sales presentation and dedicating hours of time and effort only to get to the point of “pricing” and watch the whole thing fall apart in the blink of an eye?

I had this happen to me for years in the swimming pool industry. Because I was afraid to address the subject of price on my company website, I’d meet with homeowners for hours (taking time away from my own family) only to get to the end and have the person tell me I was completely out of their budget.

But I submit this question: Whose fault was it that this prospect was shocked with my pricing?

Answer: Mine.

Despite what some folks say, no business is a great fit for every potential client in the world. Whether you sell a product or service, not everyone is for you.

I didn’t truly understand this principle until I became open to the discussion of pricing on my website and then with initial conversations with potential clients.

But once I clearly accepted the reality that some folks were not a “good fit” for my company, I stopped fearing the subject of pricing and started to embrace discussion regarding this all-important issue, especially early on in the conversation.

And do you know what the results were?

  • Fewer appointments
  • More sales
  • More profits
  • And more time with my kids (I’ve got four of them, so this was pretty important.)

I think we can all agree this is the ultimate goal of a business owner.

#3: You’re Going to Have to Answer the Question Anyway

Here is the really funny part to all of this—many of the same companies that don’t address pricing on their website end up having to answer the question as soon as the prospect calls their store/business. And if they still don’t give the prospect at least some idea of pricing on the phone, many will just end up getting upset and moving on.

But here is the thing about answering this question of pricing—you really don’t have to answer it at all.

For example, with my swimming pool company, our projects typically cost $25k-100k, which is a pretty big range. There are literally hundreds of factors that can dictate the ultimate price.

Because of this, our pricing page gives ranges, not definitive numbers, this will allow potential clients to get a feel for the cost and know if they’re at least in the ballpark. It also thoroughly teaches them the ins and outs of what goes into pricing a fiberglass swimming pool.

To understand what I’m referring to about addressing vs. answering, watch the following 2-minute video. It shows a little “debate” I had with someone at a recent conference when discussing this very subject and the result is something you won’t want to miss.

#4: If You’re Embarrassed to Talk About Your Pricing, How Do You Think Customers Feel?

There are two types of companies—ones that recognize the value they give to customers and are proud of their pricing, and ones that are afraid their products don’t carry enough value to get what they’re asking for.

Whether or not we want to admit it, the manner in which we discuss the pricing of our products and services goes a long way in the perceived value of said products and services.

So be proud of what you sell. Give pricing to customers with a smile. This projection of confidence will definitely have a direct impact on sales.

#5: You Will Gain Incredible Respect and Appreciation From Your Customers

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me, “Marcus, thank you for being willing to discuss pricing on your website. I’ve been looking all over the web and no one is willing to answer my questions!”, I’d be a wealthy man.

Think about it for a second—if a potential customer sees two equal websites, but one very openly discusses and teaches about pricing while the other does not, who is most likely to get the phone call?

Your Opportunity

When it comes to marketing in this day and age, we all have an opportunity to stand out. But we’ve got to be more transparent. If we are, not only will the search engines love us (because we’re addressing subjects that so many people are searching for), but also consumers will see that we’re different than the rest of our competitors.

I have taught this principle of pricing to many, many businesses. Most never give it a try. But the ones that do inevitably come back to me and are shocked with the positive results.

When we really boil this all down to its essence, we’re not so much talking about pricing here, but rather about trust. And when it comes to marketing, trust equals more leads, and eventually, more leads will equate to more sales—a fact that can make all the difference in the world when trying to survive in today’s difficult market.

Your Thoughts

Considering this is such a polarizing topic for many businesses, I’m curious to know your thoughts.

What do you think? Should we include some pricing information on our websites? If you don’t do it, why not? And for those of you who do, what have been the results? Jump in, folks. I’m very curious to hear what you have to say about this important subject. Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author, Marcus Sheridan

Known for his boundless energy and enthusiasm, Marcus is a thought leader & popular social media speaker. Download his FREE 230-page Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy eBook. He's on Twitter @TheSalesLion Other posts by »




More Info
  • Pingback: CRM Update – Mar 07 : 1:20 pm()

  • Ani

    Great article Marcus. I think I lost a job over this. In 2006 I insisted we place the price of a subscription to a content service online. There were few price differentials and there was no need to hide the price. Not hiding the price I thought would weed out people who would not be interested to pay anyway. Plus it made us turstworthy and open with the audience.

  • Hforton

    Whilst price does matter, price is perhaps of greater significance for some products than others.  If the purchase decision was always about price we’d have no sales people and the lowest priced supplier would always win.  Thank fully its often not just about price.

    Lets consider Office Products. At the lowest level are the web-stores who have to display price to sell. This is changing the face of office supplies and dealers who want to survive in the long run have for some time been diversifying away from commodity only solutions, developing solutions with added value. Businesses exist to make money.  Displaying price is not always the way to go.  

  • http://www.nethervoice.com/ Paul Strikwerda

    Thanks for addressing this hot topic, Marcus. As a voice-over professional, I work with clients on all continents. I know my price floor and I taylor my prices to the market I’m operating in and to the types of jobs that are offered to me. 

    I have struggled with the idea of publishing rate sheets because I’m dealing with so many variables. I’m selling a service, not a commodity.

    On one hand, pricing can be a powerful statement about my level of professionalism. Publishing my rates is also a first line of defense against those who can’t afford me. 

    On the other hand, I feel it’s important to establish value first because my rate is just one thing people factor in when making a purchase decision. I don’t want potential clients to write me off purely based on my prices. 

    It is definitely time to come up with new ways to address the question of pricing, instead of ignoring it, or answering it with overly simplified round numbers. 

  • http://intesols.com.au/ Moin Shaikh

    I always thought (prior to reading point # 1) that if my business does not offer anything online or if my website is not e-commerce site, i don’t need to mention prices online. But now, I am very much agree to Point #1 and #4 where lots of searches are being made having keywords like price, cost etc, and about the feeling of potential customers. Being honest, i am still fearing for putting prices on web as you mentioned above in the point #2. I must admit that offering price on web or at least mentioning an approximate price range over the web is quiet more customer friendly and is capable of converting an online visit into lead. Thank you Marcus.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price | HeloTek()

  • rachelannpoling

    Wow, I needed this. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Marcus. ;)

    Now that I think of it, I should be writing SO much content about how much things cost. I work in an industry where funds are very tight, even more so than many industries in a bad economy. Because of this, I should be addressing their fears and concerns of getting what they need for their short buck. I can’t think of anyone else I’ve seen in my industry that’s doing this, so I have a great opportunity. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten saying, “I want to do this, I need this, oh, and by the way, I have an EXTREMELY limited budget. What can you do for me?” I should be educating my readers about how much things cost and why, so they can feel like they are making a safe choice to work with me.

