It can be extremely irritating trying to find answers from some businesses related to costs for products and services because they are afraid to show them openly.
We all want to know how much something is going to cost “up front” so that we can see if we have the budget for it.
Why Do Businesses Hide Costs?
Some business owners have tons and tons of information about their business:
- Technical Details
- Mechanical Structure
But the one main element everyone wants to see – The price is nowhere to be found.
All you do see is “Request/Get a Quote!”
When you ask these business owners why they’re afraid to show the prices/cost on their website, naively they’ll mention that they’re afraid that their competitors will see their costs.
Well, do you honestly think your competitor doesn’t know? It’s not that difficult to find out at all.
Why, why, why?
Why does someone need to call you for an estimate/quote? Why can’t you give people an idea of the pricing so that they can decide if making a call to your business is even worth it?
Why are businesses afraid of being open and transparent? Why are people afraid of talking about money? Why are businesses afraid of competition?
Most Business owners have the lame excuse – their cost structures are unique to each individual and situation.
Sure, but that still means that you can give the person needing your service/product an estimated starting point, right?
That’s all people want, an estimate.
Give People an Estimated Price
If you have extra products/services that can be bolted onto your basic offer, then tell people how much the extras will cost.
Just remember, people want to have an estimated price so that they can make an informed choice to do business with you or not.
The sooner you put the estimated price in front of them to make a decision, the sooner you can gain their trust and do business with them.
If you haven’t seen the post yet, have a look at our post The 5 Blog Types That Matter where we mention other Blog Topics that your business should be writing about.
Here’s a basic summary of the post:
Whenever a person has a problem, they go online to search for a solution.
From a lot of research and looking at our own search/research habits, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that the following 5 things are on the mind of every person doing online research (In order of Priority):
- What’s the Price/Cost?
- Will it solve or are there problems I am not/should be aware of?
- Are there similar products/services I can compare it with?
- Is it the Best in its class for the price?
- Are there reviews?
From the list above, we can see the #1 Priority that every buyer has on their mind is:
Ka-Ch’ing!! Yes you guessed it, the Cost!
People have lots of questions related to the pricing of your products and services, so answer them!
Why MUST You Talk About Pricing On Your Website?
Well, it all comes down to being open, honest and building trust with your site visitors. Reduce friction, open yourself up for more business and start new relationships.
You might be a bit confused about the things I’ve just said above. So, let’s go into a little more detail about each of these below.
1. Mentioning prices builds trust
When we started this post, we mentioned everyone’s top priority when searching for a product or service online – the cost.
We also mentioned how irritating and frustrating it is when businesses don’t openly mention the cost/price on their sites.
When you don’t answer this most fundamental question openly and honestly, you lose customers.
People are naturally hesitant to pick up the phone and call a business in order to get an estimate.
They know what happens most of the time – they’re greeted by salespeople who really haven’t been taught the subtle art of persuasion.
Often they are pushed to making a rush decision, but all they’re trying to do is research and get an idea of pricing.
Give To Receive
It’s a much better customer experience when your business is open honest and your talk about pricing on your website.
When you write about the base product/service cost and how you came to the decision to charge that much, you start getting respect from customers for being so open.
You can then go on to tell them about add-on items. Explain how these extras can enhance the basic package and what the additional costs are.
When you write these types of blog posts, explaining in detail how each item is priced and adding pricing pages on your site, you give visitors the honesty and transparency they want.
When you address the #1 Priority for site visitors up front, without them needing to contact anyone, you’re already miles ahead of your competition.
This makes you more trustworthy and people will be more likely to buy from YOU.
2. Show site visitors how extras add to the cost
Most businesses have a core product with bells and whistles that can be added as “extras.”
So there can be a lot of varying factors that can influence the final cost of a product/service. Bearing this in mind, giving a one price fits all estimate is virtually impossible.
So what should a business do?
The vast majority of people researching online are intelligent enough to understand that there are varying influences that determine final costs.
