Start your product design with a pricing page

Creating a pricing page is an ideation tool for refining the design of your products and services

You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology
– Steve Jobs

This was Steve Jobs off-the-cuff response to getting trolled by a techie who tried to call him out for removing LDAP from the Mac operating system. Does anyone remember LDAP? I didn’t think so. We remember the liberating experience of using Macs, especially in the pre-Windows 7 era.

This customer-first mantra has become product design 101.

But what’s 102? Where does the customer experience start? The answer is that it depends, but let’s assume that it often begins at price. In other words, it begins with figuring out the price. Cost. Investment. Of what you’re selling – of what it will take, as one my subscribers has put it, to transform your customer from Frumpy Lumpy with a broken kazoo into the Pied Piper for their industry.

Have you ever written a 20-page proposal and put the price near the end? Have you ever reviewed a 20-page proposal and skipped the entire thing to get to the price first? Yes to both here. And it’s the same effect when reviewing web pages for products and services offerings. The pricing is a frame of reference for everything else you have to say about your solution. And it’s usually one of the first, if not the first page you visit on a website.

Quick side note: “investment” has become such an over-used term that it has begun to feel pushy and “salesy”. Consider just saying “cost” or “price”; say the term that people naturally say, rather than the term you think makes them more likely to buy.

If the customer experience begins with price, then isn’t the pricing page itself an excellent place to start to design your product? 

I’m working with assumption here, however: that pricing – done right – is more than just a number. It’s the number plus everything you get for it, the most important features, timeframes, caveats, and details. This is an excercize in compressing complexity into a very small space.

And if you are offering multiple price-tiers, pricing becomes even more complex. Three excellent examples:

  1. Active Campaign: 
  2. Atlassian:
  3. Meg Cumby

As you can see, whether you are a lean tech company, a multi-billion dollar global software company, or a solo consultant, a pricing page is much more than a few numbers.

And it’s a great way to define your products (and in Meg’s case, her productized services).

Take action. Get out the wireframing tool (ie the pen and the paper), draw your website, writing Plans and Pricing on the top, and name some prices – then justify them. You have just started to redesign your product.

Even if you have never talked about your pricing in public (and never intend to), this exercise might teach you something about what you’re selling and make it easier to talk about it.

Have a great weekend,