    Thanks for enlightening me. :)

  • One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand

    Stunning article, Marcus. However, I doubt many will head your advice and at least that will continue to give you a market edge. Every business should be able to market themsleves to defend their price. Service and quality are as much to the fore of a purchasers mind, and will be taken into account when viewing a price. I never quite understand the fear of a vendor, as the subject, as you so aptly point out, is addressed very quickly by a potential customer. Thank you

  • http://www.thesaleslion.com/ Marcus Sheridan

    Sounds like you were ahead of your time Ani. 10 years ago, before the net blew up, we could still walk around the subject of pricing. But with the proliferation of so much info, we’ve got to adjust. Obviously you got that Ani, and for that, I say well done!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Keep in mind, as the article says, “displaying price” is not always the goal. What is the goal is that we’re not afraid to “address price”. Do you see what I mean by the difference here? Just as I stated in the video, people want to know we’re willing to address their questions. In some cases, the answer is, “It depends on x,y, and z.” In others, the answer is, “The typical range is x to y.”

    Again, the principle here is openess and a willing to discuss, which can therefore help businesses lead to a discussion that is not so commodity driven, but as you said, solution driven.

    Thanks so much for commenting,

    marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Paul, great to hear from you. You’ve said a powerful, powerful word here that is having an effect on businesses small and large across the world as we speak– IGNORING.

    No one likes to be ignored. The kindergarten student raising his had in class doesn’t like it. The college student doesn’t like it. And the senior citizen doesn’t like it.

    We all want our voice to be heard.

    The thing about the internet is this—- the “voice” of others comes in the form of their thoughts and questions they’re typing in Google. It’s found in their actions as they go to your site.

    From what you’re saying here Paul, my feeling is that you could address price, give ranges, but also demonstrate value at the same time, thus helping initiate that initial phone call. In fact, if you respond with your current pricing page, I’ll take a look at it myself and give you my thoughts and suggestions.

    Good luck Paul!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    So glad this helped a bit! I find there are two types of people when it comes to pricing:

    -The ones who say it’s impossible to talk about/address on their website.
    -The ones who say, “Hmmm, that makes sense, I can at least give it a try.”

    Here is the thing– I can guarantee that if you openly address the subject on your website, it will not only be  one of the top 3 pages of the entire site, but it will also be one of the top converting pages of the entire site as well.

    Good luck!!

    Marcus

  • http://www.dissertationserviceuk.com/dissertation-writing-service.html Dissertation Service

    Hi Marcus,

    You’re totally correct, unless you tell the price to your potential customers how would you expect some leads. I know sometimes you afraid that you competitors may take advantage but this step gives you more authority and earns respect.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Rachel, LOVE your mindset here, I really do. Yes, people are extremely price conscious these days. It’s a huge subject. Yeah, sure we don’t want to make it all about price but often times we just end up ignoring the subject, which can really, really backfire.

    So do exactly what you said. Think just like your consumers. Embrace their mindset. I’m sure you’ll see some tremendous results.

    Good luck Rachel!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I’m sad to say many will read this article and say, “Oh no, there is no way I can apply this to my business.” I’ve seen it in literally hundreds of different industries at this point, yet I’ve personally never seen one myself that could not benefit from the cost/price discussion.

    It’s simply a matter of being open to the possibilities and accepting the consumer of today has drastically changed.

    Thanks again,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yep, and here is the thing about competitors—if they want your prices, they’ll get them anyway. All it takes is one call from a “secret shopper” and all those pricing “secrets” are now gone.

    But the fact is, they never were secrets in the first place. ;)

    Great comment and thanks for coming by,

    Marcus

  • One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand

    my Pleasure Marcus. For many, they are still trying to get over the first hurdle of ‘not talking about themselves’ on their landing page. Their history might interest some, but if I land on, for instance, the riverpools and spas site, that is the kind of thing I want to see…. one that gives me assurance that they have me in mind when ‘helping’ me make the decision to buy from them. I probably would have come to the site through a swimming pool installer or similar result… so that is what I want to read about. In this instance, I do not think I would have left without making contact.

  • Erin

    Another point – if you’re still not sure if this is a good idea you can always test this and see what happens. You can always take the pricing down later if you feel it’s negatively affecting your sales process. Or, depending on your type of business and the sophistication of your web software, you could always do an A/B test, where half the visitors to your site can see the pricing page and half can’t. Then compare your conversion rates. 

    As a fairly new business, I’ve been debating whether to post my prices. you’ve convinced me to try it.

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    Michael i’m well with you on this one.

    Hotels in the main hide their pricing in their booking engines, when you go into the booking engine, you are often going up a blind alley when it comes to price – it is probably one of the major reasons people don’t complete the booking process. Even price guides would be better than nothing.

    Yet funnily enough when you go into a hotel OTA/merchant site – the first thing you see is the price. Why – because these sites are usually price led in the main.

    Then you have the meta search sites et al et al.- so why all the price secrecy on many hotel websites

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price | Spark Growth Partners()

  • http://www.brendalindfors.com/fine_art Brendalindfors

    This is a great article! I really appreciate this information. Your points make a lot of sense and provide a fresh perspective. Because I produce and sell high end fine art images and prints (artwork), I have been afraid that putting price info. on my site would drive people away…art is, afterall, regarded as a discretionary, luxury sort of purchase…but perhaps the same could be said about fiberglass pools…they are not a basic-needs type of purchase…they are an added-quality-of-life purchase. I am interested to learn that putting price info. about a quality-of-life type product up front online doesn’t detract from potential customers’ perceptions of what you’re selling…and, in fact, increases and enhances sales.

    I do agree with you that it is important to believe in the value of what we’re providing and that being upfront about costs (and about what goes into them) communicates our belief in the value of what we offer. Good point.

    Great information. Thanks so much.  I’m going to add pricing information to my site(s) and see what happens.

  • Pingback: WHO IS AFRAID OF GOOGLE? « THE.CAT – LIVE FROM THE EUROZONE()

  • Bobby Ray Burns

    Great post! I am fully on board with you on this one, Marcus. While I can appreciate some legitimate arguments against posting pricing information, I agree that this is becoming a thing of the past. I know I always look for pricing! This really came home for me a few years back when I wanted to determine the market rate for copywriting and content creation. Apparently that information has to be acquired by submitting a request through the Freedom of Information Act… :)

  • Barbara V

    Your comments are spot on, Marcus. It is so true that if you believe in your product and that the pricing reflects true or perceived value, then you will not feel apologetic discussing price. As we all know, when a qualified lead tells you that your price is too high and that is why they are not buying, it usually has more to do with their perception that the product does not deliver enough benefit/value to justify the price you are asking.  

  • Textbroker

    We have our prices posted, and it’s a main selling point. We’re a cost leader in our industry. There is a certain risk when your exact prices are listed, and we’re starting to see some increased competition. We deliver great quality, which keeps our customers coming back.
    We still get questions on “how much will this cost,” which just shows that we still have work to do on addressing the different variables in our pricing equation.
    Thank you for the inspiration for my next few blog posts!

  • AnneEgros

    Really interesting debate. I have always been reluctant to put pricing online because I want first to hear about my clients’ problems and then price accordingly. By offering one hour complimentary coaching session, people talk about their problems for 50 minutes and ask for price once convinced I can help them. If I put a price upfront I won’t be able to gather knowledge about my clients and how much people are willing to pay so I can tailor made my pricing. I am working globally and price sensitivity is different in different countries. That was my rational for not putting price. 

    Now after reading this article, I am tempting to give a try by offering a range of prices for different programs and see how it impacts how many leads I generate compare to no pricing. Thank you for this great educational article.

