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19 Mar 14

How To Escape The Under-Pricing Trap

Amy is organising a conference. She’s super excited about it; for ages, she’s had the dream of bringing together like-minded men and women around a common theme, and she desperately wants the venue to be full and the energy buzzing.

Money falling through hands - under-pricing?There’s just one sticking point: how to price the tickets. She’s settled on a price, but it feels a bit scratchy. She’s not alone in thinking this – when she’s mentioned the price to a few colleagues, they’ve raised their eyebrows and advised her she’s under-pricing.

But she’s terrified of raising the ticket price and putting people off. She’s still quite early on in her business journey, with a limited number of people in her orbit; she figures that choosing a price that’s virtually a no-brainer for them is a safer bet than setting higher prices that less people will want to pay. She’s decided to prioritise quantity over profit, aiming for a full room even though she’ll barely cover her costs.

You might relate to this – whether you’re selling a one-to-one service, a group course, a workshop, product or event. You’ve got the nagging feeling that your price is too low but you’re not confident you could bump it up higher without losing buyers, and you’ve reasoned that you’d rather break even at this price, than have no clients at all.

I’ve increased my prices over the years. One-to-one sessions have gone from £40 per month when I started, to now sitting at £250 per hour. Every time I’ve raised my prices, I’ve felt a little tightening of fear: what if I’m pricing myself out of the market?

I believe one of the keys to being able to price higher and higher is that I blog regularly. Sound incongruous? Confused by how blogging could help with pricing? Here are three ways in which blogging has enabled me to raise my prices over the years – and how it can do the same for you too.

1. Blogging helps you find the sweet spot

You think your event, service or product is amazing and will change lives. But do others “get” that yet?

Marketing is about having truly listened to how people want their lives to change, and then communicating how what you’re offering is a direct match for that.

Blogging allows for this kind of two-way communication. When you receive comments, when people share your blogs, when they interact with other readers, they’re giving you priceless feedback.

As you grow in confidence that you’re offering what people want and need, pricing becomes less of an issue – it’s just matter-of-fact.

Bonus: You can use your blog to find people to research with more deeply; ask people to step forward and have 1-1 conversations with you. Create something people truly want… and they’ll buy, virtually regardless of price.

2. Blogging gives you a strategic freebie

You may feel compelled to set your prices low out of generosity, hating the idea that somebody would walk away empty-handed.

When you publish a blog that’s free to read, you’re providing great value for anybody visiting your site. You know you can direct people to that free blog so it’s less likely you’ll feel the need to price your product or service so it’s accessible to all.

Replace your “Price low” strategy with a far more effective strategy: “Blog regularly”.

3. Blogging builds your client pool

It’s horrible when you’re worried nobody will step forward and buy. Imagine instead you had an enthusiastic, engaged community. This is what happens when you blog regularly – you attract people who love reading your posts and they stick around by joining your email list and becoming regular readers. You grow your community so there are now lots of people connected with you.

The next step is that readers become clients. It’s the natural evolution when people know you, like you, and trust you. More readers leads to more clients; you’ve solved the quantity piece through blogging, so you don’t need to price low to achieve quantity of sales.

Blog regularly so that when you offer something, people are ready to buy in their masses.

Over to you

Do you feel stuck with your pricing? Have you noticed there’s a gap in your marketing strategy? Have you experienced the impact of regular blogging, and been able to raise your prices as a result? Leave a comment below, let us know.

Blogging to transform your business

Blogging angel - can help you escape under-pricingIf you see that blogging is your missing marketing piece, check out Blog for Clients – the online course that takes you step-by-step through the process of creating effective blogs that lead to more clients. We start again in May; to be first to hear when enrollment opens, click here and then enter your name and email to get front of the queue.

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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2014

Photo credit: Tax Credits / Flickr / Creative Commons

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23 Comments

  1. Fi Macmillan

    It’s Friday, its 5pm and its Crackerjack! No, it isn’t, its Wednesday, its midday and its Corrina! Fantastic. I think what you say here is so important, My experience is with charging coaching that I have had to build up as my pricing as my courage grew but as I grew into the higher rates, it became more congruent and clients came more easily. Its as if courage and charging are an iterative self-perpetuating cycle. It is painful watching people charge too little for great gifts. I also got so much out of the Blogging Masterclass and see its power.
    Fi Macmillan´s last blog post ..A challenge too far? Who says?