Your job is to help people understand what these factors are and how each factor impacts pricing.
Here is an example for you to get an idea: FBi Buildings, a pole barn builder.
Hypothetically – if you wanted a pole barn on your land in order to store all your farm equipment.
You need to have a basic idea of what you want. You might not be sure of the size you need, the design, whatever permits are involved or what type of finishing you want.
To get a good idea of the options available, you would probably want to know what factors would mean the difference between an affordable barn and one that’s completely out of your price range.
You would probably want to know all of these things before speaking to a salesperson.
FBi Buildings created a post to answer the question: “How Much Does a Pole Barn Cost?”
That post has been read by more than 35,000 pole barn searchers.
You might be thinking, Wow! That’s quite a bit of traffic!
Let’s have a look at what they did to get that traffic:
We said it before!
They created a list and included the top five things that would influence the total cost of a pole barn.
3. Don’t want to talk about prices? Somebody else might
If you don’t want to talk about pricing in your business, that’s fine. But rest assured, if your competitors figure this out, they might jump on the opportunity and beat you to it.
Yes, answering these types of questions may seem counterintuitive.
They may be difficult for you to write about, but, you need to always make it easier for your customer.
Your business isn’t about your needs and wants, it really depends on whether you have buyers or not, am I right?
When you have a market, make it as easy and as seamless as possible for prospective buyers to get whatever they want, without having to go through any red tape at all.
The more freely and openly you provide help and guidance to your site visitors, the more sales you’ll make.
Here’s the thing. You need to be writing these articles!
Getting them to rank won’t be easy, why, well ….
Some businesses realized how effective they are at getting sales, so there are already many businesses writing them.
But, for the majority of businesses, ranking their cost articles isn’t a top priority.
The reason for this is that you can have any number of other articles ranking in the search engines.
All you need to do is have links to the cost articles everywhere to make it easy for people to learn about your pricing.
In reality, the cost articles, once written, will be used over and over again in your sales cycle.
Every-time you have a new customer looking for more information or if they want a sales call, what will you send them before the call?
Yes, pricing is the first item on the list of things they should know.
Different types of Pricing Posts
I’m going to throw a spanner in the works here and confuse the heck out of you right now….ready?
You don’t need to write about cost alone! Huh? But you said write “cost” articles or posts, what’s the deal?
A lot of times, people definitely want to know the cost…right, so we’ve covered that and I don’t want to flog a dead horse.
They also have other questions floating round in the back of their noggins, questions like:
- Are there Warranties
- Will the insurance cover this?
- Are there deals?
- Do they have Coupons?
- Are there any hidden fees?
- Are there any Legal Limitations?
- Is this backed by research?
If you look at all the stuff I’ve listed here, it all kind of ties in with “cost” too!
“Cost” is the “topic” and we create content related to it, which we then call a “topic cluster.”
Say for example you need a new lawnmower.
When you start your research, you’ve got questions in your mind:
- I have budget “X”, can I find something decent?
- Will I have choice between Gas & Electric?
- Is there a service plan?
- Does it come with spare blades?
- Can I find a good Deal?
- Can I add it to my home insurance?
So as you can see. When people are searching for costs, they probably also have a number of other concerns or questions that go along with the decision making process.
It’s best to think about all of the other questions or queries up front, or, if your sales team has made notes of the questions they’re asked often, you’ve got a goldmine of content topics right there.
How to write an almost perfect cost related post (no-one’s perfect)
Now that we’ve covered all the reasons “why” you should write about all types of different cost articles for your business, let’s go over the “how.”
The first thing we have to bear in mind is that the person arriving on your site has concerns. He has questions and is looking for all the answers to his immediate questions.
There might be questions he hasn’t thought of, but as he reaches each point of his journey, heading towards the purchase, more and more questions will come to mind.
Wouldn’t it be great if you arrived at a site and you’re bombarded with content that gives you absolutely everything you wanted to know, as well as information you never even thought of?