  • Ameena Falchetto

    No prices leaves you open to more enquiries and more time wasted replying to those enquiries. 

    State them, shout them loud and proud. :)

  • Todd Beltz

    Hi Marcus, 

    Thanks for a very well written article that addresses the very same question that I have been struggling with for quite some time now. I’m a full time commercial photographer based in Singapore and now just recently, NY, and I do wonder how effective it would be to publish my rates on my website. As a photographer, I work with a few different rates, from my half day to full day rates which is just for standard service. Their are a lot of other variables though that can be added into these rates that ultimately effect the final price. But like you mentioned it’s about addressing the price and it can be worded “with prices starting from…” 

    What I have found though is that most photographers are very secretive about what they charge as some fear that if they know how much you charge to a client they can easily come and undercut you. Sure they can and this can happen in any industry, not just photography. 

    This may very well be a new change that I’m considering to add to my website in the near future. At least that way I can save time and money but having the prices already there and if they are interested they will contact me for further info. 

    Thanks again for the timely reminder. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    That’s exactly it Erin. The key to all of this is a willingness to test and experiment. If one sees that their pricing page is getting huge page views and is converting web visitors into leads, then it’s pretty easy to say, “It’s working!!”

    Thanks so much for the comment,

    Marcus

  • http://about.me/andrewsmith1443 Andrew M. Smith

    Its a point I have been wrestling with doing a re-design of my website. We do lawn care which is driven by size of area serviced so can be a small townhouse for 3,000 sq ft upto 1 acre. So a season can be anything between $330-$1463. Of course I realize I have now given my price away for both sizes so why should I care, but the range is too wide to have meaning for my potential customer base. Does anyone have suggestions on how to approach this, perhaps a median based on a single family home size plot or average customer or should I post my rates? My industry is also becoming very commodity based so people will reject even if $2 a treatment. On the other hand I can see the benefit of being upfront with it, planting a flag of price but then  communicating on value.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rayleigh.leavitt Rayleigh Leavitt

    displaying price or not has been a constant stressful decision for me.  I’ve always thought that it’s best if people contact me and then we can discuss value first, then price over the phone rather than me scaring them away with price right off the bat. I want a chance to discuss the value so they see that the price is right.  But I think you are right, in this day and age, people want information and they want it quickly.  I’m a photographer and right now I have the price of the sitting fee and then an average of what people tend to spend on products without listing individual pricing for all my products.  It sounds like you might agree this is a good way to go so I feel comforted by your article.  Thank you!
    http://www.byrayleigh.com

  • Kim Bookless

    Hi Marcus,
    Great insight, as always. I agree with you about discussing pricing openly on a website, but I’m not sure how to handle it for services, such as the freelance writing and copy editing services I offer. We’re generally advised to price our services by project rather than by hour, page, or word — but projects can vary considerably. 

    For example, editing a 6-page non-technical white paper with minimal style guide requirements is very different from editing a 30-page technical white paper with strict style guide adherence required. I suppose a range would be the best option, although it would be challenging to account for the many variables. 

    Any thoughts?Many thanks,Kim

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price - Social Media, Internet and Affiliate Marketing | Social Media, Internet and Affiliate Marketing()

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Great example Robert. I’ve seen it again and again where an industry’s approach to discussing pricing really defines logic, just as you’ve mentioned here.

    Maybe we can change that though. ;)

    Continued success!

    Marcus

  • Marcus Sheridan

    Hi Brenda, thrilled you enjoyed the article. Yes, inground pools are very much a luxury item just like art. But when it comes to consumers, questions, and the way they use the internet to shop– solid principles don’t vary from industry to industry. Sure, application may change, but principles do not.

    I wish you luck with your new transparent approach Brenda and certainly hope it goes well for you!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hahaha Bobby, yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it?

    Times have changed. We do have a choice though. We can embrace and accept that we’ve all changed the way we shop and research and buy…or we can continue to think it’s 1990.

    Good for you for having moved forward!

    Best,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yep, that’s right Barbara, it’s almost always a “perception” issue, and this is why our entire web approach, with all of our content, needs to be built around that idea of perception.

    Thanks so much for the comment Barbara, hope you have a great day,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Love your transparent approach Textbroker and it seems like you’re really pushing to stay on the cutting edge.

    Appreciate the kind words and I wish your biz the best in 2012!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I think as your business grows Anne you are going to find that the complimentary coaching sessions will be less and less practical simply based on your time constraints. Granted, I could be wrong, but I think if you show your value through your site, your content, your videos, etc— then you’ll  find you’ll be able to not only address pricing much easier, but spend less time on your sales cycle. I’ve seen this happen again and again and remember, as we stated above, you can at least try it out, put some ranges on there, and see how it affects things.

    Good luck to you Anne!!

    Marcus

  • Raquel

    Hello Marcus
    I loved your article. I just went live with a website selling marketing and sales services for SMBs and for professionals in transition – packages to be found on LinkedIn, Inbound marketing packages & more. I was scared at first to publish the price, and thought I’d hide the prices in the store only available when people checked them out; mind you I was afraid of the competition, not of the clients; finally I decided to be transparent: each package has a launching price at the end of the package description, valid till end of March 2012. I do not discuss the prices though, I publish them and in a few days I’m adding a store where visitors can also buy them. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Preach it girl!!

    (Good seeing ya Ameena :)

    Marcus

  • http://rippulleffect.com/ Ryan DiGregorio

    Great, great article. I could not agree more. I was recently
    doubting myself for putting the pricing of my services up on my website and
    this is exactly the reassurance I needed. Now I realize why I decided to put
    the prices on my site in the first place. Thanks for the reminder.  

  • http://www.ChiefOutsiders.com/ Clay Spitz

    Marcus, great article on discussing price on a website.  I very much subscribe to the idea of “price conditioning”, that is, conditioning your customer/client as to what the price – or at least the price range – will be in advance of giving the actual price.  Sticker shock is never a good thing, and price conditioning helps avoid it by giving your customer some knowledge about how price is determined and what range can be expected. Thanks for the great article.

  • http://www.bestfitstrategist.com/ Marcy Jenkins

    Thanks for your post and all these discussions. I agree that “People like to know how much stuff costs.” I think “apples to apples” price comparisons for products is what we all do constantly now — otherwise, how could Amazon.com be so successful selling books, etc.? 

    For services, however, since the expertise, skill, experience, comprehensiveness, personal styles and approaches, and projected impact of service providers differ so widely, price is important to know, but it’s factored in a much more complicated price/value calculation. 

    I guess that’s why a lot of us hate the idea of quoting prices “out of context.” 

    And yet, for example, Business Coach A may charge 4x what Business Coach B charges for what may appear to be the “same time” in scheduled coaching sessions, but clients who want A’s experience and skill behind their coaching will consider A as their “best deal.” And clients who think B’s offering is a good fit for them, will go happily with B’s different background and experience and lower price. 

    So a “high” price might challenge us to wonder, “What is so special about this offering?” and a “low” price may lead us to surmise that the provider is newer, less experienced, filling a pipeline, whatever. All valid and understandable rationales for different rates. 

