Pricing pages are clutch. Everything in the marketing process boils down to a single, critical, all-important page: The pricing page.
And for some businesses, that’s where everything goes totally wrong.
In the first place, the pricing page is an afterthought for development. Second, it’s usually a templated model. Third, it remains untested by CROs. Fourth, it is not designed with an eye to buyer psychology.
These problems and a host of others plague online price pages. The result is that pricing pages are not as effective as they could be.
The solution? There is no single easy solution. As is the case in conversion optimization, the best design or model depends on a lot of factors — your audience, your niche, your product, your target customer, your price point, etc.
Regardless of these wide-ranging differences, there are four essentials that every pricing page needs. If you’re in the dark about how to design a killer pricing page, this article will show you exactly what you need to do to ramp up sales.
Note: Most of my examples and analysis are focused on pricing pages for SaaS. Ecommerce retail sites are different in that they have product pages, which are distinct from pricing pages.
1. You must have a headline.
Let’s start with the obvious. You need a headline.
When a page has a headline, it helps customers know exactly where they are, what they’re getting, and what they should do.
Effective headlines should always grab attention. That’s what you want to do with your pricing page. But you want to do something more. You want to focus that attention on conversion.
What does your headline need to say?
- It need to inform. The user needs to understand where they are in the process. What is this page all about? The answer should be in the headline.
- It needs to be a call to action. The headline has one purpose — to motivate the user to buy. In this sense, you’re calling upon the customer to convert. The headline doesn’t need to be a button, of course, but it should compel the user to move on to the next phase of the conversion process.
- It needs to be upbeat and emotional, not dry and transactional. Every purchase is an emotional event. The customer is aware that she is entering a transaction, but she also wants to be encouraged in the process. Keep your tone optimistic and encouraging.
Team Treehouse has a two-part headline: Start learning today. Sign up for Treehouse.
The headline has appropriate design, and has a messaging that helps to focus the user on the next step, starting a free trial.
Trackur uses a headline that displays their benefits, accomplishing the purpose of information and motivation.
2. You must list benefits.
Every pricing page should explain to the customer what they’re getting. Nearly every pricing page lists the product or service as part of the standard design. What I’m suggesting, however, is slightly different.
I’m suggesting that you present these as benefits, not just as goods or services in exchange for a sum of money.
Here is the difference between a dry-as-dust product description and a list of benefits.
- Benefits point out the advantages of the product or service. Your benefits list is not just the place to explain the product specifications, but rather to point out how exactly the product helps the customer.
- Benefits are brief. You should not have several paragraphs of information. A few bullet points will suffice.
- Benefits are easy to understand. The customer should already have some expectation of what they’re getting. That’s a given, and you don’t need to restate it. The benefits are different in that they add another layer of interest and value to the product under consideration. As you move customers closer to conversion, benefits motivate and encourage the “buy.”
Here is how Code School displays their benefits. There are three bullet points, or checkmarks. The benefits are customer focused, giving the user extra encouragement to convert.
Another great example of benefit listing is Constant Contact. Each benefit uses language that highlights the advantages of the service tier.
The phrase “expert advice from our team” could have been written “customer service.” By using the term “expert advice,” they are raising the perceived value of the service. It’s a unique and compelling way of expressing a rather standard feature.
3. You must show prices.
Seems like a no-brainer right?
You’d be surprised. I’ve seen web developers forget to include the price on the pricing page. Worse, I’ve seen conversion optimizers intentionally leave off pricing numbers in an effort to funnel customers further towards the purchase page.
I consider this a mistake. When a customer clicks on “pricing,” they are expecting to see prices.
Mailchimp is a negative example. When you click on the pricing page, you are taken to a page that narrows your purchase choice.
Perhaps Mailchimp has very compelling reasons for making this choice. However, for the user’s experience, this page simply presents one more step in the onsite conversion funnel. The checkout process is complex enough without having to delay the conversion by one more step.
Another negative example is Amazon’s SES pricing page. The pricing information is embedded in several paragraphs of text. There’s no instant and easy way to answer the question, how much does it cost?
The point to understand here is that users are looking for prices. They are expecting prices. Give them what they are looking for. Deliver what they expect. Show prices.
A positive example is TeamGantt. Their pricing page clearly displays prices. By putting the price after the benefits, they are helping users to understand the advantages of a given tier before they tell them how much it costs.
Here is the pricing page for GetBuzzMonitor. Their page lists the price at the top with benefits below.
Tips: Use a big number, but a small dollar sign. When you show big dollar signs, it makes the customer less likely to want to convert.
4. You must provide comparison.
Shoppers love to compare. Why? Because they want to feel as if they possess control over the buying process, a sense of autonomy.
Behavioral economics theory suggests that most buyers don’t even know what they want until they actually see a particular product or choice alongside other similar products or choices. In other words, context is everything.
Giving the customer a visual comparison of their choices allows them to make a choice within a given context. Allowing the customer to compare accomplishes the two needs: autonomy and context.
Hubspot’s pricing page uses a simple three-option comparison chart.
The pricing page from Sparkpost compares their five levels of service. Comparing this many options is probably not the best strategy, since research shows that more options make for fewer choices. The comparison design, however, is advantageous because of the way it highlights the “most popular.”
- Some pricing pages have toggle features that allow you to adjust your level of service, and see instant change in the pricing. This is a good approach for complex pricing structures.
- If possible, use only three choices. The more choices you put on your pricing page, the harder it is for customers to decide. Instead of making a choice, they might bounce off the page.
Keep in mind that simply adopting these tips is ill-advised. If your current pricing page is completely out of whack, you may want to totally redo it. Otherwise, the best approach is to incrementally test one change at a time.
Indiscriminately changing an entire page will leave you in the dark as to what works and what doesn’t. A/B testing your changes is the best approach.
But by all means, make some changes! Your conversion rates won’t get much better if everything stays the same. Target these issues one at a time, and see how your revenue soars.
What changes have you made to your pricing page that have improved conversion rates?
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