You’ve decided to take the leap into selling a product. You've painstakingly crafted your copy - and it's working: visitors are clicking through to your pricing page!
This page is an important, make-or-break part of any website that sells a product. This is where the moment of truth happens: turning your visitors into paying customers.
There are many things that can go wrong on this pivotal page (and for many websites they do).
This post was written to help you get it right.
More than Just Pricing Tables
Most posts you’ll read about pricing pages will give you tons of information about how to make fancy pricing table and that’s it.
Though we will also show you how to create an optimized pricing table, we won’t just stop there. After all, your pricing table won't be sitting all by itself on a blank page. And the elements around your pricing table have a huge impact on the performance of the page.
In this guide, we’ll show you the 7 elements every good pricing page has:
Anatomy of a Pricing Page
The 7 elements in the layout are:
- Pricing Table
Next, you'll see exactly how to use these elements effectively to convert visitors into customers.
1. Crafting the Ideal Headline
What’s the first thing you look at when you arrive on a website or open up a newspaper?
It lets you know where you are at and what you are in for.
Writing your headline first gives you the advantage of having a road map and makes sure you hold to whatever promise you are making in the content to follow. That promise tends to be how your product is going to BENEFIT the visitor.
But remember your pricing page is about conversions. In fact, it may be the most important and most conversion focused page on your site. Your choice of wording and layout needs to happen with that in mind.
You may be thinking, “How do I know what structure to choose and why does it matter?”
Tons of people have done research on this and we’ve sifted through it all to help you find out how to structure your pages and headlines.
The Content Marketing Institute has found that...
“A colon or hyphen in the title — indicating a subtitle — performed 9% better than headlines without.”
Here's an example of how to combine headings and subheadings, used by CrazyEgg (an analytics tool used for track the behavior of website visitors):
Using both the headline and sub-headline, CrazyEgg effectively establishes the multiple benefits from the power of the tool to a quick and easy setup.
Another example can be seen over at HubSpot:
With this title section, HubSpot tells the visitor that they're on the right page (heading) and also adds a strong marketing statement (subheading).
Here's Neil Patel's take on why this type of heading-subheading combination works so well:
However, the sub-headline isn’t the only technique you can apply to your headline to increase your conversions.
Using Numbers to Create More Attention Grabbing Headlines
Buzzfeed.com is a well-known proponent of using numbers in headlines to improve click through rates.
3 out of 5 posts on their homepage reflect the use of this strategy. However, this strategy isn’t only limited to improving click through rates.
Signal v Noise made an awesome case study about using numbers in headlines to increase conversion:
Here's their worst performing headline, which is also their original headline.
Here are 3 other headlines they tested:
This was the best performer with 30% greater conversions than the original.
This performed the second best with 27%.
And in third place… 15% more conversions than the original.
With that you can see the impact of numbers in your headline and understand why it’s so important to have them.
Keep Headlines Concise (Ideally, 5-9 Words)
Studies have shown that this sentences that contain things in groups of 5-9 are easiest for the human mind to process.
Keeping your headings short helps you convey your message to your visitor in an easily digestible and memorable way.
So let’s apply this lesson on a practical example, using a real-world headline from a pricing page (in this case, the one from AgileCRM):
At first glance the only information I am getting from this page is…
- It’s where I’ll find pricing.
- A free 14-day trial is available.
- A block of text that is too dense for me to bother reading.
Applying what we just learned, here's what I'd change it to:
What I did here was model Signal v Noises second most successful headline. I emphasized the free trial, and followed it with information I found in the FAQ and the blurb of information that emphasized the benefits of Agile CRM.
2. Pricing Tables That Do More Than Show Prices
In this section we’ll go over 3 strategies that are shown to increase your conversions:
- Center-Stage-Effect & Anchoring Effect
- Band Wagon Effect
- Keeping Benefits/Features Simple
Center-Stage Effect and Anchoring Effect
In 2011, Dr. Paul Rodway performed an experiment where he lined up 17 photos and asked the subjects to choose 5 of their favorite photos. Consistently, the subjects chose middle photos despite him accounting for variances in art preference, height, etc.
To confirm this phenomenon, he simplified the experiment even more. He laid out 5 identical socks and asked his subjects to pick a favorite.
The majority chose the middle sock.
This is known as the Center-Stage Effect. Where, regardless of the choices presented, people are likely to choose the middle one.
By applying this theory to a pricing table, you can lead visitor to unconsciously select your desired option.