    Quoting a range makes a lot of sense, too, because that signals that there are variables that actually change the services buyers get (and probably the expected results), and both sides know if they’re in the same ballpark in terms of expectations and needs.

    Let’s all experiment and see what happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pickel182 Chris Vacek

    Very interesting article. 

    I do have a few questions however.  I work for a clothing company that sells online through a webstore as well as in retail locations.  Being open about the “price” of our product is not really a problem since it is listed right on our webstore. My question is regarding where these prices come from.  Most of our customers know what to expect as far as pricing but that doesn’t stop some of them from being vocal about thinking our prices are too high. 

    My question is should I address this issue to our customers?  Explain the reason for pricing and how we determine the cost of an item?  This is a little different from your article because instead of telling the customer what the price is (most already know) you are telling them WHY the price is.

    I’m interested in what everyone thinks here because although the two situations are VERY similar they are also very different.  My personal policy has been to not address the issue of pricing except to point the customer towards our lower cost items so they can find something in their price range. 

    I imagine this is something a LOT of companies deal with.  I feel most customers don’t understand things like overhead and actual cost of an item and think companies like mine are making money hand over fist when in reality we do our best to keep prices as low as possible.

    Thanks for all your insight,

  • Alicia Teska

    Thanks for the great article Marcus.  I wonder if you think that putting pricing information into a business’ blogsite (which I think is what you have initially done) will assist the Google ranking as much as putting it onto the business website?  Or do you recommend doing both?  It seems to me that where a business’ pricing is affected by many variables, it may be easier to discuss this at length in a blog, rather than on the website per se.

  • Holly

    very helpful information

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    Its just amazing how topical this issue is, and yet its such a no brainer. More articles like this, back to basics please, its needed.

    I’ll be spreading this across my hotel and travel network, i’ve been preaching about this for years, its always fallen on deaf ears.

    Would love ti hear more travel shopper views on this topic. After all in my sector they are the users that matter.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Your Content Marketing Must Address Price | fabriziofaraco()

  • Ashlei Johnson

    I couldn’t agree more. If you think from the consumers point of view (which should be simple, since everyone is a consumer of something), you’d want to know prices upfront without the hassle. 

    Very good, in-depth article. 

    smdnow.com

  • http://virtualmissfriday.com/ Michelle Dale

    Absolutely Agree! I have been saying this for years :)

  • Debbie Wemyss

    Couldn’t agree more, Marcus! My website is going thru the finishing stages as I type. I struggled with this topic, mostly because of ‘old school’ thought: ‘the way things have always been done’ type of thinking. But I know my business would likely be done before it gets started by avoiding this pertinent issue. Most important, as so perfectly defined in your video clip, is the fact that you can ADDRESS the subject of cost without ANSWERING with an actual price. How great is that?! Love it… And never forget the old adage, which will always be true: “People buy from people they know, like and trust.” Including reference to the cost issue of your product or service in your website is a great way to begin that ‘trust’ factor. Perfect! Thanks for this great article. 

  • Candace

    Thank you.  I have struggled with this and your post just made it perfectly clear to me.  I recently launched my own marketing business, after many years of working for corporations.  Trying to figure out what the “going rate” for services should be was maddening and I had a REALLY difficult time finding info online. The few websites that did post price info became invaluable to me.  But, did I posted my prices on my website? No. Duh — for all the reasons given in the post.  But that is changing today. 

    I am becoming more confident and know my services bring great value to my clients and, as you recommend, am answering the price question with a smile!  Thanks again – this possibly was the best business post I have read.

    Candace 

  • http://www.facebook.com/marama.carmichael Marama Carmichael

    Great article Marcus! I was struggling for ages to put pricing on my site for just those reasons, it varies so much with so many options available. Plus I have a lot of different services. I finally put up a “website price guide” last week and it’s already paying off with a smoother process for inquiries.  I still need to do more on this but its a work in progress. 

  • KMOORE

    I have not read all of the comments but what comes to my mind is how upsetting it is to be looking for a price and not be able to get it.  If being upfront and transparent is a positive interaction the certainly being all sneaky and not revealing the cost can only be destructive to building a relationship where money exchanges hands.  My question though is ALL transparency good in this new day of information on demand?

  • http://twitter.com/loreewarren Loree Warren

    Your blog post is bang on!  I used to do account management for banking software (pre-internet), our lead sales guy told me in the first meeting to only discuss features and refrain from disclosing pricing details until meetings 2 or 3. This never made sense to me because personally I would not waste my time talking to salespeople until I knew the ball park.
    Your article is timely.  As a product manager, I am launching a service with several small financial institutions and I suggested they update their websites with the frequently asked questions, answers and detailed pricing. I have provided them with a link to your post to show why it is important.  In the banking industry, detailed pricing is not only important for Google ranking, informing customers/prospects;  full pricing disclosure is becoming increasingly regulated. Thanks
      

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Todd, so glad you chimed in. I think the key in your case would be to describe in detail the subject of pricing for photographers, how they come up with their rates, what to look for, what most photographers include in those services, etc. Remember, you don’t have to be exact here. A range will likely do just fine in your case. Notwithstanding, you’ll gain a huge amount of respect and appreciation by really being a true teacher to your site’s visitors and helping them to understand the subject of pricing much further.

    Make sense?

    Good luck to you Todd!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Andrew, great real-world question that many small biz owners can relate to.

    I think in your case you first need to describe the type of service delivered by some “cheaper” lawn guys versus the ones that may be a little more expensive. Make sure to show where the value lies in going with a job well done. I think often times industries become a commodity because those in the industry that give good quality and service are poor at the messaging and branding side of things, so make sure you don’t fall in that trap.

    Yes, you should give that range you spoke of, it’s actually very real and helpful as a baseline. Then go from there and maybe give examples of seasonal prices for certain yard sizes, what that includes, etc.

    BTW, I hope you’re using the power of video on your site Andrew to help show what you do, how your customers feel about your services and company, etc. A strong message overcomes with a higher price will overcome the poor message from the low bidder any day of the week.

    Good luck!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I completely agree that a range would work very well in your case Kim. Give examples just like you did in this comment. In fact, give lots of them. Be open as to why certain things cost less while others cost more. Also, talk about mistakes consumers make when picking your services based on price alone. Help them see the big picture and take the “commodity” out of it.

    In reality, products and services work the same way when it comes to this subject. Look to teach and inform your prospects Kim and I know it will work out well for you.

    Good luck!!! (and feel free to send me your pricing page when you get it done if you’d like feedback!)

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Wow Raquel, I must admit, I’m very impressed with what you’re doing and would love to here how it ends up for you in 2012 and what the result are.

    Good luck!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Good for you Ryan and way to keep the faith. I think the key thing to remember is that your pricing page is really a teaching page more than anything. It’s not so much the numbers as it is the impression and understand the reader has once they’re finished looking at the information. You want them to feel like they at least somewhat “get it” and are more informed on the subject of pricing than they were before.

    Keep going strong Ryan and good luck to you!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Clay, really like that phrase ‘price conditioning’. In fact, not only does it frustrate someone in sales when the prospect is shocked, but it also makes the prospect pretty upset. And when both parties are confused and frustrated, it’s pretty hard to advance the sales process at that point.

