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8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page
Image credit: markus spiske | Flickr
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Pricing pages have a huge impact on online sales. Designing the right pricing page is key to increasing checkouts and revenue, but there’s a lot more to a pricing page than its design.

Since emotions and psychological triggers influence purchasing behavior, and since consumers depend on products and services to fulfill emotional needs in their lives, pricing pages should meet those needs.

The way things are presented to people affects their decision-making. In this post, we’ll take a look at psychological triggers that influence purchasing behavior. We’ll also go over how to incorporate the triggers into pricing pages.

1. Decoy Effect

According to the decoy effect, consumers have a hard time making up their minds. So, when they are given two options, they tend to prefer the first option because it looks better, even though both options could be exactly the same.

People have a noticeable change in preference according to the way choices are presented. Sometimes, using a third option helps to guide them toward a specific choice. Considering the decoy effect, make sure you offer pricing plans that lead customers to purchase the plan you want them to purchase.

Let’s take a look at The Economist’s famous pricing page to better understand how to incorporate the decoy effect into your pricing page design. The first plan costs $59 for the online version only, the second plan costs $125 for the print version only, and the third plan costs $125 for both print and online versions.

According to the decoy effect, the first two options require thinking and considering, while the third option presents an easy decision: $125 for both versions is better than $125 for print only or $59 for online only.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

2. Anchoring Effect

Even though more accurate information may be presented later, people tend to rely on the first piece of information they receive. You see this everywhere, even at the supermarket where an old label will be placed above a new one or the unit price will be shown above the actual price. Showing an older, higher price gives consumers the sense that they are getting a deal.

Crazy Egg does a good job of utilizing the anchor effect on their pricing page. Even though there are four price points, the most expensive price points are shown first. This makes the $49/month plan seem like a bargain next to the other monthly subscriptions. In addition, Crazy Egg highlights in blue the plan they prefer their customers purchase, so it stands out among the other plans in gray.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

3. Analysis Paralysis

While providing two or more options can be beneficial to satisfy consumer preference, you should be cautious about using too many options. Analysis paralysis happens when people overthink a situation to the extent that they never make a decision or take an action. In the context of pricing pages, offering too many options can cause consumers to overthink and leave the page.

DocuSign’s pricing page used to have endless lists with checkmarks, along with five different price points, making it extremely difficult to figure out. The page has been simplified to summarize the core features that help users make a determination in selecting a package.

This is the “before” page:

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

This is the “after” page:

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

Although simplified and with fewer options, this pricing page still does a poor job of guiding people toward “the best” pricing, and it still has too many options and checkmarks to analyze.

Dropbox, on the other hand, has three price plans that focus solely on their core feature – storage space. This makes it simple for users to differentiate and choose.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

4. Scarcity

The less there is of something the more valuable it is perceived to be. Take diamonds, for example. A small group of companies controls the quantity of diamonds in circulation in order to keep prices high. To use scarcity in your pricing pages, eliminate the possibility of future abundance in the minds of your customers.

Setting a time limit on pricing pages, an “invitation only” event, or a cap on the number of products is a great way to introduce scarcity into your pricing pages.

Expedia uses scarcity throughout their pricing pages. On the search results page, they display:

  • The number of people who recently viewed a property
  • The last time it was booked
  • The time left for the deal

This gives the perception that rooms are going fast and entices the user to book quickly before losing their chance.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

5. Loss Aversion

Our desire to avoid pain or loss is even stronger than our desire to pursue joy or gain. Some studies show that losses are twice as powerful psychologically as gains. This implies that a person who loses $100 suffers pain that is more intense than the joy the person experiences when he or she gains $100. There are a few ways to use this psychological trigger in your pricing page design:

  1. Free trials – The whole world of free trials is built on the basis of loss aversion. Once a person has been using a product for a while and has become dependent on it, paying for it is the next natural step in order to avoid the loss of the product.
  2. Messaging – You can focus a visitor’s attention on the loss they may suffer by not becoming a customer rather than on the gains they may achieve by becoming a customer.
  3. Timing – A limited time offer with an expiration date on it sets off the loss aversion trigger and converts visitors quicker.

6. Hyperbolic Discounting

Hyperbolic discounting is a psychological trigger that has to do with the way we evaluate rewards. When given a choice between two awards, we tend to prefer the one that arrives sooner even if it is worth less. In other words, people favor an instant reward and discount the one they have to wait for.

TalkerApp (before it became a free service) used to offer an immediate reward to customers choosing a specific pricing plan, convincing visitors to try the larger plan.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

Dropbox attributes 35% of their daily signups to their referral program. By offering an immediate reward (free space) to their customers, Dropbox increases their referrals and increases their daily signups.

7. Choice Supportive

Choice supportive is another psychological trigger that affects our purchasing habits. It refers to our general tendency to attribute a positive perspective to our past decisions. Once we’ve made a decision, we tend to continuously convince ourselves of the great decision we made, which is why pricing pages are a great place to show testimonials. Showing others that people are happy, content, and satisfied is a great way to increase pricing page conversions.

Note how TK uses a testimonial right on the side of their pricing page, confirming it is a trustable service, but more importantly, relaying that people are extremely satisfied and happy with their past decision to become a member.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

8. Trust

It all comes down to trust in the end. Customers need firm assurance that they can trust you before they turn over their credit card to your site, because that’s not an easy thing to do. There are many ways to convey trust:

  • Mention the number of people who’ve trusted you so far
  • Present trust icons
  • Display testimonials

Campfire introduces two of the three methods, showing there are over 100,000 customers and adding a testimonial at the bottom of the pricing page.

8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

By understanding the psychological triggers that motivate all of us, you can build a stronger connection with your audience and influence your customers to take a desired action.

What other psychological triggers do you utilize in your pricing page design?