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Pricing Page Psychology 101: 11 Must-Know Ways to Drive More Sales

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

If you’re a SaaS marketer, you know there’s one page on your site that’s more important than any other…

Your pricing page.

Get it right, and visitors turn into customers (and, with any luck, repeat customers).

Get it wrong, and prospects hit the back button faster than you can say, “Was it something I said?”

Writing a good pricing page is tough. No surprise there. But it’s a lot easier when you use psychological triggers—principles that motivate, influence and persuade potential buyers.

Today, I’ll show you 11 psychological triggers you can use on your pricing page to increase conversions and improve your bottom line (#7 is my favorite).

Ready?

Let’s get started!

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The Psychology Behind A High-Converting Pricing Page

1. Urgency

Portraying a sense of urgency is nothing new in marketing.

From big calls-to-action to “Buy Now!” to one-day sales, B2C marketers try to nudge consumers to take action within a limited time.

B2B marketers are using this to sell digital products, too.

Deadline Funnel is an app that lets you display a countdown timer to each visitor of a webpage. You can turn your pricing page into a unique special offer for each person—even if it isn’t a special offer at all.

This strategy works because of the human response to deadlines.

It’s proven that humans become impulsive and rash when faced with making an urgent decision.

Getting a discount and acting before a deadline activates the reward center of the brain.

You know that feeling of scoring a great deal on a pair of new shoes? The same applies to getting a great deal on software, according to the brain.

Action Item: Experiment with adding deadlines on your pricing page. Use an app like Deadline Funnel to see which deadline length boosts your conversions the most.

2. Scarcity

Scarcity motivates people to act.

In the psychological sense, we desire things that are rare.

Like diamonds are an expression of love, so, too, are products and deals where they’re limited.

This ties in well with a sense of urgency above. For example, you can hold a sale for 50% off your product (urgency) and limit it to only the first 50 people to take action (scarcity).

The travel industry does this often to encourage bookings. Booking.com display the number of rooms left at their special price to make you feel like you’ll miss out if you don’t buy.

Booking

In the software world, Gmail owes its successful launch to using a scarcity strategy to get the word out.

When Gmail launched in 2004, they offered users 1GB of space to only the first 1,000 users who signed up.

Those users could then send out a few invitations to friends. If you weren’t one of the first users, or know someone who was, you were out of luck.

Invite codes sold for a few thousand on eBay because people were desperate to get in with “the cool crowd.”

(Google didn’t open up Gmail for public registration until February 2007.)

Action Item: For your next promotion, introduce a limit on how many customers can take advantage of it.

That number may or may not be true, but it helps add the scarcity needed to make the deal too good to pass up.

3. Social Proof

Social proof ties into the human desire for herd mentality. It means we observe the actions of other people and determine a normal cultural response.

This is common in unfamiliar situations. We tend to sit back and watch how others behave to guide how we should also behave.

In short, most people go with the majority, and feel reassured when others carry out the same actions as they do.

When it comes to making a sale, we assume if others also purchased the item, it would also be correct for us to buy it, too.

Proof help business owner sell more by displaying social proof on pricing pages, product pages, and more.

Proof

Showing a real user who has bought your product to prospects shows social acceptance. If others have bought it, it must be good, right?

Prospects feel more comfortable to buy when they see others have bought from you.

By adding a name, location and even sometimes a photo, the app makes an anonymous person on the Internet seem real, adding to the social proof effect.

Adding Proof to your pricing or checkout pages can also improve conversions. For ScoutIQ, it results in a conversion rate of over 68%!

ScoutIQ Pricing Page

Source: ScoutIQ

Action Item: Run an experiment with Proof on your pricing page. Sign up for their 14-day trial and see the effect it has on your conversion rate.

4. Authority

Your pricing page needs to convey a sense of authority and trust.

To communicate this, display icons like the SSL security symbol on your pricing page.

You want people to think of your website as legitimate, not be scared of it or think it’s an untrustworthy website. Forty-nine percent of online buyers are worried about the security of their personal information.

Using testimonials on your pricing page is another way to build trust with prospects.