    If we’re but willing to resolve these concerns before they ever arise, we’ll be so much better off in the long run.

    Great stuff Clay, thanks for dropping by,

    Marcus

  • JocelMR

    This is an interesting article and, at first, I thought not all products can openly discuss prices because there are too many variables and it would create more confusion than assistance.  But after some thought, I realised that what you are really advocating is giving people an indication of what they are up for.  We get a number of enquiries from customers that really aren’t in our target market because we aren’t up front about pricing.  Thanks for this article; definitely provides food for thought.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Chris, I think this is a very good question and topic you’ve brought up, and I always try to adhere to this policy when it comes to the content on my website— If someone is thinking it, I want to be answering it.

    Again, resolve the concern before it even has the chance to kindle and catch fire.

    So give it a try. Explain why you do what you do. Explain why you’re awesome. Explain why your regulars keep coming back again and again and again. Explain why people come to you when they’re looking for the best overall experience and are therefore happy to get the bargain they’re getting.

    Run with it bud!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I talk about pricing extensively in both areas of my site Alicia– the blog and the main site, and all of these page have been a huge success.

    Hope that helps!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I couldn’t agree more Robert. It does seem like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? For whatever reason though, talking about pricing on websites was taboo for the first 10 years of the internet…but I think we’re finally starting to ‘get it’. ;-)

    Thanks for dropping by Robert,

    Marcus

  • http://www.singfreenow.com Mark Bosnian

    For web design and development, SEO/SMM price ranges based on clients’ needs, so we try and address the hourly rates and some social media marketing prices and what you will get per package to at least address some prices. Some industries are impossible to put a definitive price-point on, but worth being creative in ways to “hint” at what things might cost.  

  • http://www.candyshoufburg.com/ Candys Houfburg

    Marcus, thank you for putting this topic into words. I’ve been trying to figure out how to address this on my own site, and how to explain it to my clients. Now I can just direct them to this article! Nicely done! ;)

  • http://makethemclick.com.au/library Mark @ Make Them Click

     Marcus,

    this is something I’ve struggled with for ages. I hate it when other companies don’t put their prices up, but as a marketing consultant I don’t have prices on my site.

    Yet one of my most popular blog posts is “How much does SEO cost?” it consistently gets searched for and I’m not even an SEO guy.

     (Note to self: “Write more How much do things cost posts.”)

    I keep thinking I should do a range of things like productise my services, offer likely price ranges, or packages, state an hourly rate, but then I worry that my competitors will use that info against me.

    I think I’ll just have to bite the bullet.

  • Chris

    Good article- in the number of leads image- what software program are you using there to track leads by keyword/article.

  • Megan Horn

    What is you’re a bid-based business? A custom service provider.

  • http://elizabethhorlemann.com Elizabeth Horlemann

    This is a real good one Marcus!  I thought that there was something wrong with me, because I was open and direct when a customer asked me about the price, because I alway put myself in their shoes. I know how annoying it can be when I want to position myself strategically as far as the business proposal is concerned, and one of the important points is the price and when its not being given, it damages everything else.  

  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    thanks again marcus after read 50 qualities of blog , here is another important stuff about pricing why we should think about this, because it is indeed a vital point what customers must think before taking service or they look at all the benefits comprises with this align cost. Yes content and inbound marketing is the way we can form whatever we want in order to understand customers needs and the problems!

  • http://www.notordinaryblogger.com/ Okto

    Price is important in costumer eyes. So it is better show them the price. That is what people looking for in the end. How much the product/service cost to help solving problem? At least I see it like that

  • Edwin

    Thanks Marcus,

    Question: do you think you should also talk about pricing on your website when your business is consultancy like advertising and communications?

  • http://www.webyogi.co.uk/ webyogi

    Interesting debate thanks for mentioning the elephant in the room. I do include some pricing on my site but every job is different. Training for example is usually a set price/day rate and most training providers publish a course cost. If you are running special offers this makes alot of sense as clients can see the value for money! Also if more businesses did this clients can get a feel for average price per project/service which is very useful. SEOmoz published an infographic on this http://www.seomoz.org/blog/seo-pricing-costs-of-services. Do you know of a similar infographic for social media pricing. Re-thinking pricing transparency now – thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gordon.barfield Gordon Barfield

    Extremely interesting paradigm as our business transitions to the web. Can you offer examples of how this might look (or be presented) for a medical business “selling” elective surgeries?

    I totally get and agree with the disclosure premise, but the implementation of this strategy for a professional must be handled carefully, as part of our “trust quotient” already involves placing profit and price behind everything else.

  • http://www.socialcubix.com/ Allenbrayan

    Content is one thing that counts the most in SEO.

  • Demi Hall

    I am in agreement with this.  As a consumer I find it very frustrating when I am researching a product or service and can’t find the price.  If I go to a website which doesn’t have pricing I almost always move on until I find a site which does have the pricing or an indication thereof.  

    I am definitely going to discuss pricing on my website, it makes perfect, logical sense in terms of getting real leads and weeding out those which are not interested, therefore saving valuable time and time is money.  I think it also helps cultivate a trusting relationship between you and client.  The biggest concern of my business partner was competition, but then you sell yourself on service delivery and quality!

    Thank you for a good article which cemented my beliefs regarding the discussion of pricing.

  • http://twitter.com/_GinnyCarter Ginny Carter

    Love this post it’s really made me think. I’m going to be re-doing my website soon and I will definitely consider addressing price in it.  Thanks.

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    As far as I’m concerned, if there’s no price, or even an indicative price, there’s no value proposition.

  • http://www.socialdon.com/ Facebook Statistics

    Good insights about marketing value. The Demand Spectrum helps you classify where your solutions are in the evolutionary lifecycle and evaluates the current market reception and competitiveness. This classification helps marketers understand how to develop the content needed for success.

  • http://szeliu.com/ Sze Liu

    I’m in the same boat with most of you and found that AnneEgros and I have the most similar reason and sales practice. I don’t put any pricing because I really want my prospects to talk to me first. I’ll try to limit the initial phone call to 30 mins and address pricing there after they tell me what they want. Even though I might not always get the prospects due to whatever reason and I admit it’s often pricing, but I get to talk to them and understand what people want in general for my industry. I think that’s important. Though after reading Marcus’ article, I’m linear to give it a test run to put pricing on my website. Thanks Marcus for the great article.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Great point. I always like to put it like this: “It’s called a blog, not a brag!”

    Thanks for the great comments,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    So glad you enjoyed it Michelle!

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Debbie, thrilled you enjoyed the article and even more happy for your that your site is getting ready to launch and that you’re open to trying new things like this type of content marketing. I’m sure if you continue to “address” every consumer question, including price, your business will experience great rewards.

    Thanks so very much for stopping by!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Wow Candace, what an incredibly kind comment, thank you!

    I think it’s great that you’re willing to change the way you’ve been doing this. Seriously, that’s the biggest obstacle for most people when it comes to sound content marketing and if you continue with that mindset, you’re going to do great things with your business and website.

    Good luck!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    “A smoother process for inquiries….” —-That’s exactly one of the greatest benefits to this Marama and I think you’re on to something really good for your business. Just stick to that strategy with all your content marketing and you’ll continue to see great results.

