Figuring out how to price your SaaS product is difficult. It relies on customer segmentation and profitability analysis, and then, when you’ve finally optimized your pricing strategy, clear, effective communication.
That’s the part where we were stuck.
As anyone who’s ever worked on a SaaS pricing page knows, it’s incredibly tricky to communicate value and differentiation effectively and succinctly.
At RJMetrics we were struggling with some of the same problems that many SaaS companies face on their pricing pages:
- How can we give visitors the information they need without overwhelming them with options?
- How can we avoid “scaring away” our core demographic while still showing the full range of companies that we can help?
- And, most importantly, how can we avoid showing up on the Saddest SaaS Pricing Pages of the Year?
Fortunately, we found a solution that shot conversions up a whopping 310%. Ours is a case study in understanding your customers and finding good hypotheses to test. And the lessons learned could benefit any business trying to create a better-converting pricing page.
Let’s take a look.
One of our core beliefs is that the more data is embedded in an organization, the bigger impact it has. Because of this, our pricing is designed to encourage:
- As many users as possible
- As many data sources as possible
We never want price to be the thing that makes a client pause before adding a new employee to RJMetrics or pulling a new data source into our system.
Instead, our pricing is built around the number of customers a client has. That way, when our clients make money, we make money.
It doesn’t matter if they connect 10 new data sources and everyone, including their grandmother, is regularly logging in to check out RJMetrics dashboards. If they’re not adding more customers, we never charge more.
This is the key message we needed to communicate on our pricing page. Here’s how we were doing it:
It was clear, but was it effective?
While the page was doing a good job communicating our pricing strategy, it wasn’t doing much to show our tailored pricing.
As a startup ourselves, we love helping small companies grow. We want data-driven startup leaders to know we want to work with them. But like most SaaS companies, we want big-ticket prospects to know that we can handle their data as well.
That’s two additional layers of complexity that are just… well… two more layers of complexity. Our single message was being muddled by options.
How could we communicate the singular focus of our pricing strategy and still get every prospect the information they needed? That was our challenge.
To figure out how to solve these problems, we did something truly innovative—we checked out what the other guys were doing. In particular, we liked MailChimp’s approach.
Here’s step 1:
Here’s step 2 if you click on Growing Business or High Volume Sender:
The input field is a fast way to get customers the pricing relevant to them without overwhelming them with all your pricing options. And since we had recently released our customer lifetime value calculator, we knew our visitors like this kind of interactive tool.
We decided to try a modification of MailChimp’s approach for our pricing page.
Our new design focused exclusively on the input field.
We built this:
As we suspected, people loved the calculator. What we didn’t expect was the negative impact this would have on the Sign Up button. While 62.5% of visitors were interacting with the input field, only 1.2% of them were clicking Sign Up.
We had integrated the initial test with Crazy Egg, so we went back to the scroll maps to see what had gone so wrong. Here’s what we saw:
With Crazy Egg’s scroll map, whiter areas show where users are spending most of their time, while darker areas indicate where users are scrolling by a bit faster.
As you can see, visitors were getting stuck at the top of the page and weren’t engaging with elements lower on the page (like the Sign Up button).
Our CrazyEgg dot map confirmed this. The new pricing page was doing a great job at getting users to engage with the input fields. We just needed them to click Sign Up.
Refine test hypotheses
Our next move was almost as cutting edge as the initial research phase: We moved the Sign Up button above the fold.
Design is riddled with assumptions. Getting good at optimizing a website is largely an exercise in getting good at spotting your own assumptions.
The assumption we had made, without recognizing it, is that users want all of the information before they sign up. We assumed their thought process goes something like this:
- How much does this cost me?
- What will I get for this price?
- Where can I sign up?
We then arranged our page according to that. Turns out our assumptions, as they so often are, were dead wrong.
Perhaps people are just sick of reading glowing lists of SaaS features. Maybe they just want to skip to the fun part and see the features in action. We don’t know exactly why, but for our buyers the data showed they wanted to see:
- How much does this cost me?
- Where can I sign up?
Here’s the second variation we tested:
This version crushed it. It beat the original by 310%. We were thrilled. Our sales team was thrilled as well.
A Final Check
As much as we would have liked to declare the test a smashing success and all go out for a beer to celebrate, the work wasn’t quite done yet.
If you go back and look at our original page you’ll see that, in the original version, the button also fell below the fold. We needed to make sure that our success was, in fact, coming from the input field, not the new button placement.
We created a third test. In this version we kept the three column layout and gave it the benefit of cleaner, updated branding:
The results came back. Users preferred the input field over the three column layout. We had a winning design!
Now comes the standard disclaimer on all website tests—what worked for us won’t necessarily work for you. And just because this works today, doesn’t mean it will work as well tomorrow.
Optimizing a website isn’t a once and done thing, it’s a constant. But like diet and exercise, when you do it every day, every week, every month you end up with a website that can run a marathon.
We think you can learn something from our test results. More valuable, though, is the process we went through to get those results.
Get good at making hypotheses. Then put them to the test. In the end, you’ll know what works for your users and enjoy your own crushing increases in your conversion rate.