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Fi – Oh yay Crackerjack!

      Courage… charging… courage… charging – yes to this cycle, thanks for breaking it down so clearly.

      It was a total pleasure to have you on the Blog for Clients journey. :)

       Reply
  2. Rosie @1manbandaccts

    I’ve had feedback both that my prices are amazing value and also that I was expensive . Perfect fit for the first and not so much for the second. It’s not about affordability if there is a range of price points.

    2014 for me is my Year Of Content and I;m blogging every week now. I’m still at the stage when it can take me 1-2 days to do a post so it’s a big chunk out fo my week but that’ll get better and it’s worth it!
    Rosie @1manbandaccts´s last blog post ..The Introvert’s Guide To Networking & Tax

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Rosie – I first read that as Year of Content(ment) ;)

      And oh yes it’s so worth it.

       Reply
      1. Laura

        Haha – yes so did I! Fulfillment is on it’s way …

         Reply
  3. Leslie Bosserman

    Thank you, Corrina, for showing the value of blogging as a way to build trust and community. Beautifully put!

    I’ve had many people ask why I invest time and energy blogging and publishing my bi-weekly newsletter and it always comes back to my desire to connect with my tribe and offer them something they can get excited about – FOR FREE!

    And, as you know and model, sharing our latest ideas and insights is EXCITING STUFF and can be life changing. Keep it coming! :)

    I invite you to check out my latest blog post on The Wholehearted Leadership Revolution: http://leadwithintention.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/the-wholehearted-leadership-revolution/

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Leslie – YES to it being about connection. Isn’t that what we’re craving, in all of this?

       Reply
  4. Lesley Pyne

    Excellently put Corrina,

    If the price is too low then clients don’t value the content – if it didn’t cost much then how good can it really be?.
    That happened to me in the past when I’ did workshops for a charity which were priced too low, I was resentful too as I’d given my time too cheaply.
    So agree absolutely that it’s better to provide value by blogging & charge a fair price for the rest!
    Lesley Pyne´s last blog post ..Worried about Mother’s Day? Here are three things which will help.

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Lesley – Yes, so important to watch out for resentment. And for me (and I’ll guess, you too), if we dig into the feeling, it’s not actually about resenting the other person but rather being annoyed with ourselves that we would sell our precious time away without receiving something that feels good in return.

       Reply
  5. Caroline

    Hi,
    I find this really interesting as I have a client who came to me via his support worker who asked what I charged and then gave my usual price said he could not afford it (which I think is true at an absolute level, he just does not have enough money to pay my usual hourly rate for support) so I offered a special rate. In some ways it has worked out as I am learning, (support is not my main offering but is something I think is important and useful and gives me material for my teaching) and getting feedback and helping someone. However I think he is too grateful, both for him and for me – he feels pychiclly indebted in a way that I don’t think is good for him, and is ackward for me. I think after this block I will raise the fee per hour and suggest he comes less frequently.

    On the other hand I have to confess that I am uncomfortable with the idea of charging £250 an hour – given that this is more than 25 times the minimum wage (I do get that what is charged an hour is not what is earnt an hour) it seems to me that overall high charging just adds to the inequality that is eating away at a sense of community in society.

     Reply
    1. Jayleb

      Hi Caroline,

      The comment you shared “it seems to me that overall high charging just adds to the inequality that is eating away at a sense of community in society”, I have also been very deeply curious about in my process of figuring out right pricing.

      My inquiry into this revealed to me that the inequality exists in the beliefs, thoughts and conditioning of people and communities which is what gives rise to the inequality that is a disturbing fact in our world. Pricing inequality appears to just be a symptom of this.

      Given that understanding and my understanding that living and sharing my own passion contributes to creating equality, I have chosen for now to focus on who my target customer is, the size of the potential market and as my services are long term, I have to very carefully consider what they can afford realistically.
      I have then had to be very honest with myself and ask can I afford to run a business and live happily on the income level that is possible given who my target customer is. If this will not support my real needs, then is there a way to cut costs and deliver my service more effectively so I can share my passion more affordably, given my target markets income level. If not do I need to face facts and walk away or do I need to recreate in a different way.

