Should Freelancers List Their Prices On Their Websites?
I saw some guy online asking about how to get clients for his marketing business today.
I’m pretty sure I’ve covered that elsewhere, so it’s an aside: But how are you going to run a successful marketing business where people pay you to get them clients when you can’t get clients?
It’s like saying, “Hey… I’m a surgeon now. Which bit of you should I cut out?”
If you don’t know how to get clients, then you probably shouldn’t be starting a business that hinges on your ability to get clients.
Alright, with that said, let’s move on to the subject of the day. File it under “business mistakes” as well.
List Your Prices, Man!
The guy above posted a link to his website, which was – as you can expect – the standard internet marketing thing.
“We have packages to get you followers on social media!”
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“Our SEO package will get you backlinks so your site can rank number one in the search results!”
The guy wanted a critique of his website.
Surprisingly or unsurprisingly (I’m not sure anymore,) none of the advice pointed out that this business is an ineffective non-starter.
The services that were on offer were the same old Fiverr-reseller services that don’t work but have a nice mark up.
I’m 90% sure that’s exactly what they were.
Now, some good advice to this guy would have been “Find out what actually works and sell that.”
Instead though, multiple people said the biggest problem was that he didn’t list prices on his website.
Now no price listing will save this guy’s business, but whether to list your prices or not is a hot debate amongst some more sensible freelancers out there, so I’ll talk quickly about that in this article.
Let’s get started with the fundamental issue as to whether you should list your prices on your website.
Should You List Your Prices On Your Website?
So, should you list your prices on your website?
There’s one big, fundamental question that you need to ask yourself before you go any further:
What Are You Selling?
Let’s assume you’re a freelancer offering a service. Let’s also say it’s in marketing, for the sake of simplicity and a bit of a run-on theme.
What are you selling people?
Are you selling them a custom solution?
If you are, then you can’t list your prices.
A big issue in business is authenticity, and you can’t honestly say you’re offering something bespoke and deliberately tailored to your clients’ needs and then pre-determine the price.
How do you know what the price is going to be when you don’t know what you’re going to have to do yet?
Or what it’s going to involve?
Or how long it’s going to take?
Whether you can even complete the job?
If you sell based on a pre-determined package, sure, you can sell that. But that’s not a premium service and it’ll only draw low prices. You’re also making the cardinal error of pricing based on commodity and not based on results.
Let’s say you run an SEO outfit. You promise something based on results:
- “We’ll increase your search traffic by 5x in the next six months”
- “We’ll get you on the first page for ten search terms that we agree upon”
- “You will get X more customers through search traffic each month”
Now… if you know anything about SEO, then you’ll know that those things are achievable. But they’re highly dependent on a lot of things that you won’t know until the customer walks through the door.
They might have a super-competitive niche. They might have a really easy niche. You might have to adjust your promises or it might take a lot longer than you think.
You can’t set a pre-determined price.
But… What If People Want To Know?
The big argument about listing prices seems to be that you might want to give people an idea of how much you charge so nobody gets a shock.
I can see the argument there; after all, if someone comes to your site expecting a $5 article when you charge $500, they’re in for shock.
Here’s the thing though: They aren’t your customer.
If your targeting is correct, you won’t have to deal with this very often. The lack of prices on your site will act as a further filter. (Ideally, you only want people who are very interested in your service enquiring about your service, and you should do your own research with people you pitch to.)
When you do have to deal with it, it’s no different to when you have someone come and ask for something you can’t do or won’t do.
Final Reason… Remember What You’re Doing
When you are trying to get a sale, you’re emotionally anchoring your solution to the problem.
When you put the price upfront, you’re negating all of that.
Instead of saying, “I’m working with you to achieve a goal” you’re saying “Here’s a thing that’s worth $500 that’ll help you.”
If you are providing a fluid, “I’ll do what it takes to help you achieve your goal”-style service, then that’s the worst approach you can take.
If you aren’t providing this style of service, then you are heavily limiting the price you can charge. High end clients pay high-end money because that’s the service they want.
Those same clients also look for certain indicators. If you doubt me because I’m just a guy on the internet, then go and look at high-end agencies and other services in your area.
You’ll notice that they don’t list prices.
In short: If you’re offering bespoke solutions, then you can’t and shouldn’t list your prices and maintain authenticity.
If you are working in marketing or any other high-end service industry and you’re offering off-the-shelf business solutions that are the same for anybody that hires you, you’re probably doing something wrong.