If you're like most folks you'll have run into the price vs. value dilemma. No, not in your marketing strategy, but just lazing over coffee and looking at real estate. There in front of you is this great looking house in the real estate section of your newspaper, and you notice that there's no price for the house. And that gets you a bit steamed up, doesn't it?
Just like when you're buying a product online and there's this long, scrolling page, and there's no price right at the top.
And yes, that gets you mad too! Because you reckon you'd be so much better at taking a decision if you knew how much the product/service costs. But no, there's this long page. And there's no price in sight, till you get to the bottom of the page. And yes, you figure that if you got mad about this long, scrolling page, then other customers must also get mad about it. And so you decide you're going to have a short page, and you're going to put the price upfront.
And you could be horribly mistaken
There are several reasons why you could be mistaken:
1) You aren't taking into consideration the price point.
2) You aren't taking into consideration the branding and trust issue.
3) You aren't taking into consideration how the value needs to be built up, if the price point is higher.
So what's the price point factor?
The price point is something akin to getting to a page on Amazon.com and finding a book that's $25. And then assuming that your product (which is at $100 or $1000) needs to be displayed in the same manner. And you'd be off the mark, because it's way, way easier to justify buying a $25 product than it is to buy a more expensive product. The more expensive products need justification in more ways than one. For one, there's the price point (as you already know), but there's also the issue of the product itself. A book is a book, is a book. A product like a zingometeronix at $5 may be way too expensive if you don't know what it is, or what it does. So yeah, what's good for Amazon is not necessarily good for you.
But hey, doesn't Amazon sell big ticket items?
Si, si, they do. But you trust Amazon. You trust them implicitly. And then the product you're buying off the site will probably be another branded product. And so you've worked out this product in your brain, you've probably seen in on the shelves, you've probably even used it some place. And so you are not just buying a product. You're buying multiple layers of branding and trust.
Now you compare this with some product or course you're selling and you'll notice that you don't have the same power as Amazon. Yes, your customers may trust you as much or even more, but they need to be sold the value of the product long before they see the price. Logically speaking, we all want to know the price upfront. But when we're buying products and services, our brains are going through a complex set of decisions. And therefore value must come long before price.
And don't believe me.
Test it out for yourself. Create two pages. One with the price at the top. And one with the price at the bottom (after all the yada, yada scrolling) and see which one sells more product.
What do you think? Which one will win and why?
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Susan Greene says
Taking your article one step further, do you think the sales page should have a price at all? Or is it better to leave off the price and force the buyer to click on the BUY button to find out the cost, even if it means some prospects will abandon their shopping cart?
Sean D'Souza says
No, a price is critical. I think it’s just an irritation to have to find out the price. I’m pretty sure while you may indeed get someone clicking further, you’ll have achieved no real benefit. Instead you’ll end up irritating the buyer instead. A person, once they’ve read something, and decided they want to buy, will not be deterred by the price. We’ve got proof of that, because our courses are easily the most expensive on the planet (of course they’re expensive for a reason). Yet that won’t stop customers from buying.
A customer is ready to buy once they see value. But before they see value, the price is just a figure with no reference point whatsoever.
John Soares says
I think it also depends on your target audience.
Nearly all the people who buy my first information product, a how-to ebook, have master’s degrees and doctorates. I initially had a long, narrow page with the price at the bottom.
A couple months ago I made many changes, including putting the price and main benefits above the fold, widening the page, and then continuing with more details on the benefits and also specific tips from the ebook.
My sales rate doubled. Of course, this is a low-priced ebook and the target market is generally trained to be skeptical.
Speaking just for myself, when I get to a sales page for a product, I scroll down until I find the price. Then I scroll up until I see the summary of what I get for the price.
Sean D'Souza says
Almost everyone who’s slightly familiar with either buying stuff, on or off the internet will scroll down. We go to a car dealer, and we start looking at the cars. We rarely go in and start asking for the cheapest car. Yes, there are those who have a specific budget, but most of our budgets are largely flexible and based on the value we perceive. So even as you buy products offline, you’ll always want to ‘read’, ‘learn some more’ before working out the price. When the reader has read what they need to read, they scroll down. I’m no fan of scrolling pages, but I’m a big fan of what Claude Hopkins had to say. He said: If you waited many months to meet a client, and then you got your chance to tell your story, how short would that story be? And the answer is: It depends on the situation.
You need to tell the full story. Then get out of there.
Many of us will talk about how we get greater sales, but greater sales are not necessarily the benchmark. It depends on what you’re looking for. In some cases, you may want more loyal clients. Clients that come back repeatedly. Clients that will not just read, but also print the entire information out, before they buy. I think it’s largely dangerous to assume that a long or short page is critical. What’s critical is the full story. If you can tell the full story and tell it in one word, then you’ve got my attention.
And how do you tell a full story in one word? : e.g. Fire! 🙂
Chris Garrett says
“Fire” is a good example, because there is good attention and bad attention. Yelling fire when there isn’t one won’t make any fans 😉
Sean D'Souza says
That’s for sure.
What I was demonstrating was how one word can tell a complete story 🙂
What if you address the price point right up front? Something like…
$28 might sound like a lot to pay — unless you read all five of the following paragraphs.
The Mad Webmaster says
I believe that one of the major errors that copywriters make is assuming that “one size fits all” when it comes to designing sales pages.
I happen to believe that the success of a sales page is built not in the creation phase but in the testing phase.
I’ve created sales pages that do well with pricing revealed at the beginning but I’ve also discovered that the longer you stay away from talking about price, and then justifying it, the better my sales conversions.
I’m not trying to hide the price. I want your focus, as my reader, to be on the solution of what my product or service will provide for you.
Just my 3.5 cents (adjusted for inflation)
“The Mad Guy”
Sean D'Souza says
Correct on many fronts.
1) Success is indeed in the creation phase. Very few chefs would go about testing the way copywriters go about testing. You wouldn’t work out the “target profile” of your guest at the restaurant, after you served the meal. That would be insane.
2) Price is not the reason we make a decision. It’s just a barometer; a gauge. I’m currently doing a FREE promotion, and it’s harder to give away free than it is to sell something at $2500.
3) Price decisions are always made in a vacuum. Do you actually know how much you’ll pay for a loaf of bread at the supermarket today? The prices change so much that you could be paying 10% less. Or 40% less. Or 60% more. And it’s the same bread, the same baker, the same packaging.