Many, if not most, software as a service companies (SaaS) publish their pricing online. Is this a great idea for these busnesses, and does it make sense for the rest of us to mimmick the practice? Here, we've done it both ways and as you might expect this is a pretty controversial subject, particularly for B2B organizations that provide services which vary in price depending on the scope of the work. In the past, I have been among those who become frustrated when unable to locate a pricing table on a website that has something that I am interested in. Should I take it as a clear sign that I won't be able to afford whatever it is they're selling, and desert the site?
This post investigates and presents the top 10 pros and cons of publishing company rates online.
Is Publishing My Rates Online a Good Idea?
There are a number of pros and cons that should be considered here that I have found after digging through numerous articles on line. They are listed here.
Reasons To Go Ahead And Publish Your Pricing
- Prospects Get Irritated if you Don't - Visitors may abandon their search on your site if they can't find pricing because many will conclude that your services are obviously going to cost too much which is why you didn't post them. They figure that getting you on the phone for a quote will result in an upsell attempt or that they won't be able to just get the pricing and exit the call gracefully.
- Pricing is Your Edge - Certainly if you expect to win business though competitive pricing, why would you not post this information in plain view? The absence of pricing may lead visitors to think that negotiation is possible
- To Heck With The Competition - How much do you really care if your competition knows about your pricing? In reality, unless you are marketing a commodity item, your prospects care about a lot more than just price and are evaluating your products and services from many different angles.
- Save Your Sales Team - If your business has built a strong inbound marketing engine, chances are there are many visits to your site, but not all of them are worth following up on when it comes to their ability to afford you. Perhaps it's best to indicate cost from the very beginning to enable your sales team to limit their focus on leads that don't flinch at your pricing model
- It's Part Of The Big Picture - The fact is, whether or not a prospect selects your service will be based on many things including your reputation, the program you put together for them and if they trust that you will provide good value for the price you are asking.
Reasons Why You Should Never Publish Your Pricing
- Prices Vary by Customer - If your customers require unique service packages that vary widely, there is no way to indicate pricing accurately enough on the website. Publishing a 'typical' pricing matrix may work against you by discouraging prospects before they are in a position to understand what they need and therefore why it costs what it does.
- Prospects will Get Scared Away - For high ticket services, you may never get the opportunity to help your prospects gain a sense of your value proposition. Certainly this is a concern in the inbound marketing business because prospects often don't possess a good understanding of what it takes to make them successful online before discussing their goals and timelines.
- Price is Your Main Advantage - If this is the case, it may be that your product or service is more of a commodity item. You might differentiate your offering by including value-adds in the form of secondary services that augment the sale and wish to manage pricing visibility carefully to keep your edge on the competition
- Avoiding Confusion - If your offering is highly customized and therefore has a complicated pricing structure with many options or buyer scenarios that make it confusing for prospects to accurately arrive at the price they would pay for your product or service, it's best to leave pricing for an in-person or on-phone discussion.
- Fear: What if Your Pricing is Wrong?! - This may be a surprising reason for not publishing your pricing and many feel not really a good one, yet something that a lot of people wrestle with. They are either not sure what they should charge because they lack confidence or their pricing is value-based and will simply not be the same for different customers.
We have published our pricing online in the past and have gone back and forth on the topic of publishing rates online and are currently in another round of debates on whether or not to do it. Personally, I am 'pro-show' on pricing as I believe most prospects want to know what it is and some of them will abandon you before they get started if they can't find it on your site.
Rather than provide extensive package pricing and a menu of specific services pricing, an option is to go with a 'pricing starts at...' type of an approach. At least your prospects will get an idea of what the costs will be without being told a specific number.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Check out our free eBook on the 10 steps to effective online marketing as well