Embrace the Controversial: Why You Should Publish Pricing on Your Website

One of the most controversial decisions for almost any business owner is whether to post pricing information on their website. Invariably, business owners are inclined to keep this information off the website (this is not true for pure commodity driven sites, such as car rentals or hotels, of course, but for B2B services such as consultants, accountants, translators, and high end B2C items).

But why is this the case even though it’s perhaps one of the most important pieces of data in the buying cycle?

We’re here to say and show (in detail) that this is a huge mistake! If there is one thing that every buyer wants to know, it’s “What is this going to cost me?”

 

So, why won’t people put price on their website?

When I suggest placing price on a client’s site typically I get some version of these responses:

1) “It’s not done in our industry”

2) “What happens if my competition sees it?”

3) “All our pricing is custom, nothing is standard”

And then simply:

4) “We would never do that”

It takes some negotiation, to be sure, but there are some very compelling reasons to rethink those lines of thought.

 

Own the Price Conversation

Here are some compelling reasons that reticent business and site owners should start including price.

Here’s my logic: any buyer is trained to search for price as part of any purchase decision. They will continue to search until they find a price. And if it’s not on your site, you are not part of the price dialog. If there’s a price conversation going on anyway, don’t you want to be a part of it? It’s up to you to own the price conversation.

Not having price on your site cedes the opportunity to your competition — or worse, someone not even affiliated with your industry — to control this crucial aspect of the buying decision. In fact, in keeping with a true inbound strategy, you should even blog about price. Openly share results and what your service costs with the people who are looking for that information. The goal is to own the price and value dialog of your product or service, so you can provide researchers with the context they need to understand your pricing model.

 

What About Sticker Shock?

There are several tactics you can employ to offset the fear that a visitor arrives at your pricing page and experiences sticker shock — another common concern among the reticent.

First, use testimonials right on the page that speaks to the value of your product or service. Quotes from satisfied clients or buyers who shopped around and decided to purchase your product or service is a powerful strategy. There is an innate sense from buyers that the low cost provider is never the best, and there is more assumed value in a higher priced product.

I also recommend listing the prices of other providers alongside yours — you can name them “Competitor 1” and “Competitor 2” if you’d rather not call them out by name — and use this chart to detail what is provided in your pricing versus the competition. Call out the features you and your competitors provide in the rubric, and accompany those with actual consumer benefits, too. Tying product or service features to things that matter to buyers, like support or quality, are what make buyers recognize the value behind additional cost.

Finally, show actual results. Nothing is more powerful than, say, a before and after example. Instead of simply listing price on your site, use it as an opportunity to address anticipated buyer reactions like sticker shock, turning those research experiences into sales opportunities.

 

And Don’t Forget the SEO Opportunity

Here’s something else we’ve discovered: Ranking for pricing related keywords is easy. Why is that?

No one wants to put price on their site!

This is SEO gold. Highly searched terms with little to no competition means we should all set out to do some keyword research. Check out the terms and phrases in your industry related to “cost” and “price,” and invariably you’ll uncover some huge content opportunities. You can garner easy SEO wins by creating a pricing page and optimizing for these terms, and even including free offers to capture that qualified traffic and engage them in a sales conversation. This strategy works alongside another viable strategy for the really price-averse out there — putting detailed pricing information behind a landing page to make the exchange of this valuable information more controlled.

Just to show you this strategy is grounded in experience (I have, indeed, employed this strategy on several occasions with profound results which you can see in our Inbound Marketing Strategy Case Study: The Priceless Download), here’s one example of a client of ours with decent traffic, but very few conversions. We conceived and launched a price chart behind a landing page and received 223 submissions over 4 months:

pricing-page-sources

We’ve employed this strategy on several occasions and the results have been profound. If you’re looking for more details on how to create, market, and distribute pricing downloads, please feel free to read our latest guide that explains how to turn pricing information into many, many (many!) leads.

Doug Kirk is the President of Optimize 3.0, an inbound marketing agency located in New York that specializes in delivering online marketing strategies for websites seeking more return on their inbound marketing expenditure.

5 tips to save time each day by making your website more efficient

14123799_xxsYour website is where most of your customers find out about your business.  You are pleased to have a great website that attracts people to your business, but is this website helping you in your day to day work? Did you know that a good website can save you numerous hours of unnecessary work? Time is running out! Follow these 5 tips below to help save time for both you and your customers.

 

Make your website straightforward

When it comes to designing your website, the old adage KISS is a good advice: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie”.