Luckily for you, I’ve got some suggestions, which can help you tip the scale in your favor and improve your conversion rate. Using a combination of psychology, best practices, and testing you can figure out what works best for your site and your customers.
The most important word in that last sentence is testing. Be sure to set up a testing environment that can track how changes to your pricing page affect your revenue.
5 Tips to Improve Conversions On Your Pricing Page And Make The Sale
1. Perfect Your Presentation
Let’s get this out of the way first because it is constantly one of the most overlooked parts of pricing pages. The thought process behind setting a price usually goes like this: you take what your product or service costs, add in an acceptable margin, account for variables like free shipping or discounts, and use that as the price to the last cent. There is nothing inherently wrong with that process, but it neglects a huge opportunity for sellers – finding out how best to present the final price.
Pricing strategy is worthy of a post in itself, but we will take a look at a few suggestions here:
- Cognitive biases: Biases like the Anchoring Effect are great at influencing the opinion users have of your prices. The Anchoring Effect works by listing your most expensive option first, thereby making all the subsequent options seem like a deal.
- Simplify the figures: Using round numbers and removing the dollar sign will make your prices easier to register in users’ minds and have been proven to increase sales. This study claims an 8% increase in sales by removing the currency symbol.
- Make it stand out: Your prices should ‘pop’ and contrast against the background. Just because a user has made it this far doesn’t mean they know where to look on your page – try using a bold font or different color to make your prices stand out.
2. Gain Their Trust
While some people only need an SSL certificate in order to hand over their credit card and personal information, others prefer a bit more showmanship before they can fully trust a site. Any of the following can provide the boost needed to turn browsers into buyers:
- Trust badges
- Social media indicators and buttons
- Obvious customer service information like a phone number and email
- Clear shipping and return policies
It’s worth mentioning that while all of these are fairly easy to implement, your mileage will likely vary so it’s best to test the location and frequency of each. For instance, if you use a trust seal, do your best to show it in the same place on every page.
3. Show Them The Way
If you offer multiple services or products, I’m willing to bet that you would prefer a customer choose one in particular. It might be because it has the biggest profit margin or is associated with the easiest onboarding process, but sellers usually favor one option above all the rest.
So how do you ensure your users pick that option more often than not? Easy, provide them with subtle cues that grab their attention and then guide their thought process.
- Limit the choices: If your pricing page is so crowded with options that it’s distracting, then your users are going to end up making no choice at all. Break it up into multiple categories or pages if needed, but try not to have more than 5 options per page.
- Frame the product: Framing means you put the preferred product front and center. Take it further by using a different color to highlight it against the others.
- Offer reassurance: Also known as the bandwagon effect, adding words like “Most Popular” or “Best Value” comforts and encourages users by letting them know which product other shoppers have preferred.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
People hate feeling like they are missing out on something. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sale or a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime-whatever, if you can make people afraid of losing an opportunity then many will act on it.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to accomplish this with having everything perpetually on sale:
- Strikethrough pricing: Striking through your prices and offering lower ones helps convey the idea that your prices could increase any day. If you can’t afford to offer a discount, then just increase the strikethrough pricing and use the original ones as the “discounted” options.
- Temporary bundled pricing: Cable companies are notorious for this. How many times have you seen HBO offered free for a certain length of time? This can be used numerous ways in addition to bundling products, including offering additional features and functionality – all for a limited time.
- Countdown timer or banner: If you can’t lower pricing or bundle anything to entice shoppers, consider trying to make it look like you did. Adding a simple timer with a “Limited Pricing” banner or wording will have the same effect and many people won’t realize the difference.
A quick note – overdoing urgency will come off as spammy. Nobody wants to feel like they are watching a late night infomercial so don’t flood the page with discounts, timers, and strikethrough pricing.
5. Compelling Copy
We’ve saved the best for last, in my opinion. Writing truly great copy is an art form, and when done correctly it can convert even the most undecided of shoppers. Quality copy begins with your landing pages and extends beyond your pricing pages and CTAs to your product descriptions and titles. Working together, there are few better ways to win over customers.
Afraid you’re not a gifted writer? Don’t worry, here are some quick tips to step up your copy game:
- Focus on the benefits, not the features: Users visit your site because they have a problem that your product can fix. Instead of listing the features of said product, try listing the outcomes. So, for example, instead of “Over 1000 Lessons and Videos Available”, try “Learn Faster than Ever with Access to 1000 Videos”.
- Use relevant and action-oriented verbs in your CTA: “Add to Cart” just isn’t cutting it anymore when it comes to CTAs, try “Get Started” or “Start Learning” instead. Try to tailor your verbiage around the product and user, so if you are selling drones, for example, try using words that match the product like “Get Flying!” Multiple companies have seen an increase in conversions by changing minor things in their CTA.
It should be clear by now that all pricing pages are not created equally. Given that shoppers are more informed than ever and have an ever-increasing number of options, not respecting this part of the buyer’s journey is a mistake.
However, by gaining their trust and leveraging some psychological tactics, you should see an improvement in how your pricing page performs.
- How One SaaS Company Raised Pricing Page Conversions 310% - March 18, 2014