      Asking these questions in my case has given rise to insight/inspiration to creatively develop a system that allows me to share my passion affordably for my target customer who I am passionate about working with, support my real needs and also grow within.

      This has all happened over several years however to develop, change, alter, test my system as it is connected to my own inner growth but I have survived sharing my passion and I am always growing.

      Hope this helps a little in your own process.
      Jayleb´s last blog post ..The Importance of Great Content

       Reply
  6. Petra

    Hi Corrina, good point!

    I do blog regularly (bi-weekly) and I find my blog to be the best generator of leads for coaching clients. Some posts have become so popular that they clearly point to my sweet-spot offers. I think I’m still at an early level and still need to strengthen my confidence in the value of my offer, but I’m getting there. I believe the key thing here is that you believe yourself in the value you’re providing – and that comes more easily with more feedback and when you see how much you’ve helped people with your blogs. I think getting to this point where I feel I am actually making a difference has been the biggest hurdle so far – still is a bit – but I’m getting there! Thanks for your insight. Good to see someone else validating my own thinking :)
    Petra´s last blog post ..How to get over someone you don’t want to get over

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Petra – Fantastic! Yes, when you see how much you help people with your free blogs, it builds your confidence that you can *really* help people with your paid-for services.

       Reply
  7. Leda Sammarco

    Thanks for this, Corrina. It’s a timely reminder for me about the power of blogging. I’m planning a new service and was thinking that including blogs would be great free content alongside the paid for elements, so nice to have that confirmed. Not to mention that regular, high-quality blogging is all about giving, and when you give, you receive.

     Reply
  8. Karen Knott

    I really enjoyed this article Corrina – as is often the case you make me look at things from a different perspective, which can only be a good thing!

    Setting our prices at the ‘right’ place is one of those topics that seems to become enmeshed in all sorts of pretty deep stuff like our money beliefs.. values… self-worth – hardly any wonder we get ourselves in a bit of a pickle trying to untangle that lot!

    Seth Godin’s blog today looks at this same theme from a different angle:
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/03/what-does-its-too-expensive-mean.html
    Karen Knott´s last blog post ..Ageism is alive and well in the workplace

     Reply
  9. Rosemarie

    This is really interesting Corrina. Pricing has always been something I have struggled with but I am finding that blogging more regularly is really helping hone my voice and the content I want to get out there. With that, gradually, is coming greater confidence in all aspects of the business. I hadn’t thought of it like that until reading this post which confirms I am heading in the right direction. Thank you!
    Rosemarie´s last blog post ..Why I use Buffer

     Reply
  10. Mills

    I love what you say Corrina about blogging as a way of giving freebies so that we don’t have to get all tangled up in the whole ‘should I give them a discount or reduce my prices’ cycle. This really resonates and has inspired me to do more! It really makes sense!

    I’ve just started blogging and am really keen to get in the flow of it all. It feels vulnerable and empowering at the same time to send a message out to my tribe. And, added into this mix is the fact that I don’t know exactly who my tribe are yet! But I am thinking that the more I blog, the more that might become clear! Fingers crossed! (of course I am sure your blogging course will help too Corrina, hence hopefully hopping onto it in May!).

    ps I’ve followed your work for some time Corrina but this is the first time I’ve engaged – it feels good! Thanks for such a wonderful inspiring community :-))
    Mills´s last blog post ..Lucky? Or Living Consciously?

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Mills – It feels good to have you here! Thanks for being part of this community and huge congrats for starting to blog – you’d be warmly welcomed into Blog for Clients :)

       Reply
  11. Kevin

    Excellent post Corrina, and in fact I just found you through through John’s podcast and I really appreciate this post!
    I don’t have a coaching business…yet, but this will definitely help me with setting up the prices!

    And I already do blog and podcast regularly so I guess that is the start of the journey. Thanks =D

     Reply
    1. Corrina

      Kevin – See, the magic of finding your Tribe through blogging or its brothers and sisters: video blogging and podcasting!

      How exciting to think of you at the start of this journey. All power to you as you begin your coaching business.

       Reply

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