    Continued success Marama,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yes, it is very upsetting when we seek information that should be on a company website but is no where to be found. Is there such a thing as too transparent? Well, I guess there could be cases, but again, I stick to this principle:

    If a consumer is asking a legitimate question, we should answer it on our website, no matter what it is.

    Good luck!!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Wow Loree! When I read your comment I thought, “Now here is someone who gets the power of great content marketing!”

    You’re doing great things in your industry Loree, and I seriously do commend you for being such a forward thinker. Keep up the great work,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Jocelyn, that’s exactly what I was trying to get across, and I’m so glad you saw that. Sometimes we give specific answers when it comes to content marketing. Sometimes we address the question but explain why we can’t be specific. But the key is making the reader feel as though we’ve listened to their concern and done the very best we could.

    Thanks so much for commenting Jocelyn!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yes, love the way you put that Salyris—“Hinting”. Sometimes, that’s all that is needed to make a consumer feel like at least we’ve tried to address their question.

    Good stuff and thanks for stopping by!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    That’s awesome Candys, thrilled to hear it!!

    Best to you,

    Marcus

  • JoeAriganello

    Mobile marketers must first and foremost focus on making and keeping their customers happy. If mobile users are asking questions about pricing, you definitely should make it easier for them to obtain. It is better for businesses to be open and forthright about this. Not having info easily within reach can leave potential customers frustrated having to do so much digging on their own. Mobile marketers need to weigh their options when it comes to pricing, but need to continue to focus on keeping their customers engaged and happy. http://www.neustarintelligentcloud.biz

  • One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand

    Kim. The article is based around http://www.riverpoolsandspas.com/cost/. A good example of a lot of variable costs, but tackled in a friendly and informative mannner. As Marcus says, picking some examples helps guide the browser of your site as to the range they might expect, particularly as they are familar that they are asking for a service and not a product. I just wish others did so more.

    There is always a chance that a customer would like to use you, but perceive that you are too expensive because you are the best. I have, on occasions, been left thinking that some companies are much cheaper than their market position would lead me to believe. I am surprised that SME is free, when almost all of the advice is worth paying for!

  • One_Finger_short_of_a_Hand

    On a bright note, the fact that potential customers are wanting to buy from you, but feel they need some justification for the prime price. When I worked in retail (garden centre/nursery), we had a similar problem… “so and so down the road is selling the same plant for a lower price”. I had no problem justifying why we were more expensive and was proud to say that i believed our plants were better and more likely to survive. I would always encourage them to go to the other place as was their right as a customer and if they felt there was no difference. “But we want to buy from you as your plants are so good… cant you match the price”. I never did match the price and very few took their business elsewhere.

    If you do not believe in your product or service, the question must be asked “why do you expect anyone else to do so?”. Be proud and shout it loud

  • http://www.damognigeria.com/ Kemi Bababusuyi

    This is a very important point you raised here Marcus. I think the fear of losing potential customers is the TOP reason many people shy away from pricing on their website. Like you pointed out, who wants to lose the sale just because of pricing? But the flip side is to this is that it helps to eliminate the wrong kind of clients, and this point really made me think.

    While some clients really do not know how to assess the value a business offers, not all clients are the same. Some do appreciate what you have to sell and those are the ones worth putting out the price on the web for. Thanks for sharing!

  • Barbara F. Capps

    Amazingly accurate and desperately needed article, Marcus. Your video and charts certainly validated and verified your thesis.  I’ve emailed it to my company’s owner who is hesitate to put his prices online his reason being “the competition”.  Kudos, well documented article. Many thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hi Sze, I very much appreciate and empathize with your concern. Especially when we’re starting off, it’s tough to discuss pricing because sometimes we’re not even sure ourselves what we’re going to be charging—as it might depend on how much we need the work.

    I think the fact that you’re willing to give this a try Sze is great and I’ll be curious to find out how it went for you. Best!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Yes Rayleigh, I absolutely agree that you’re off to a good start. Also, if possible, I think in the future you may want to test conversion rates with your pricing page. Do you have a unique form on that page that let’s you know they converted on that page? If not, it would be a great thing to find out, and then continue to experiment with these conversions over time.

    Good luck Rayleigh and I really appreciate you stopping by,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Marcy, loved, loved, LOVED this comment. You really took some nice approaches in analyzing why different strategies will work for different reasons.

    Like you said, the key to all of this is in your final sentence:

    “Let’s all experiment and see what happens….

    Yes, let’s do that!!!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    So glad you liked it Ashlei. And yes, we’re all consumers, so let’s start thinking like one!! :)

    Thanks for stopping by,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Mark, great to hear from you, and I do get what you’re saying bud.

    At the same time though, I think we give our competition wayyyyyy to much credit. And keep in mind, if they wanted your prices they’d already have them.

    But being a marketing guy, I’d do it in such a way that you can test it. What are the conversions for the page currently? What happens to them if you change the text? How does the pricing page affect your initial phone conversation?

    I think if you’re able to answer these questions you’ll be off to the races.

    Good luck to you Mark,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    What you’re looking at there is HubSpot Chris, which also allows me to track my exact ROI for every article I’ve ever written in terms of traffic, leads, and sales coming off of each.

    Make sense?

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Sorry Megan, not sure if I understand the question…Could you restate?

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Good for you Elizabeth, sounds like you’re up to great things with such a common-sense outlook on how to approach your marketing.

    Thanks so much for the comment,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Appreciate the kind words regarding the 50 qualities article and I’m glad this one helped too. Best of luck with your inbound and content marketing!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I’d say even more so Edwin. There really aren’t many “exceptions to the rule” here. At least address it, give some ranges, etc.

    Good luck!!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hmmmm, a pricing infographic…now that would be a GREAT idea!!!

    Great thoughts,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I’d put it like this Gordon– If someone calls you and asks you the question on the phone—a potential patient let’s say—how do you explain it then?

    That’s exactly how I’d explain it on the site.

    Good luck!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Awesome Ginny, good luck!!!

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Well that’s certainly one way to look at it Robert! :)

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Awesome Barbara! Let me know how it goes with management, I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits!

    Marcus

  • http://www.webyogi.co.uk/ webyogi

    Looking forward to it :-) Seriously this is a great debate so thanks for bringing it into the social media strattsophere. Love @webyogi :-)

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    I’m not going to even give you an indicative price in case the competition finds out – c’mon, are we buttoned up the back? This is a fundamental commercial point, its nothing to do with social media or technology. just sometimes we need some clarity of thinking.

  • http://Phusion-Creative.com/ Bill Page

    What a great article. Saw it highlighted on LinkedIn and you certainly have challenged me personally & professionally.

    I appreciate the opportunity to help, nurture, and celebrate my clients, prospective clients, and friends through my site. This article only encourages more of this transparency and genuine caring. Thanks so much for your insight and “gentle nudges” in the right direction.

    I valued what you said so much here, I’m now following you on Twitter (I’m @phusioncreative). I look forward to learning & sharing these insights within my small sphere of influence. Thank you!

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    How do we make all this dialogue count? it seems a lot of people think the same way. I wonder how many have the misfortune to be in the hotel and travel business like me!

