Why displaying fees on your website may provide an advantage over your competition
Many small businesses use their web presence to generate leads to feed into their sales process. Each page has a purpose with variations on the intended users the business hopes to appeal to.
Each piece of content has its purpose but overall the reason is to entice users to get in touch. In keeping with that, it seems reasonable to display your price structure so your leads are qualified before they get in touch.
Or does it?
Not all visitors to your website will be leads.
Not all industries are alike.
Competitors may be surfing your site to see what you charge with the intention of undercutting your rates. If they know you are consistently trying to attract leads from the same base, then having lower prices displayed can give them an advantage over you when bidding on projects or submitting proposals.
Prices in your industry could vary based on many other variables.
Understanding why or why not requires a little bit of elbow grease and a balanced perspective of the issue.
How to Know if You Should Display Your Prices
While this Moz article referencing website pricing is dated, it does makes some very good points about why you should display pricing.
If you display pricing you should also convey value. A value proposition including a pricing tier can address variables related to your business that can actually set you above the competition.
Listing pricing without context or with only a few lines to convey value won’t draw in a user reviewing multiple options. You may be more expensive than your competitor but you might also be offering a lot more for what you charge. Make sure your leads know!
This could also be a reason to not display pricing as well. If you have already evaluated your competitors and they have tiered pricing that beats the value of what you offer, then take the time to assess how they’re able to provide more at a lower cost.
If you’re feeling ambitious you can even call them to clarify what they’re offering and ask for examples of it in practice. Sometimes the value stated on the site is misleading so don’t take your competitor’s claims at face value.
What if Your Competitors Aren’t Displaying Pricing?
Your competitors may not be showing how much they charge but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
A money-focused business can sometimes be more focused on its own bottom line than servicing its customers. Your competition isn’t just related to price so if you’re up against established pros in your industry you can overcome the hurdle of their online presence being much stronger (more reviews, more activity) by doing what they won’t.
State the reason for listing the different pricing tiers. Each should have a unique reason for being there beyond just profitability.
Since you already developed the pricing for a reason you should know why. It could be who you’ve serviced in the past or based on your own research. Be up front and honest about why you charge what you do since eventually that conversation will happen anyway.
You can leave prices off site and save that until you’ve spoken with the lead with the hopes of selling them past any objection to your pricing or you can remove that step by stating the sales points with the price on your website.
Your competitors are a guide but not a rule. If you feel as though they’ve left their prices off their site for a reason that doesn’t apply to you then don’t hold yourself back from showing your own prices.
What if Your Competitors are displaying Their Prices?
If your competitors are up front about their prices but you feel as though doing so would put you at a disadvantage then the same question you should ask yourself is the obvious one your leads will want the answer to: why?
A bad experience could have put you off or just the anticipation of leads getting sticker shock.
Maybe you don’t want the competition being educated on your prices? Sometimes your reasons will be very valid but be prepared to have an answer if your lead is shopping around and the question comes up: I saw on XYZ’z website they offer A for $XX and you’re now saying you also offer A for $XX. How come you don’t put that on your website?
Have an answer and a good one. Include an anecdote if the reason is a bad experience or you will be stuck stammering to explain why and risk looking like you’re being dishonest before you’ve even started any sort of business relationship with your lead.
Displaying Prices Is Up to You
At the end of the day, displaying prices on your website is your choice. There is no absolute rule of thumb to follow. Assess all factors involved and make the right decision for your potential customers.
If you are withholding pricing with good reason you can even state it on your site but if not then you may want to rethink the decision.
Keeping an eye on your website stats can play a significant role in helping you decide whether displaying prices is working or not. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can place all pricing on one page and then check your Google Analytics to see if that’s where the trail ends.
If users are getting as far as the price page and not contacting you then it could be that your price page isn’t conveying enough value to justify the prices.