Adding testimonials lowers the likelihood people will leave to do their own research. Fifty-seven percent of buyers leave to search for reviews and testimonials if you don’t list them.

Factors That Cause Buyers to Leave a Website to Perform Research

Source: HubSpot

Action Item: Make a list of all the payment methods or security certifications your site has.

Then, add the company logos to your pricing page near the checkout call-to-action.

For example, if you accept PayPal, you can use their secure checkout logos for free on your website.

5. The Bandwagon Effect

We all have that ONE friend.

One minute, they have ZERO interest in sports.

But come playoff season, boom! They’re the biggest supporter in the world.

“Jumping on the bandwagon” is as true for B2B buyers as it is for sports.

Consumers see something become popular and they want in on it, too.

They will usually buy your most popular package or offer. They figure if it’s good enough for everyone else, it must be good enough for them.

Besides, when buyers encounter too many options, they experience  “analysis paralysis”. They feel overwhelmed and as a result, avoid taking action.

One of the most common ways marketers use the bandwagon effect is to highlight the most popular pricing option.

Box highlights their Business package by adding a green label with a “popped-out” effect.

Box Pricing Page

This drives users to favor one option over the others. Further, it uses the principle of herd mentality and wanting to fit in with the majority.

Minimizing choices makes it easy for people to say, “Yes!” and buy from you.

Action Item: Add an indicator to your most popular package (or the one you want to highlight) and make it visible.

On platforms like WordPress, you can use a pricing table plugin to get a look like Box’s in under five minutes.

6. Round Number Prices

Decades ago, retailers played a cunning ruse on consumers.

By ending prices in .99 or .95, consumers thought they were paying less. We, of course, know otherwise.

This strategy, based on the left-digit effect, says people pay more attention to the number on the left.

This doesn’t work anymore.

People use their emotions to decide whether to buy or not when shown prices as whole numbers. (Source)

When presenting prices as non-whole numbers ($4.99), people use logic to decide.

Nowadays, it’s fairly uncommon to find a price that’s not a whole number.

Squarespace lists their monthly fees, which are easy to understand right away.

Squarespace Pricing Page

Source: Squarespace

Tap into the emotions of your buyer, not their sense of logic.

Action Item: Skip the .99 on your package prices! Stick to round numbers only.

If you want to still make it seem like your product is a little cheaper, go with prices that end in nine, like $19, $29, etc.

7. Hyperbolic Discounting

Hyperbolic discounting is an interesting paradox. People love saving money, but it turns out that people love spending less up front even more.

It has to do with the amount of time that passes. People would rather receive a lesser reward immediately, than a greater reward later.

It makes sense. Credit cards are based on this entire strategy: get something now, pay for it later.

In software, this is commonly seen in monthly vs. annual pricing.

Many people would rather pay a lesser amount of money each month than commit to a large purchase of an annual subscription, even though they will save money with the latter.

Email marketing software ConvertKit offers a generous discount on their annual plan of about a 16% savings.

ConvertKit Pricing Page

As users move between the monthly and yearly tabs, they can see the price savings of choosing the annual one.

In fact, getting started today for $29 each instead of $240 seems a lot more appealing to most buyers

It drives home the preference for having the reward today versus in the future.

Action Item: If you don’t offer this already, create a way for a user to buy at a low entry point.

Offer a monthly recurring subscription option at a higher price than your annual one. Or a pay-per-use model that only bills a customer for the amount they’ve used your product (like a prepaid phone).

8. Use Storytelling

Don’t sell to people. Tell them a story.

Research shows when people connect with stories, they produce higher levels of oxytocin.

When customers feel emotion about a story they’re reading on your site, they feel connected to your brand.

That connection creates a community of advocates around your brand.

ElasticSearch does this well. They give each product feature a relatable headline, telling users why it matters.

For example, instead of listing, “Many search types,” as a feature, they use the headline of, “Be Curious. Ask Your Data Questions of All Kinds.”

ElasticSearch

Their product messaging fits their brand’s story: making big data easier to understand.

On your pricing page, don’t list out boring features. Make them come to life by writing them like an everyday user would.