The Anchoring Effect
Of course on a pricing page, you aren't comparing identical items like the socks in the example above. And with the anchoring effect, you can use this to your advantage as well.
The Anchoring Effect is when you place a higher price next to a low price to give the effect that the low price feels like more of a deal.
Example of a pricing table making use of both anchoring and center stage effects.
‘Nelio A/B Testing’ did some testing with their own pricing page. They used heatmaps to analyze the behavior of their visitors. This was done through tracking the mouse cursor movement of its pricing page visitors.
Observe the example below of the pricing table that is simply using the Center Stage Effect.
When using a normal table with an arrangement with price progression from left to right. You can see that as people read from left to right their cursor motion is concentrated most on the left and the activity lessons as you go right.
Then Nelio A/B testing changed the order and placed their most expensive option first and observed the effect upon visitors mouse activity.
Once the Anchoring Effect was applied with the most expensive offering first, a significantly amount of mouse cursor activity can be seen over the center option. Much greater than the one seen in the previous example. You can also see that the lowest price option’s activity has increased greatly when compared to the previous version without the Anchoring Effect.
This phenomenon of large numbers skewing your perception of the lower numbers isn’t unique to only this case study.
In William Poundstone’s book, Priceless, there is an experiment in which students and professional real estate brokers were divided into 4 groups. Each group was given different listing prices and asked to estimate the value of the same home.
Perhaps, the effect on the students was expected, but the Anchoring Effect can also be observed as having an effect on the pros.
Still not convinced? Don’t take my word for it alone. You can see it applied in pricing tables from 3 companies that pride themselves on testing.
CrazyEgg's pricing table:
Hotjar's pricing table:
Unbounce's pricing table:
Need I say more?
Did seeing the see the anchoring effect in use on the pricing pages of well known brands make you feel more confident about its effectiveness?
Then you've just had a first-hand experience of the bandwagon effect. It's feeling that you are making the right choice because it's the same choice as other people. It's also closely related to social proof and authority proof.
If you think back to thousands of years ago, humans needed to cooperate in small tribes to survive. That’s why we’re programmed to make decisions to not cause disorder within the group, even when it’s to our own detriment. That’s where the bandwagon effect.
So how do you apply this to your pricing table?
You know when you see a choice labeled as "most popular" or "customer's choice" and feel compelled to choose that particular choice? That's the bandwagon effect in action.
Make one choice stand out by framing it as the choice that everyone else makes, and your visitor will instinctively be drawn to it.
Here are some examples of it in action.
You can see it here used here by Adobe:
And here by CRM giant Salesforce:
In addition to Yesware:
Notice how it stands out and your attention is also drawn to it. Some are done better than others. In this next section we'll go over why.
Keeping It Simple
It is always important to provide enough information to your customer to allow them to make an informed decision. However, too many companies fall into the trap of cramming too much information onto a page.
Here’s an example from AgileCRM:
They're trying to convey too much information and as a result, visitors are more likely to turn away rather than stay and try to process all of it.
Or even worse than having a bad page, you end up on this pages like The Saddest SaaS Pricing Pages of the Year with pages like Qualaroo’s former pricing page.
They have since changed their table to a simpler one.
Notice how Qualaroo chose to show the most relevant features on the pricing table to make it easily digestible, while providing a "view all features"-option for those who want to read more.
If your visitor made it to the pricing page, they are already considering buying. Keep it simple, don’t make it difficult for your visitor.
3. Creating a Call to Action That Actually Inspires Action
Now that we know how to present information in the pricing table, we have to get the reader to act.
That’s where your Call-to-Action (CTA) comes in.
Here's how HubSpot defines a call-to-action...
A call-to-action (usually abbreviated as CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a "call" to take an "action."
There are many ways to do a CTA, in the following I will show you how to effectively implement 3 simple tactics to surely improve your conversions.
Here’s three techniques to improve the conversions on your CTA:
- Write your button in first person
- Use a color that stands out
- Test different button placements on the page
Write Your Button Text in the First Person
With the headline, the slightest variances in words could make or break the conversions on a page. The same goes (perhaps even more so) for the CTA.
One of the easiest ways to optimize your conversion rates is simply speaking in the first person in your button text. Many sites have tested speaking in the first person, one of the most notable would be Michael Aagaard's from ContentVerve.
As you see, the simple change from "My" to "Your" has a strong negative effect on conversions.