If you think your customers call you because they want to talk to you, think again! Customers want to find the important information as quickly as possible without the hassle of calling or sending an email. If it is difficult to find the key information on your website, then often people will get frustrated and call you and waste some of your precious time.

Think about what information is important for someone to buy your service or product, and organize it in an easy structure, such as a simple main menu. Make sure the vital information is available from the main page and that it is not necessary to scroll down to access it.  Also, do not overload the page with unrelated information.

Ensure that your key content is easy to find and understand. The most important information is normally about your services, features, pictures, prices and location.  This should be the first thing your visitors see.

 

Use automatic emails to keep your clients informed

Picture this scenario: You take your car to the garage because it is making a funny noise.  The mechanic tells you it probably is a ball-bearing and will cost around 50$. When they call you back few days later and give you the invoice, the bill is 1000$!  The mechanic argues that he had to change the whole direction in order to fix your car. We all have experienced a similar situation.  It’s a hard hit for you, and you are frustrated because you feel like you were taken advantage of.  The reason for that is that you couldn’t control the process.

You surely don’t want your customers to feel that way.  Let them know what is happening with your business in order to provide them the best experience from the first contact to the last.

A good way to keep your customers informed is to use automatic email notifications for most of your interactions. Sending the right information at the right time will reduce the number of calls and emails. The best part is that your customers will be more satisfied with your service.

Your customers will be happy to receive emails that inform them of the following:

–          “You subscribed successfully to our newsletter.”

–          “You successfully purchased one of your products/services.”

–          “We received your email and we will answer as soon as possible.”

–          “This is what you need to know before you visit us.”

These brief but effective notifications will give your customers piece of mind and let them know that they are important to you.  Be mindful, however, of how many of these emails you send to your customers.  Keeping them informed is important, but too many emails could be considered SPAM.

 

Get an online booking system

Consider how much time you spend on the phone selling your service/products to potential customers. When someone contacts to purchase your service or product, then it is likely you will spend between 5 and 15 minutes with each customer on the phone or sending emails.   Sometimes it may take longer with several calls or emails before the sale is completed.

A booking system is a great time saver and it avoids manual errors that could create problems and take up even more of your time. Moreover, a good booking system, in most cases, has an automated email feature and will resolve part issue as described in tip #2 above.  A booking system will help you take back some of your time and focus on other aspects of your business.

 

Use the Email as the main point of contact for your business

The great thing about the email is that you decide when you answer it. Have your contact email listed more prominently on your website than you phone number.  This will reduce the number of calls you receive, and will allow you to be able to organize your tasks more efficiently with fewer interruptions. Be sure to organize your email management, so you aren’t checking your emails all the time.  Set aside specific times throughout your day dedicated to responding to emails.  This will be a great time saver.

Another great thing about email is that you can keep track of your communications with your customers. If your customers make reservations a few weeks or months in advance, then keeping email communications will be a great reminder for you.  An email leaves a footprint whereas calls do not.  Use those footprints to save time now and in the future.

 

Anticipate common questions from customers

It is better to be proactive than reactive. That’s easy to say, but how can you be proactive with your customers using your website? First, you need to identify the most frequently asked questions from customers.  Once you’ve identified these questions, review your website to see if the information is there.  If not, add the content.  A great way to achieve this is to create a page on your site for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or a user guide.   By listening to your customers, you will save time and improve the content of your website. This will ensure that potential customers find all the information they need from your site easily.

 

About WebReserv

WebReserv offers the most flexible and easy-to-use cloud-based booking system available today. The WebReserv Embedded Booking Calendar enables you receive online reservations directly from your webpage. If you would like more information about WebReserv.com, please go to http://www.webreserv.com

6 Tips to Make Your Webpage More Valuable

Image

“A company’s webpage is a reflection of the business itself”

That is most certainly what a customer may think since it is often his/her first introduction to a business. With this in mind, creating an excellent website is vital to the success of your business.  Before you consider design and marketing, you will first want to make sure your site provides visitors the right information at the right time.  If you are just getting started with your website or are updating an existing one, here are a few important tips you need to follow to create a valuable webpage.

 

TIP 1: MAKE IT SIMPLE

When it comes to designing your website, the old adage KISS is good advice: “Keep It Simple, Sweetie”. Here is why:

For your visitors understanding

You don’t want your customers to leave your webpage because they can’t find what they are looking for. Think about what information is important for someone to buy your service or product, and organize this information in an easy structure, such as a simple main menu. Make sure the important information is available from the main page and that it is not necessary to scroll down to access it.  Also, do not overload the page with unrelated information.