Ask yourself, “Why does this feature matter?”

Action Item: For each feature on your pricing page, uncover the pain point behind it. Why does your customer need this or care about this feature?

Let’s say your product is accounting software for small business owners. And, includes feature that pulls in credit card transactions.

Talk about how much time or money this saves busy business owners.

9. Use a Free Gift

Try offering a free gift with a sale to win new customers.

A famous study in the hospitality industry found servers who offered free candy received an average 23% higher tip than those who didn’t.

Were they better servers than the others? No. The free candy added value to the transaction and people felt obligated to return the favor by tipping more than they would otherwise.

This same logic works for B2B, too. Offering gifts increases the perceived value and makes customers feel reassured about buying.

For SaaS marketers, a free gift could be a ticket to an industry conference. Or a free eBook or online course bundled in with an annual subscription upgrade offer.

Teachable offers a free copy of their course that’s usually sold for $348 to users who upgrade from a Free plan to a Basic (paid). All they have to do is watch a webinar replay and it’s theirs.

Teachable

The course promises everything you need to know to create profitable courses, which is what Teachable users want to do. This gift is relevant to their audience and is an effective way of moving free users to a paid plan by offering them a valuable incentive.

The course promises everything you need to know to create profitable courses. This gift is relevant to their audience and is an effective way of moving free users to a paid plan by offering them a valuable incentive.

Action Item: What could you give away for free with a sale to create a bundle offer that’s hard to resist?

For example, if you sell video editing software to YouTubers, include a free webcam for users who commit to a two-year plan.

10. Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is exactly what it sounds like: wanting to avoid losing anything.

You might think finding $20 would make you happy, right?

The loss aversion principle says finding $20 makes you happy but not losing $20 would make you happier.

It’s better to not lose something you had in the first place than to gain something new.

Free trials are the ultimate example of this for SaaS sales. Letting people try before they buy takes away the risk of losing anything.

It also works with loss aversion on a deeper level. Once they have tried out your product, they now don’t want to go without it. They want to avoid the loss of using it.

Most software products have a free trial option for this reason.

CRM platform Insightly takes it a step further by offering a free version of their product.

Insightly

There are limits to its features, but without a 30-day limit on trying it out, you feel like you have nothing to lose.

Action Item: If you’re not offering a free trial, you’re missing out on customers.

You can limit the functionality or time period of the trial. But make sure you have some sort of “try before you buy” offer on your pricing page.

11. The Mere-Exposure Effect

We like things more as they become more familiar.

This isn’t rocket science. Friendships develop over time, or tastes in food or drinks, to name a few examples.

But the scientific basis for this is the mere-exposure effect. It proves that people don’t even have to like the thing they’re seeing. The act of seeing the same object or person over and over again makes them favor it more.

Retargeting ads are an effective way to spark this psychological trigger. They allow you to target users who have visited your site and re-familiarize them with your brand.

B2C use these ads a lot, but they’re actually even more effective for B2B companies.

B2B click-through conversion rates are 189% higher than B2C.

I was looking at Roboform earlier today, and later in the evening found this ad on another site.

RoboForm Ad

The ad took me to a special landing page for the 25% off sale, making it easy to buy it right then and there.

RoboForm

Seeing Roboform again, my mind associated it as a positive experience, even though I didn’t register it happening.

So even when buyers say ads are annoying, they’re lying. They don’t know they are.

Action Item: Invest in Google AdWords or Facebook ads to retarget site visitors when they’re browsing other sites.

Know your customers like to frequent specific websites? Target those for ads, too.

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Start a free Sleeknote trial today and engage more site visitors—without hurting the user experience.

Conclusion

No amount of psychological influence or marketing can save a bad product.

There’s no marketing strategy on Earth that will make you successful without a solid product.

But, even with the best product in the world, you can still sell more by applying psychological triggers to your pricing page design.

Raise conversion rates even higher by paying attention to how a buyer’s mind works on a subconscious level.

Once you get inside the mind of your customer, you have the power to influence them. Be responsible.

Which persuasion trigger do you use on your pricing page? Leave a comment below.

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