Choose the Right Button Color
Like the wording, your choice of button color can also affect how many people take action.
Quicksprout even has an article delving into the psychology of color and what emotions each color evokes.
Choosing a color is an important part of the CTA, but before you even think about what emotion you want your CTA to evoke, the first thing you need to take care of is contrast.
Consider the examples below that were formerly used to be on AcuityScheduling:
If you were to look at these you’d likely be drawn to the "Totally Free Sign Up" button. It has the most compelling text of the three options. And for AcuityScheduling it was indeed the most frequently clicked button.
Copyblogger tested variations of this CTA.
One with the CTA as the same color as the highlighted column:
One with the CTA in orange while the column remained a highlighted green:
Other than the variation in color, EVERYTHING else was identical.
The results came back with the green CTA getting 81% more clicks than the original and the orange CTA getting 95% more clicks than the original.
Don’t underestimate the power of the lizard brain, that old part of the brain that is in charge of primal responses to stimuli such as highly contrasting colors.
The color difference you create grabs the attention and tells the brain “There is a difference! Why is it different? Pay attention to this!”
Other than what’s written in the text and the color, one core thing to pay attention to is the location of the CTA-button.
Choosing where your button is located in your content can play a key role in your conversions.
On many pricing pages the CTA comes after the purchasing information.
This means that the CTA tends to fall below the fold (the portion of the site you see before scrolling).
Neil Patel observed a 17% increase in his conversions from moving his CTA from above the fold to below the fold, realizing that his visitors needed a bit more information before being comfortable enough to buy.
Although this applied to Neil’s Page, it doesn’t necessarily always mean the CTA should go below the fold. Neil specifically iterates this point in his own page.
CrazyEgg did a case study on a pricing page that had a price calculator for the visitor.
Though this unique method garnered significant amount of activity with 62.5% of visitors interacting with it. Only 1.2% were signing up. And so they used heat maps to observe the scrolling activity of the website visitors to see if they were reading the rest of the page.
This was what they found:
By observing the results of a heat scroll map, they realized that visitor activity showed very few users scrolling below the fold, likely because they felt like they got all the answers they needed once they tried out the pricing calculator.
Here's the treatment they tested against the page from above:
By changing the layout and moving the “Sign Up” button above the fold. They were able to increase sign ups by over the original by a whopping 310%. Their sales team was pretty happy.
A 3x increase in signups is by no means trivial - and it show how important the placement of the CTA on your page can be.
4. Guarantees Guaranteed to Inspire Trust
Speaking of location of a CTA, it also pays to test different placements of guarantee and trust statements.
Michael Aagaard demonstrated the difference in conversion of a sign up form between a CTA located next to a guarantee versus one that didn't have one.
Just the addition of a little guarantee to the visitor was able to increase his signups by almost 20%.
No CTA on a pricing page is complete without a guarantee.
Your guarantee is simply a statement assuring the customer that they won’t regret this purchase because the last thing someone wants to do is buy a product they dislike and end up hating it.
It reduces their risk, which makes them more comfortable purchasing.
There are many different types of guarantees, but Perry Marshall has developed his own favorite formula for writing which is...
He calls it “IF-THEN-ELSE”
Within the formula you answer these 4 questions:
- Exactly who your customer is, and who is not?
- What your customer must do in order to qualify?
- What your customer will achieve?
- What you have to do for the customer to achieve that?
IF you join AdWords Boot Camp and IF you enter the contest, follow the instructions and document your progress, THEN your Google campaigns will improve at least 30%; ALSO IF your sales is at least $1,000 month your sales will increase by at least $10,000 per year… OR your money back.
IF you are accepted into the Bobsled Run and IF you do the homework, THEN if you don’t recoup your investment in 4 months AND if you don’t make a bare minimum of $25,000 more in the next 12 months, you’ll get your money back.
If you can’t think of what type of guarantee you want, Kissmetrics provides a great breakdown of 10 types of guarantees you could use.
And if using a guarantee isn’t for you, you can do something that Helpscout does:
The badges, along with statements that gear towards safety, establish a sense of trust and reduce perceived purchase risk by reassuring the visitor.
Which is also the purpose of the guarantee: establishing trust and reducing risk.
5. Testimonials: Showcase Real Feedback from Real People
Another essential element to every pricing page used to reduce perceived risk is the testimonial.
The same way the bandwagon effect makes us feel comfortable with a decision, you can strategically use testimonials as social proof to make your visitor more confident in their purchase.
