Friday Q&A: Should I put my prices online?

Does adding prices to your event rental website commoditize your collection? Will your potential customers find it helpful? Does having pricing online increase your visitor-to-lead ratio? How about your closing rate?

I got this question about pricing this week and couldn't wait to share it with you all.

I think this question is a great one. I used to answer this question with a hands-down “NO!” Don’t show your pricing online. It commoditizes your collection, makes people compare you based on price, you should never lead with price, etc. etc. But then I talked to some of our most successful clients and many of them surprised me by showing their pricing online. When I dug deeper, I found some interesting perspective.

Every specialty event rental business should have goals for their website. What is it there to do for you? Inspire potential clients? Inform existing customers? Woo people who are on the fence? Educate consumers about your services? What is the call to action? How are you getting people to do what you want them to do after they’ve viewed your website?

Ultimately, you obviously want them to buy from you. But no one will ever look at your website and call you with their credit card number. There are some steps to go through between finding out about you and whipping out the checkbook. Let’s talk a bit more about that funnel.

Here is an example of a Business-to-Consumer Marketing and Sales Funnel for an Event Rental Business.

Customers become aware of your company and move from Aware to Interested through your marketing efforts. Your website is part of this phase. People who are interested will visit and need a catalyst to actually reach out as a Lead.

Once the customer is a Lead, you’ll take them through your Sales Process. We discussed this quite a bit in our Do More Of What You Love: The Insider’s Guide to Booking More Event Rental Orders webinar.

My successful price-displaying clients put their pricing online because they were already extremely effective in the marketing department. They were killing it in the Awareness and Interest phases of the funnel. They got tons of Leads; more Leads than they could handle, actually. So, in order to help improve their Lead-to-Qualified ratio, they started displaying their pricing online. This cut back on the number of Leads they got, but those who did contact them were more likely to be comfortable with their pricing and therefore more likely to be Qualified for the next step in their Sales Process.

In order to answer this pricing display question for you, I’d need to know more about what’s working and not working in your Marketing & Sales Funnel. Are you getting so many leads that just prequalifying them is super time-consuming and burdensome? Or are you twiddling your thumbs waiting for the phone to ring? Do you find that once you get them in the door (for a showroom visit, in-person meeting, etc.), your closing rate is high? Or are you struggling to get seemingly-interested would-be clients to actually confirm their Proposals?

The answers to the above would really inform how you’d want to handle what you display on your website.

If you are overflowing with leads, it might be effective to list your pricing on your website so you cut back on unqualified people getting in touch.

If, however, that’s not the case, I’d think more about why you’re putting your pricing online. Is that what your target market is looking for? Are they avoiding getting in touch because they think you’ll be too expensive for them? Would seeing your pricing make it more likely or less likely that they'd inquire? Do you want to be compared to your competitor based on price? Or only after you've taken them through your sales process?

I’m sorry I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule for you about displaying your pricing online. As you can see, I think it is a really brand-specific decision. But, if you wonder about it, you might consider giving it a try. Test it out for 1-3 months and see if your Visitors-to-Inquiries rate increases (or decreases if your goal is to weed out looky-loos). Does your closing rate increase? When you tweak something like pricing on your website, you’ll want to know your before-and-after numbers so you can see how the change impacts your ratios.

If you’re still on the fence, I say start asking your best clients. Talk to them about why they contacted you, what caused them to actually get in touch, whether or not they wished you had pricing online, etc. Knowing more about the customers you want to replicate can be incredibly helpful in making decisions to continue to grow your event rental business.

Happy renting!

Allison