Hey! I’m Marissa, a web designer for big dreamers, soul-based entrepreneurs and creatives. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!
Should you display prices on your website (or be as secretive as the Illuminati)?
Warning: displaying prices on your website can lead to transparency and trust.
Does pineapple belong on a pizza?
Was Ross actually on a break?
Is Die Hard really a Christmas movie?
In business, none of these debates are as divisive as whether you should display prices on your website.
Some people tremble at the thought of doing it. Others champion it till the sacred cows come home.
But who is right?
Publishing your prices online or not: what’s best?
I’m going to give you the answer you don’t want to hear. There’s no right or wrong approach. It will depend entirely on your circumstances, preferences and business model.
(Yup, it’s mildly uncomfortable on this white picket fence.)
Okay, let me be a bit more helpful. I advise the majority of my clients to display their costs on their websites. Here’s why…
Why you should display prices on your website
It saves precious time
Picture it, you’ve spent an hour on a discovery call with a client. All looks promising. You prepare a pitch summarising how you can solve their problem and how much it will cost. The document took more effort than smoke cleansing your home and crystals at the full moon.
You send them it.
You never hear back.
It turns out your costs were nowhere near what they expected (not necessarily a bad thing).
Did that feel like a royal waste of your time? If you had been upfront about your prices then they would have immediately realised you were not a match. Your efforts could have been better used elsewhere (like onboarding your dream client who is happy to pay what you’re worth).
When you display prices on your website you may find that you have fewer people contacting you. But the ones who do get in touch will be the right people for you. They have already decided that your costs suit them and will be more likely to convert into sales.
It’s a much more efficient way to work.
It’s transparent and builds trust
So many businesses list one of their core values as “transparent”. But isn’t hiding what you charge a surefire way not to be transparent?
If you’re an ethical and heart-led business (and I’m sure you are!) then I’m assuming you want to do the right thing for your clients. Leaving them squirming in embarrassment about if they can afford you doesn’t really fit the bill, does it?
I didn’t want my clients to feel this way so I clearly display that my WordPress in a Day package is £1000.
If you want to be known as honest, fair and easy to work with then be your own brand – show your prices on your website.
No more awkwardness
I don’t know about you but I hate haggling over price. It’s uncomfortable. The introvert in me wants to put on an invisibility cloak and escape the bartering Muggles.
By putting your prices on your website you are being clear from the offset about costs involved. There’s no need for you to “um” and “eh” while trying to explain why you charge what you do. The numbers are there for all to see.
If you know your costs are fair and you provide value there is no need to feel shame if someone doesn’t want to pay them.
Save your energy for those who do rather than trying to convince those who don’t. Be a unicorn who’s proud of its magic!
It helps with SEO
People like to know how much things cost prior to contacting a supplier. So, of course, they Google it. For example, before coming to my site, someone might search, “How much does website design cost?”
If I have a page on my site that shows my prices then I can include this search term and Google will direct them to it. However, if I don’t detail my costs it’s unlikely that the search engines will favour me as much as someone who does. It’s an opportunity thrown into a black hole never to be seen again.
Potential clients can start budgeting to hire you
Sure, by putting your prices online people might realise they can’t afford you. But if they really like you it gives them a goal to aim for.
There have been lots of occasions when I can’t afford something but it’s given me an incentive to save for it. Are you the same? I bet some of your potential customers will be, too.
It comes back to whether someone connects with your story, website and brand. If you’ve spent time online showing people the value you can offer them then they will be drawn to work with you. They will be willing to pay your prices even if they can find cheaper elsewhere.
This is the Know, Like, Trust factor and it’s important to nurture it.
Why do businesses hide their prices?
So, why do people still balk at showing what they charge? Here are a few reasons…
They’re scared they won’t get clients
Let’s debunk this one. If clients don’t want to pay the prices that you feel you’re worthy of then they’re not the right fit for you. Your work should speak for itself. It’s not a good long-term strategy to drop your prices just to nab a job.
Clients who choose the business who offers the lowest price aren’t interested in the value you can bring. Consider carefully whether bargain hunters are your dream client. If the answer is “no’ then there’s no need to worry about losing their custom.
If you’re not confident about your prices then this is a different issue and needs addressing. You might find this article on how to price your product or service helpful.
They want an opportunity to explain why their prices are higher
Some believe that showing your prices removes the opportunity to explain why you charge what you do. They worry the potential client will scurry off and hire someone less expensive. They think, “Perhaps if I can have a discussion with the client then I can explain my costs better.”
I would counter this by saying your website is perfectly capable of telling this story for you. Designed well it can convince your clients that you deserve the price you’re asking. You can do this through video explanations, client testimonials and case studies. Get creative and show why you’re worth your prices!
They’re scared competitors will undercut them
Yes, this might happen. But your competitors are not you! They can’t offer exactly what you can. You know what you’re worth. Stick to your guns.
Also, if your competitors really want to know what you charge they’ll find a way to uncover it.
It’s important not to come from a place of fear when you make decisions that affect your business. Remember that no one is you. While it’s important to understand what competitors charge, it’s not the only factor. You are your secret sauce and they can’t copy that (unicorn magic, remember).
Their pricing structure is complicated
In this case, you could still show some sample packages or display a price range that says “starting from”. You can see how I do this on my website if you click here and scroll down to the FAQs.
Anything that gives your potential clients a benchmark will make their lives easier. And yours!
What to do if you’re scared to display prices on your website
Now, we need to go a bit deeper here. You should stop and think about why it makes you shiver.
Use these journaling prompts to uncover any blocks that are making you approach your business from a scarcity mindset.
- What do I feel when I imagine sharing my prices online? (e.g. fear, imposter syndrome, embarrassment, defensiveness.)
- Why do I feel that way? (e.g. because my competitors might undercut me, people will think I’m overcharging, I’ll scare clients off, people won’t believe I’m worth it.)
- Do I feel like my competitors are better than me? If so, why?
- What is the worst that will happen if my competitors see my prices?
- Does displaying/ not displaying my prices have my clients’ best interests at heart? Or is this decision about me?
When you take time to think about the reasons why you don’t want to display your prices things become clearer. Try to identify whether it’s fear driving your decision. If it is, then this is something worth exploring.