What are key characteristics in a trustworthy testimonial?
- Use testimonials from real people.
- Make sure you use pictures.
- Testimonials should be specific.
Here's are example testimonials from our very own customers:
I’ve just purchased your membership package, and I am so glad I did!
Content Builder is awesome, and I’ve tried them all, really. You really deliver on your promise of speed, both in terms of UI, and the general snapiness :-).
And the constant flow of new features is really exciting.
Hi Shane - I just started with Thrive about a month ago - and my new site is a stratosphere above what I've done before - and it was easy - I can't thank you enough.
I'm about to create my first longish sales page - and I'm definitely going to go look for this template in my admin area - you just saved me a ton of time - again. Thanks!!!!
Notice these testimonials are from real people and you can easily tell.
Celebrities and experts aren’t 100% necessary. It's great to get a celebrity endorsement, but don’t feel down and start the hunt for a celebrity as your pièce de résistance testimonial.
Unless you have a glowing review from a celebrity or expert that SPECIFICALLY speaks to the benefits of what you are selling, a real life person that genuinely loves your product will always be more convincing.
Pictures put a face to the words and instill or more tangible feeling of authenticity. Every featured testimonial should ALWAYS be accompanied by a photo.
Lastly, notice the specificity of the the statements in the above testimonials.
Glittering generalities don’t make great testimonies. The best testimonies are those that are backed by real numbers, real data, and specific examples.
Testimonials need to be specific.
Statements that say “This is the best!” or “You guys rock!” are flattering, but do nothing for your visitor in convincing them to buy.
The best testimonials are ones that contain more specific and explicit statements like “Their customer service replied in less than 5 minutes! It was so great to get an answer instantly” will always trump “Their customer service is the best!” as that vagueness could mean anything versus allowing the visitor think about the benefit.
An effective testimonial builds trust through establishing the authenticity of the positive statements. Only with that trust can you reassure your visitor they are making the right choice.
6. Address the FAQing Objections
The last item on your page that can help you make the visitor more confident in their purchase decision is using frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Here are some strategies you can follow to improve conversions.
An effective FAQ on a Pricing Page:
- Contains information about payments, cancellation and refund policies, shipping, etc.
- Addresses objections
- Favors clear, concise answers over excessive precision
Almost every FAQ you use is going to present basic questions that will reduce friction towards your visitor becoming a paying customer.
Think about what questions can address objections a visitor would have before making a purchase? Are they not sure if this product is for them? Maybe have a question “Who is this product for?”
And lastly, like with the pricing tables. Keep it simple and clear. Don’t overwhelm with explanations. We’re just trying to convince the ones who are still on the fence about purchasing.
Tools to Help You Find Questions to Answer
There's no straight forward formula for what kind of questions you should be addressing in an FAQ section. That's because this section is going to be unique for every business and every market.
The typical thing to do is to make up some questions you think could be useful. The smart thing to do is to source these questions from your actual visitors.
Here are some tools you can use to find out exactly what the most pressing questions and biggest objections of your visitors are:
- A contact form - simply add a "contact us" link to your pages and direct the submissions to an inbox or helpdesk solution. This is the simplest solution that will allow your visitors to direct questions at you.
- Live chat - show a chat widget on your page that lets visitors interact with your directly. Use a service like Tawk.to, Intercom or LiveChat.
- Polls - display a simple feedback poll on your site, to gain some quantitative data about visitor concerns and objections. Use a tool like Hotjar, Qualaroo or one of various plugins.
- Surveys - if you have a mailing list, send out a survey to get some more in-depth information that's still quantifiable. Use a tool like PollDaddy, SurveyMonkey or TypeForm.
- 1-on-1 calls - also called "customer development". Invite your users and visitors to 1-on-1 interviews. Time consuming, but something that can uncover a wealth of insight. No tools needed apart from phones and/or Skype.
7. Improvement Through Testing
Though this isn’t a tangible item on the page, no successful pricing page is complete without testing.
Throughout this guide I’ve shown you various strategies, all of which were discovered through testing, tracking and more testing.
While the information here provides and excellent starting point, it would be a mistake to simply apply one or two tips from each part of this post and then assume your pricing page is already perfect.
Nothing is absolute, what works for them may not work as effectively for you because their audience and yours may differ, but the best way to find out and maximize your conversions is to TEST.
SO GET TO IT!