Many small business lead-generation websites don’t include prices for services or hourly rates. Does this help or hurt conversions?
Recently, I did a search for massage therapists in my area. I perused a number of sites and checked some reviews, then narrowed it down to two options.
As I looked at the two sites and contemplated where I’d get the best massage, an obvious question popped into my head. How much do they charge?
I looked at the first website and they detailed prices on all their massages:
The second website didn’t have any details or special offers to give me a sense of their pricing.
I scheduled my appointment on the site with the prices.
The Pricing Problem
My massage search is a short anecdote – yet it says it all. As I researched this service, I realized one thing I wanted to know right away was prices. I didn’t want to have to call someone to find out. I didn’t want to schedule an appointment only to find later they were out of my price range. I wanted transparency with pricing.
With digital marketing, a business always has the opportunity to be upfront about their prices. You just have a webpage with that information.
Yet it’s still common to see restaurant menus with no prices. Massage, acupuncture, yoga studios, Pilates, nutritionists, and other health services give no indication of hourly rates or fixed prices for services. Plumbers, handymen, carpet cleaners, and other home services ask you to contact them for an estimate, even though they could list prices for basic services or give their hourly rates.
Why the hesitation to include pricing on a lead-generation website?
The problem is mainly a vestige of the pre-internet era. That is, there is a long held belief in sales that you don’t want to introduce price too early. The thought is if you introduce price before people understand the value of your offer, that their decision will become all about price. You pigeonhole yourself into a low-ball price battle.
The worst case scenario is when you offer a superior service or higher luxury level, but people hone in on prices before they understand the value you offer.
The idea in the past, then, was to get someone on the phone or paying you a visit where you could better demonstrate the value of your offer and how it connects to your pricing.
This is a legitimate consideration and it still applies to certain types of businesses. If you offer a software package that costs tens of thousands of dollars, you don’t include that price in your homepage bullet points. Other services might require highly specialized estimates.
But we’re out of the yellow pages era. If I’m looking for a barber and find a website that doesn’t list prices for haircuts, I start to think they have something to hide. I want to know what a cut will cost, obviously. Why wouldn’t they include this on the site?
Value Before Price
In the days of the yellow pages, you’d have a short ad listing. Too short for you to fully communicate the value of your offering.
But a website is 100% different. Its job is to communicate your value proposition so you can distinguish your services from the competition. If you’re worth more, your website should be making it clear why.
For example, we have a massage therapy client at Marketing 360® whose hourly prices are higher than most of his competition. However, his website also explains that they have specialists that perform a unique style of integrated massage that goes beyond the “assembly line” services that are now so common in the massage industry:
This guy isn’t just a massage therapist. He’s a Certified Phenomenal Touch Practitioner. This is well set-up to justify higher hourly rates.
It’s About Your Visitors
If you check out your competitor’s websites and see that nobody is listing prices, you should.
Why? Because you’ll gain a competitive advantage.
It’s true. People who visit websites want transparency. They check out the businesses reputation, and – like it or not – they want to know what you charge. In fact, for many online consumers, getting a price is one of the main pieces of information they’re seeking.
When you provide information that your competition is afraid to offer, you gain the advantage. You’ve made your value statement clear and you’re not afraid to give pricing details because you know you’re fair and that you’re worth it.
In fact in some cases, having higher prices can work to your advantage. Businesses like salons, for example, may want to position themselves as the more expensive – and therefore more exclusive – option. In this case, you may also weed out cheap price shoppers you’d prefer not to deal with anyway.
And if your prices are the best, why not advertise it? Be clear about what your deals are and how much you save your customers.
The old practice we mentioned does hold true in a certain way, even with digital. You don’t want to throw prices in front of people before they even understand what they’re getting. If you’re a fine dining restaurant, make sure visitors know about your gourmet truffles before you tell them it’s $40 for a plate of pasta.
Transparency rules because your website visitors are the kings. At one point or another, you’ll have to discuss price. If you do it right on your website, it will attract the best type of leads for what you do. That’s what website marketing is all about.