You need to be that source.
Let’s do it, shall we…
1. Make a list, including all the questions and concerns a buyer might have
We’ve said it already, but the truth is; each bell and whistle added to your basic product increases the final price.
It’s these extras we want to talk about in our posts. Obviously we’ll address the basic product, but we need to write content that highlights how each addition to the basic product increases the cost.
If you’ve got multiple products/services, well, you’ve got lots of work ahead of you.
Let’s get to work!
You need to create a list for each product/service you provide.
For products, include:
- Basic price
- What can be added
- Any added labor costs
- Attachment costs
- Delivery costs
- Bundle pricing
- Extras (Or, other information) that can influence final cost
For services, include:
- Types of services
- Duration of services
- Raw material/tool costs
- Labor charges
- Installation fees/licensing costs
- Any rates, fees or additional taxes
Once you have the list or topic fleshed out and any points you wish to make are included, it’s time to start writing your cost article.
2. Hook the reader with info
You only have few seconds to demonstrate that you’re a business/person who understands the pain a visitors has and quickly introduce them to a solution.
If you can’t grab the interest of a site visitor in the first few seconds there’s simply little to NO chance they’ll read further.
A great example of a cost article intro that hooks a reader is this one from Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning: Cost of an Air Conditioner Replacement.
If your air-conditioner quits at the height of summer it can make life a little unpleasant and you’ll probably want to get it fixed as soon as possible.
Your most obvious concern will probably be the cost.
So, this post does an excellent job of connecting with your concerns and addresses the problem. The writer also details everything that could affect the final price.
3. Fill the body of the article/post
This is where you convert your list of topics into clearly identifiable headers.
For instance, if you’re going to discuss “A/C Duct Modification” it would be your main topic and any related topics will be sub-headers.
What we’re doing is making it easy for readers to scroll to the topic of interest.
Under each header, you want to include as much detail as necessary. Be sure to break up big chunks of information into lists, more subheadings etc, as necessary.
Make sure that your text is broken up into easily digestible/readable blocks.
Let’s look at this HVAC replacement article:
If you look above you will probably notice that the major factors discussed are “ductwork modifications and condensate drainage.”
Each section is clearly identifiable because of the headers and the following text relates specifically to each factor.
Follow the link above and scroll through the article.
Do you feel like the article answers how much an HVAC system costs?
While reading the post take note of the position, structure, length and frequency of:
- Bolded text
- Bullet points
These are all added by design, to make sure that you see the most important cues related to your concerns/questions.
This in turn can help you decide if you want to read further.
Is the post scroll worthy? Would you start over and read the whole post or continue searching for a better answer?
4. Structure your outro to give more options
If you wrote a decent intro, you should’ve gotten people to read more.
If you laid everything out like we mentioned earlier, your site visitors should be well informed about any cost factors that may determine the final costs of a new A/C or for replacing parts.
The final part of your article is the outro.
This is where you lay out the options and let the buyer/reader decide which path they want to take and what to do next.
You’re not meant to use an outro to summarize what you’ve just written.
They can be better used to address three questions that your reader is probably asking themselves:
- Ok… Now what?
- Why should I act now?
- What’s the next step?
Typically, the best thing you can do after writing an article like this is to let the reader know “What’s the next step.”
You’ve educated the reader, given them all the facts, informed them of any additional costs and let them know their options.
To finalize, you can now let them know what the next step is for them to take.
Let them know if there’s any other content they can read to get even more informed or if they should reach out for a Quote/Consultation.
Let the visitors know why they should take the next step and if you can help then even more, let them know.
Let’s see how the writers from our previous post example concluded their post:
Pretty simple isn’t it?
The writer admits that it’s difficult to give a ballpark figure because there are so many factors that can influence the final cost.
The writer reminds the reader that they’re now better qualified to ask the right questions during a sales call.
The reader should also be better equipped to make informed buying decisions.