Use design to make it easier to complete tasks, not just for design sake. A simple but important design tool is the font you choose.  You want your site to look sharp, and the font choice is essential to this.  Keep in mind that the font you select should be easy to read so visitors can remain on your site for more than 5 minutes without feeling like they are cutting onions.

You don’t use your website – your customers do!  Adding music to your webpage might seem like a great idea, but visitors won’t go to your webpage because they love the music on it, and it is likely that most people do not share the same taste in music. If you do choose to add music make sure you give people the option to turn it off.

For SEO result

Designing a website that is straightforward and easy to navigate will also help your SEO result. If the structure is easy, search engines will give better results and the search experience will be faster and more positive.

Limit the use of animations and Flash. There are many major companies out there with big, shiny we sites that contain a lot of complicated and cool-looking Flash. But here’s a secret about it: a search engine can’t read those sites.

 

TIP 2: MAKE IT RESPONSIVE

More than 80% of the mobile phones sold in 2012 were smartphones. In other words, most of your customers may already own a tablet or a smartphone and they are going to use it to visit your webpage. Are you ready for this?

If you decide to update your website or make a new one, you need to ensure that it is responsive. Responsive means easy reading and navigation with minimum resizing, panning, and scrolling.  It also means creating a site that looks great across a wide range of devices, giving the customer a great experience whether he or she is using a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.

If you want to build a responsive website but design is not your passion or your skill, you can consider using website companies such as Wix.com or Weebly.com. They offer great looking websites at an affordable price.  All sites are 100% responsive and require very little work on your part.

TIP 3: MAKE IT TRANSPARENT

It is important to remember that sales are about trust and there is no trust without transparency. There is some strategic information you MUST show on your webpage if you want people to trust your business:

  1. Pictures: A picture is worth 1000 words and it is the best way to show what you do, who you are, and what you sell. Would you book a room if you can’t see a picture of it? The answer is a definite no.  Also, great pictures will make your web design much nicer. If taking pictures isn’t your forte, then it is worth the expense to hire a professional photographer to do it for you.
  2. Features / Services: Be specific and precise about what you offer and try to answer the following questions: what? (What is it? What do I get?), when? (When does it starts/ends? When will I receive it?), how? (how does it work? How can I book?), and where? (Where does it take place?)
  3. Prices: If you are concerned about advertising your prices, remember that most customers will likely not buy your services if you don’t show your prices. Potential customers may think, “If they don’t show their prices, then they are probably too expensive”.  Ensure your visitors can easily find your rates and keep the price structure as simple as possible.  If customers need a calculator to figure the cost, then it is too complicated.
  4. Contact info: Most of the time you will convert customers when you talk to them. The contact information must be easy to access and your email address should be easy to remember.

TIP 4: MAKE IT FAST

Did you know that 40% of people will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to open?

If your site is slow, the experience is frustrating and you certainly don’t want to give that feeling to your potential customers. Here is some data on how your website speed directly affects your revenue: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/?wide=1

There are several things you can do to improve your site speed:

As we said earlier, keep your website simple.  The more data you have on your page, the longer it will take to transmit.

Be very cautious with Flash animations, pop ups, and ads that could slow down your site and distract your visitors attention from the important information.

Here are more easy steps you can take to increase your website speed: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/6-ways-to-speed-up-your-site/

TIP 5: MAKE IT SEO FRIENDLY

It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing webpage in the world, if nobody can find it, you will not make money. Google and other search engines use the keywords as well as the content to determine what your site is about.

Typically you will want to include the following keywords: who you are (business name), where you are (location or address), what you do (bed & breakfast), and what you offer (reservations).

Where and how you add keywords to your website depends on the software you are using. In many website design tools it’s called meta keywords or search keywords.

Here are some nice tips that will help you improve your keywords efficiency: http://www.sitepoint.com/the-5-most-valuable-places-for-keywords-on-your-website/

TIP 6: MAKE IT BOOKABLE

If your visitors are able to find easily the information they are looking for and consider it is reasonable, they will logically want to book online because it is the easiest and fastest way to make a reservation. Additionally, you want your customers to be able to book online so you don’t have to spend your time taking reservations.  You can focus your attention on other business tasks such as marketing and sales.  Having an online booking system will help you with the success of your business.

WebReserv.com offers a flexible booking system with an easy setup and an affordable price.

Once you’ve done these changes, get feedback from your friends and family.  Ask them to go to your webpage and navigate through to find the important information such as descriptions, pictures, pricing, contacting information, and the booking page.  Find out how long it took them to find the information and what was their honest opinion about their overall experience.  Furthermore, ask your customers about their experience, and take the feedback in account to keep improving your webpage.