  • cathydunham

    The main reason MOST of our web clients do not want to put prices on their websites is COMPETITORS! They do not want competitors to quickly find out their prices for services. Since most of our clients are B2B, I’m curious if you are referring more to B2C websites or are including B2B and B2C?

  • http://www.innfinite.co.uk/ Robert Gilmour

    As i said before, if you don’t even show an indicative price ion your content marketing, there is no value proposition. If that’s the way you want to do business, then fine. There is an unhealthy preoccupation out there with non-transparent, or no pricing. I get more time-wasters and make more work for myself on our B2B marketing if i’m not upfront about pricing. nd a lot of brain pickers too.

  • Pingback: Marketing Day: March 8, 2012()

  • Kim Bookless

    Thank you, Marcus! I appreciate it.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannewillis Sue W.

    Marcus, though you bring up some good points, your theory really cannot apply to every product and/or service. I too am well versed in SEO and perform SEO campaigns on new and existing websites, and there is no question that implementing SEO can not only enhance but help increase leads/revenue.

    My other expertise and experience however is in the construction industry, focusing on sales and marketing. I can tell you from experience that providing prices on a construction company’s website would not only be a bad idea, it could potentially make them lose business. First of all that market is so competitive that posting prices on one’s website would be like handing over the business directly to the competition. In addition, like your pool example, the price range for constructing a building can vary quite a bit, but there are so many other variables…such as whether the customer wants a custom building or if they are interested in purchasing a standard cookie-cutter design. Then there’s the wide range of materials, upgrades, etc. that could influence the price. Aside from the price, there is the value that a particular company can bring, either from years of experience, in-house architectural and engineering, extended warranties, or even the method of construction used. There is no way that even a price range would work.

    As a seasoned salesperson, I feel it is most important to qualify your customer…learn about their needs, their goals, and their budget. Once you obtain this information you get a good idea whether or not you can personally assist this customer, or if you can refer them to another company who can better assist them. Yes…that’s right…send them along to the competition. If you can’t personally help a customer achieve their goals, why not send them in the right direction. They will remember this and call you later when they are looking for something you can help them with, or refer people to you.

  • Pingback: Top 10 Weekend Reads - Issue 10 | GeeksFolder()

  • Internet Marketing Guru

    nice blogging helps a lot….

  • Pingback: Content Creation Curation – Social Media Round-Up()

  • Debbie Short

    Hey Marcus, nice to see you writing on the Social Media Examiner – I agree with you, these days we have to be open about pricing, and I also like the point you make about not everyone will ‘Fit’.
    I get a lot of inquiries from people who waste my time because they do not want to pay very much for the job. This point would help with that – less interest, but better quality leads.
    Thanks
    Debbie

  • Pingback: Top Online Marketing News March 9, 2012()

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Gooch/1668668661 Josh Gooch

    Marcus, this article is fantastic!  We’ve been facing a big challenge in the meetings and events industry with venues being transparent with pricing.  We see movement towards displaying pricing, and are tacking it with imbookin.com.  Change, adoption, fear is a struggle…in the end, it is clear that more business will be generated for the industry.  Would be great to tap you more on the subject for an industry as big as this one!

  • https://twitter.com/GailGromaski Gail Gromaski

    Hi Marcus,
    I may have missed this somewhere in the post or comments, but I was hoping you could tell me which service or software you used to track the number of acquired leads per keyword. I am always looking for better ways to track leads, especially those generated from online marketing initiatives.
    Thanks,
    Gail

  • Pingback: Use social marketing to do right by your customers (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – March 9, 2012)()

  • Pingback: Online Marketing News: Chrome Gets Hacked, Facebook Can Get your Game Noticed, Take an Interest in Pinterest » talkdigitalmarketing.co.uk()

  • Heir Holiness

    Peace Be With YOU!

    I have been debating this very subject and you made a great argument!!  You’re right my business isnt for everyone and I would love fewer flatline appointments and more actual clients!

    Heir

  • Pingback: Online Marketing News: Chrome Gets Hacked, Facebook Can Get your Game Noticed, Take an Interest in Pinterest | topdoe()

  • Pingback: Online Marketing News: Chrome Gets Hacked, Facebook Can Get your Game Noticed, Take an Interest in Pinterest | Online Marketing()

  • Pingback: Tweet-Parade (no.10 Mar 2012) | gonzoblog.nl()

  • http://www.michelechristensen.com/ Michele Christensen

    Great article and a really refreshing point of view.  I almost never go any further with someone without knowing what their products and services cost.  I like to know the price first before I hear all about it so I have something against which to weigh all the information I’m hearing.  If someone gives me an evasive answer when I ask about price, I assume it’s going to be really high and tune out.  I also trust them less and feel like they don’t think I can actually ask what I need to know.  

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I think many people share your sentiments Michele. When prices are hidden, we naturally wonder what else the sales person/company is hiding.

    So glad you stopped by and appreciate the comment!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    “Flatline Appointments”— LOVE that phrase Heir, and so true it is!!

    I certainly hope this works well for you and I’d love to hear your results after you’ve started discussing price more in your web marketing approach.

    Good luck!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Gail, great question– The service I use is called Hubspot. You may have heard of it but basically, as soon as someone fills out a form on my website I then know the keyword they used to find the site, which article they landed on first, the pages they viewed after that, etc.

    These things are a big, big deal because it allows me to know an ROI for every blog article I write simply based on the keywords it ranks for.

    If you have further questions about this, you may want to check out my website or just email me directly at marcus1@thesaleslion:disquscom .

    Thanks!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Josh, we should talk more about it, seriously. I’ve exercised this principle in one way or another in multiple industries by this point and as you might imagine, it’s a subject that interests me quite a bit.

    Don’t hesitate to email me at marcus1 at thesaleslion dot com.

    Good luck Josh!

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hey Debbie! So great to hear from you and YES, this method will help you a ton get better, more qualified leads. It will also allow you more time to focus on other critical aspects of your business.

    So give it a whirl and I hope to hear from you how it goes!

    Best,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Sue, although I appreciate your comment, I’m not really sure if you understood the point of this post, nor watched the video.

    Everything you just said in your comment addresses the subject of price. Everything. In fact, that middle paragraph could easily be the basis of your pricing page.

    Fact is Sue, I’ve done both. I’ve done it with clients in the home construction industry. I’ve obviously done it in the pool industry. I’ve done it in the roofing industry. I’ve done it in the landscaping industry. And on and on and on.

    Everyone thinks they’re the exception to sound principles until their competitor is doing successfully.

    When done properly, this method is extremely effective in the home improvement industry..

    Like I said in the article Sue, you may want to address the question on your company’s website, see the stats and conversions, and then use that to formulate an opinion.

    Good luck, I do hope you consider the possibilities,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Exactly Robert. I’m amazed at how many people complain that they waste time with bad prospects yet they save the pricing conversation until very late in the sales process.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hi Cathy, and thanks so much for asking. I’ve found a couple of truisms in business that your clients also need to accept:

    1. If someone wants your pricing, they’re going to get it.
    2. If someone wants your pricing, they’re going to get it.

    Yes, I’m being a little silly, but it’s true. Your client’s pricing isn’t as sacred as they like to think.