Finally a sales pitch is thrown in.
They let the readers know that people in the location of their business may schedule an in-home estimate.
5. Crafting a Catchy Title
If there’s one thing more important than anything else you create, it’s your post title. It’s the first thing people will see and decide to read further. If it doesn’t resonate, it won’t get the click.
Search intent + Matching Title = Click!
There are many tools and processes that you can use to find the best search terms that you can use for your title.
You can Try:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Google Autocomplate
- Just get a list of questions from your sales team
Once you know what people are searching for, you can create a title that takes their search intent into consideration.
Think about your own search process. What keywords would you type in to find out a cost/price for a product or service?
- How much does (Product Y) Cost? With Pricelist
- What’s The Cost Of “X” Service. Compare Plans.
- What Pricing Plans Does Business “Z” have?
Why do we write cost titles like this? It’s common practice for people to just type “How Much Does Product “X” Cost?” into search bars.
Yes, there might be variations, but most of the time the search will begin like this.
As you can see, there are two (2) parts to the search term. The first part has to do with cost and the second part has to do with the “thing” or “Detail” that people want to see.
You have 70 characters to play with, so it gives you room to provide more value and context to searchers.
Take the following article for example:
Sheffield Metals wrote an article about the cost of metal roofing.
For their title, they went with What is the Cost of a Metal Roof? Factors, Considerations, & Examples.
The first part of their title addresses the cost search term, word for word. The second part of the article however gives a preview of what the article contains.
If anyone was looking for an article that covered the pricing factors, considerations and includes examples, then this title says it all.
Because the title includes all of the key terms the searcher has in mind, it will probably interest enough people to click through and read the post.
6. Optimizing the URL for SEO
You might think that your post URL should stay intact in order for it to make sense to people looking for your post. You may also think that having all of those words in the URL will help your article rank.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Google is intelligent enough now to understand the key terms associated behind search intent.
In this case the terms associated with *Cost* (intent) are – what, how much, cost, price, estimate, pricelist, pricing, prices, costs,
If we then remove any of the other types of words:
We can have a short URL that’s easy to remember and easily sharable across Social Media channels.
Google and readers prefer shorter URLs that still give context to the content of the article.
7. Write a descriptive meta-description
You don’t want Google to just grab the first couple of words off our opening statement and then maybe have few words from the first introductory paragraph.
That’s a sure way to confuse a searcher and will probably prevent your article from being read.
We want to own and control what Google shows to searchers.
A lot of people neglect this part of SEO because they think it has no direct impact on search results.
The truth of the matter however differs.
If people see a confusing description, they’re less likely to read a blog post. Proper descriptive text is what determines click-through rate.
When a person searches on the web, search engines return the following results:
- A Title
- A Clickable Link (URL)
- Descriptive text
You can think of meta-descriptions like sample chapters from a book if you will. It gives the searcher a preview of what to expect if they click through to read your article.
The job of the meta-description is to instill a sense of curiosity in the reader. You want people to click through, so, write compelling text and tantalize the reader.
There’s an easy way to create meta-descriptions that get the click.
The trick is to use a simple question and answer format. Just remember, you’re limited to 160 characters.
Start with a search query question that includes the intent keywords and then follow up with a snippet of the answer.
They will see their question shown back to them. If you’ve included intent keywords, these will be bolded to make them stand out in the search result.
Example: meta-description for a cost article:
“Do you want to know how much ghost hunters cost? In this Blog Post, we cover all the factors that may influence the total cost of hunting ghosts including….”
If you counted, there are exactly160 characters in this title. Anything more than this will be cut off in search results.
The question was rephrased; it included intent keywords, mentioned what the article is about and entices searchers to read more.
What else should I write?
That was quite detailed wasn’t it? I’ve shown you why, what and how to write your own cost articles.
The reason for this is that these types of articles are the most important pieces of content you can create for your business.
I want to be of help to you and also help you get them right if you struggle to do it yourself.