In this series we’ve been discussing the main reasons why some marketers and copywriters “hide” the price of their product or service. These reasons include wanting to first build strong desire and demonstrate affordability, to show the personal value is higher than the price value, and to change the potential client’s perception of the price – what I call “price conditioning”.
In this last post in the Hiding Prices series I’m going to end it with a bang and share with you some ways you can ethically “hide” your prices, while at the same time making them available to people who really want to know, and have actually read your copy.
Before I do that, I still haven’t answered the BIG question you may be wondering…
“Should I hide my prices or not?”
Only YOU can decide the answer to that. However, my personal suggestion is this:
If your price is a competitive advantage (i.e. you are cheaper than your competitors, or you have a special offer that can make even the skimmer recognize it as a good price), then you might want to do the opposite and make your price more prominent.
Or if your price is low enough that it could be considered an impulse buy, then you might want to leave it on display as normal.
However, if your prices are higher than the “industry standard”, or for very high prices, then I would suggest making your price less prominent or even using one of the techniques I’m about to share with you, because you’ll want to build desire, demonstrate affordability, and show the real value of what you have to offer, before they discover the price.
Otherwise they could use the “high” price (or higher than average price) as an excuse not to read your copy, or be put off by the price.
So then, let me now share with you…
5 Creative Ways Of Hiding Your Prices:
1. Use a new client offer.
Let’s face it, most people love offers. And for new clients, who have to overcome the uncertainty of using your services for the first time, they can be very attractive.
If you’re charging $20 for your service, and someone whom your potential client perceives to be a competitor is charging $10, then create an offer for new clients which makes your service seem more price competitive (i.e. $10 for new clients).
This enables you to emphasize the $10 price for new customers, while de-emphasizing your regular $20 price. Of course, it’s up to you deliver the kind of service that will make them want to come back, even at your regular price. And you’ll want to be upfront about the regular price, so they don’t think you’re suddenly doubling your prices next time round.
2. Break up your sales letter into multiple pages.
As I say that, I can already hear the guillotine being prepared for me by the copywriters who say you should NEVER DO THIS.
“You’ll lose visitors!” I hear them cry in a fit of rage. “Sure,” I would reply. “But all sales letters lose visitors. If your conversion rate is 2%, you’re losing 98% of visitors! At least this way you’ll know where you’re losing them.” If you put your price on Page 4, and 75% of your visitors never get that far, you know that PRICE is not the reason you’re losing that 75%. It’s your COPY.
Here are the advantages of breaking up your sales letter into smaller chunks:
- It makes your sales letter look much less daunting. Make Page 1 fairly short and appealing, and use it to hook people into reading further.
- You can focus on one or two specific benefit or thoughts per page. (I’d suggest making each page much smaller than a regular sales letter. Think of this approach as a series of short but fascinating articles leading them to the finale, rather than a “sales letter”).
- You can track their progress through the sales letter, to find “bottlenecks” and “sticking points”. If you’re losing 75% of visitors on Page 3 of 4, you know that Page 3’s copy is the problem.
- With each click, you can have them qualify themselves further, and they are also interacting with the copy. In other words, they are no longer passive but active readers.
- You can “hide” the price on, say, Page 4 – after they’ve clicked through (and hopefully read) 3 short pages rich with benefits and desire building copy.
If you’re going to take this approach, then you’ll need to create highly compelling “cliffhangers” at the end of a page that compel people to click to the next page.
3. Use a $1 trial price.
For recurring billing services, have an X days $1 trial period, and emphasize the $1 price. Of course, before they buy, potential customers will still want to know the regular price, but having an initial trial price will at least relieve some of the psychological need to know the price too early.
Also, $1 allows you to bill them initially, and then rebill them automatically if they don’t cancel. Of course, you MUST (both ethically and legally) make sure they fully understand that they will be rebilled at the regular price before they place their order, but there’s no need to emphasize this at the start of your sales letter.
4. Make only the price of your “cut down” version visible at first.
Here’s the idea: Sell two versions of your product – a cheap, cut down version (at, say, $7)… and then your regular version (i.e. $47). When a new visitor initially scrolls down to skim the price, they see the $7 price, so they scroll back up to pay more attention to the actual copy.
Now, here’s the “sneaky” part. Near the order form, have two “radio” buttons. (These are like checkboxes, but you can only select one of a number of radio buttons). The first radio button is highlighted by default, and it’s for the cut down $7 version of your product. The second is for your main product.
All the reader is doing is selecting the product, and the radio boxes toggle the order form between the two versions. By doing it this way, a skimmer may not notice you’re selling two versions… they would only discover this when they read your copy… which is what you want them to do, anyway.
5. Multiple “add on” options or price points.
For freelance writers and copywriters, one of the techniques I talk about in Write To More Money is to offer different levels of service at different price points, or different “add on” options for different features of your writing. This allows clients to choose the true level of quality they want.
For example, article writers could offer a Bronze, Silver and Gold service… with Bronze being basic “quality” articles that clients are going to use simply to generate backlinks to their site, or to have some content on their site. You might price this at, let’s say $5 or $10 an article.
By contrast, your Gold service is for content that truly shines, that is going to have other bloggers linking to you, that is going to cause readers to say, “Wow… I must read more from this person!”, or even pull out their wallets and purses. You might price your Gold service at, say $15 or $20 an article.
Or with the “add on” (or “upsell”) idea, you provide checkboxes for additional features. If you’ve read my report, you’ll recall I gave you lots of ideas for features you could incorporate into your writing for an additional fee.
Again, make sure that skimmers can only see the price of your basic service. The price of the higher quality services, or the “add ons”, are hidden until the visitor actively clicks a checkbox or radio box. So skimmers see your basic price (which hopefully they will see as reasonable enough to read your copy in more detail) and then your copy should sell them on what you really want them to buy – your Gold service.
“But aren’t these misleading my potential clients?”
I respectfully disagree… they are misleading themselves if they think knowing the price in advance is going to help them!
Nobody buys anything without first knowing what they’re going to get for their money, so knowing the price in advance is a bit like reading the end of a book. You don’t know how good an ending it is, until you’ve read what comes before it!
By using one or more of these techniques, you’re helping the potential customer to slow down… and to not rush ahead to the end of the book.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Hiding Prices series, and even if you still don’t think hiding prices is for you, I hope I’ve at least given you an idea as to why some people do it. Tomorrow I’m going to tackle yet another controversial topic – deadlines, urgency and the two most used words in a copywriter’s arsenal: “Buy now”.
Yes, those two words might provide the final trigger, but what really motivates a person to act upon something NOW, rather than later? The answers, I think, will shock and surprise you… so stay tuned to Copysnips FM.