    But beyond that, this question goes back to the address vs answer subject.

    Your clients don’t have to give exact answers to the pricing question…But they shouldn’t shy away from at least addressing the question.

    Makes sense?

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Appreciate the kind words and I wish you luck in this area going forward!

    Best,

    Marcus

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    Hi Kemi, thanks for the kind words and it appears you’ve got a great perspective on this.

    You know, the minute a business stops worrying about “losing” prospects and starts focusing on “gaining” clients, things tend to go much better.

    Really appreciate your words Kemi.

    Best,

    Marcus

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    I firmly believe that the art of content writing has been lost completely. You will find loads of websites offering content writing services but whats the point when they dont even understand the need? On requests you would only receive sentences with correct grammar which would be of no use. The content needs to be interactive, keep the user’s interest active & a lot more have to be taken care of which today’s content writers do not show interests in.

  • https://twitter.com/GailGromaski Gail Gromaski

    Sounds like a great service. Thanks so much for the info, Marcus!

  • Pingback: Why you should put pricing details on your website | Almost Anything Web & Graphic Design()

  • http://twitter.com/1857Company 1857 Company

    This is in actual terms the problem any startup faces. We generally don’t want to give away everything in the first place but this is a more realistic approach to follow. We exactly know where we stand and it also decides our clientele base. Not to forget the amount of traffic this would divert towards our website.

    Thanks. Reading more!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Gooch/1668668661 Josh Gooch

     Will do!  Thanks Marcus!

  • Textbroker

    Sze, Anne, one point that Marcus made in the post was that you don’t have to give exact prices. Some industries just don’t work with open pricing. 

    Information addressing the factors that go into pricing, like time, workflow, certifications, equipment and research, would make for great content. Not only will this help establish your credibility and increase your SEO, but it will make your potential clients better – they’ll understand what you do more deeply. And you can use these topics to justify any price you give in a conversation with the client.

    I think coaching is a little like going to the doctor without insurance. You don’t know how much it’s going to be, but it’s going to be expensive. Since it’s so expensive, you just don’t go. When you call a clinic and hear that your visit will only cost $x, you’re relieved and ready to go! By giving a starting point, you can reduce the fear of the unknown and possibly even surprise potential clients who had written off your service as “too expensive.”

    However you do it, good luck to you!

  • Lisa

    It’s true – if a company won’t tell me up front what it charges for its products or services, I will move on. To me it’s a sign that they either overcharge or they expect me to spend my valuable time calling them and being subjected to high-pressure sales tactics.
    Cost isn’t the only factor for me, but it is A factor in deciding who will get my business. I’m okay with a price range, but give me some idea of what you charge so I know what I need to budget. Or I’ll move on to someone who isn’t ashamed of their prices.

  • Terrysmayer

    So he who has the lowest price wins?? Great idea! I really hope that china doesnt start selling fiberglass pools…
    If you think for one second that this trend is positive then please remember where all of our jobs are going and where all of our goods we buy come from.
    All you are doing is promoting that we all compete with the same price for the same product.

  • Amarcos

    Great post Marcus! I’m working as SMM for travel agencies. Sometimes we post about our trips, special offers…on Facebook or twitter.

    What do you think about publishing prices at Social Media channels?

    Thanks.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Your #ContentMarketing Must Address #Price « Nate Crowder()

  • http://semanticallydriven.com/ Jen

    Yay for this article. I hope that more business owners read this and act accordingly. As a consumer, pricing is one of the first questions I ask. I think that even if one company is a bit more expensive than the other, if I think they’re worth it I’ll go for them. It’s all about a level of trust, and service and information on a website can go a long way towards these things.

    I always remember having a roofing salesperson in my house trying to get me to accept their quote. He wrote down a number on a piece of paper and then asked to use my phone to call his boss who then magically lowered the price. It felt like strong-arm tactics to me and I never went with that company and got my house re-roofed from someone different for $2000 less. This was how over-inflated the intitial quote was.

  • Pingback: How To Never Lose Again To The Kid Next Door When It Comes To Price — Your Pet Sitting Business Destination - PetSittingOlogy()

  • Pingback: The next step in building my design business: what makes a great portfolio site? | Graphic Design Blender()

  • Pingback: 3 Great Reasons to List Prices on your Website | The Official Wix Blog()

  • Pingback: Are You Still Hiding Your Rates? | Double Dutch()

  • Sean

    Very strange article. I have full respect for your experience and thanks for sharing your insight, however I think making a parallel between service-based companies and product-based companies is very dangerous and misses the point. If you are competing on quality of service, taking a shop-floor approach to publishing your prices in the window will not only scare some customers (who aren’t quite sure whether the package fits their needs without first having it tailored slightly to them) away but also draw in some people who are… quite frankly… short-handing themselves by looking for a bargain when that’s not the point. I do copywriting and content management for clients who want to become the authority publication in their field. If they were looking to hire the lowest priced package out the box, not only is them calling me up a waste of my time but also a waste of theirs… as they won’t have high odds of achieving their goals by competing on price and we’re both left burnt by the experience. I think as long as you price competitively, transparently and clearly give your reasons for that when you quote your final figure, then you’ve done your business the best honour you can. You can’t put a price tag on a private jet (with all the hidden maintenance fees) and have it sitting out in a dealership lot waiting for someone to come along, buy it, and get bitten by all the latent maintenance costs down the line to NEVER come back to your business again because of the bad experience. What you are proposing seems to be exactly that, with your main reason being simply that you snagged traffic from people that were searching for pricing (like myself actually, how i ended up at this article) but i don’t necessarily see how that is valid in the long-term view. Thanks for sharing nonetheless. Obviously with a product like fibreglass pools it is great for people to have the expertise published and know what they are buying up front.

  • Pingback: How to Talk About Pricing Without Scaring People Off | Perez Co()

  • Lilian Okado

    Marcus, This is so timely, I have toyed with the idea for a year. Like many not willing to put pricing especially because I am afraid it will put people off. In hindsight, it would have saved me a whole lot of meeting time and fuel guzzling trips. So I’ve decided, I will put up a pricing plan. In my part of the world, Kenya that is unheard of. 98% of websites have no pricing on them. So definitely will love to see what happens. Of course, I will be quick to come back and give you feedback:-) Thanks again for the article.

  • Pingback: How To Talk Money Without Looking Bad | Raindance Film Festival()

  • Pingback: How To Talk Money Without Looking Bad | Raindance Toronto()

  • Pingback: How to Talk About Pricing Without Scaring People Off - ~ RPMgr.com | ~ RPMgr.com()

  • http://antipodes.bg/ Nina Stoyanova

    Not suitable for every business, we usually give this after a request as most of the times product have to be customised for very specific branch. 

  • http://www.karenkefauver.com/ KarenKefauver

    Redesigning my website, rereading this article and want to know if your thinking has changed in 2014. Also, you use the example of swimming pools, which is great for retail, but I offer social media consulting services and seems like those prices would be a range depending on the complexity of the project; thus if I mention prices it seems I may end up underselling myself.









Pinterest
Join our Social Media Marketing Networking Club
Check out the Social Media Marketing Podcast!