36: Writing About the Cost of Your Service

Darryl: Hi! And welcome to “The My Bloody Website” podcast, where we talk about all things online especially for small, medium business owners or marketers. I'm Darryl King, I've been running a web agency for over 25 years. My co-host Ed Pelgen who’s been running his online marketing agency for about as long. Our goal is to cover things in a way anyone can understand and can improve how they use online in their business. Episode 36 and we're going to go with a Content topic this week: Writing about What Your Service Costs. How are you going Ed?

Edmund: I'm going very well Darryl. How about yourself?

Darryl: yeah, I'm going good. So we have, had a few sort of navel-gazing episodes and discussions in the last three. Talking a little bit about staying on track focusing about what you're doing; you know, how to use providers etc etc. We're gonna do more of a Content episode again. we had a bit of a break from some of the content stuff a couple of months back and this one is a topic that comes up where a lot of people don't like to write about what their service costs. Are we're talking very much about service businesses, not product businesses, most products put prices up online. The number of service providers don't necessarily put rates up. They have, may have justifiable reasons or it may be just something that they feel like they can't write about and the goal of this would be to talk about that in some depth about how you can use that topic to produce not necessarily a blog post. It could be about how you explain it on our page, it could be on the service page, it could be a particular pricing page, could be in any number of places (1:34 or/to embed video)

Edmund: Yeah, and that's right and I think it's a good opportunity to talk about it because there's been a reticence in the past for people to talk about costs because they don't want to give away the secret sauce so they think it's a loss of competitive advantage and look admittedly some businesses where the service is complex they need more information before they can discuss cost but I guess where we're coming from is just having the conversation about cost, the components how you work it out; you know, how it's; how; what are the variables that go into a higher cost project or a lower cost project. Those are good opportunities from a marketing perspective, from positioning attraction. Yeah? So it's a good thing to think about and then you can work out whether it's right for your business.

Darryl: I suppose this comes into the topic of value came up in previous weeks

Edmund: hmm

Darryl: that is it because of the cheapskate mindset or is it you know like that competitive advantage thing. why do you reckon people; oh, not why reckon because you just said that but maybe part of the problem is that people don't explain the value they offer and it's again the (2:48). I don't want to tell you what a great advantages where some people don't have a problem at all. What; you know, what’s the right way to approach it?

Edmund: well I would; oh, well; if you're gonna research this online the probably the most prominent figure who started talking about this from a; from a tactical perspective. I guess is a guy called Marcus Sheridan who ran a marketing company called the Sales Line. And in his previous life he was a pool manufacturer, you know; they sold pools

Darryl: Hmm

Edmund: and he from his perspective and this is in the early days of the web he got a huge amount of traffic to his pages on his website. Where he wrote about the cost of the pool. How much does a concrete pool cost and you know, how much is a fiberglass pool cost and you know; he didn't write just about cost but also you know the price you know; he understood how people search and for whatever reason because people were actually searching that on Google. Google with his blog content up there. So he inevitably had a lot of people coming to his site interested in how much does a pool cost and from his perspective he wasn't afraid of giving away the secret sauce per se but he took it as an opportunity to explain. Look, this is how we cost that a pool. This is what's involved, this is why our pools cost this much because we do this and this and this and because no one else was talking about it. He basically had an opportunity to have a chat to people who were interested in buying a pool you know and he was straight up it built a lot of trust. The fact that he was the only one who was willing to talk about it. And it generated a lot of business for him. Right? And so that's where this kind of started. And the reality is people do search for price and cost data; all the time;

Darryl: How? I guess the issue is translating them because to some degree it's still a product. I know it's a variable product service that they offer. There's a lot of factors in it but it's like; you know, you're looking at a; you know, a lump sum; hey, I've got a 6x4 pool this depth blah, blah. These accessories and it's a package price.

Edmund: Hmm

Darryl: how does that translate? I guess to; you know, if you're doing time and materials work you know, you're a freelance graphic designer; you do logos. The value of putting up your rights and how to do that in such way and you know, this; I guess he took it in a series and that's trying to outline the value proposition. Right? Which I think is part of the reason why people can (5:23) because what they're doing is; well, I've got a page on my five page website that talks about price and they have a services list in heaven about us but they're not really talking about the value. There’s nowhere in there where they're explaining the value

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: which is why they're probably fearful about putting price up or why it hurts them because someone just comes along; goes, ah you offer logo; your hundred dollars an hour; are you offer logo, your thirty dollars an hour; oh smart means is thirty dollars our like you've got some examples, you've got some examples; you know, like I can't easily differentiate why you have this Price

Edmund: and I would push back to say that if you're not comfortable having this conversation. There's probably two issues at play there, one is that you may be fearful that you aren't actually giving extra value to justify your price or two your fearful of actually having that conversation about explaining why. Right? You are more expensive and I think it's a good opportunity for people to explain that. So this is why this cost this much because I do it this way right and I just think it's an opportunity to enter the conversation with someone and the reality is if someone can't afford your price and you're giving value. Right? Then you're gonna be; your blog post or your content on the price is going to push those people away and those are the people that you don't necessarily want. Right?

Darryl: well, I know; I guess that's true too. None of us are serving everyone and maybe this is the mindset that's wrong and looking at why I don't want to put content about price or whatever that might be. Is that I am and I've talked about me and either person I'm going; well, I I'm trying to be everyone's provider

Edmund: hmmm

Darryl: and you know, they say when you when you target nobody; I'm sorry; when you target anybody; you get nobody;

Edmund: That’s right

Darryl: that's sort of thing whereas if you know; hey, these are the businesses that my service is best for I've got a steady stream of people that are more than willing to pay that. The job then is how to write out that message in such a way.

Edmund: yeah okay

Darryl: you upload it out and I think it's not just about one post and misses the important thing

Edmund: yeah; yeah

Darryl: like it's about you can have prices up there and then you need to go and I guess what you were saying before which is; if you're having the conversation and you're having verbal conversations about it. This falls about way way back when we talked about answering questions for clients

Edmund: Correct

Darryl: were you having a repetitive question if you have a repetitive question then you need to produce some material around that in a way that helps answer the question so then the person can self-answer. They're on your site, it's got pricing and says, what's the value in this? What will you get for it? (8:10)

Edmund: Correct

Darryl: they lead off to other pages, there might be a video that talks about, might be a; it might be a walkthrough video you talked about this in the past it says, here's the process we go through, here's the outcomes you get to look

Edmund: yeah, so what I would suggest to people is survival. I mean at a very tactical level you can go and find out; hey, so many, X many people search for how much as a pool cost. Right? You can work out; okay great. There's interest in that topic. Right? But instinctively you know there's always interest in the price of your product. Right? But if you sell something or you provide a service. I think it's important to our; it's an opportunity for you to say, okay well; No one ever writes a blog person says; unless it's a product let's say; if it's a service; they don't typically say; it's going to cost this much without explaining what's involved. So like you said. I would suggest if you had a piece of information about what your service is gonna cost. You don't start with the price straight up. You start with explaining. What's involved? What do you do? Why you? What’s the value? I guess? And you try to prove historically the value, you know; through case studies and things like that in your content before you get to it and you say and then that it ends up being this right or this this many hours and the hourly rate is this and that's why; and to some extent you've built up the justification because you know what it's like; Some people will see a price and goes oh shit; I'm not gonna; that's too much for me because they're comparing your service to the one that they can buy online or something like that. (9:42 what do you think)

Darryl: yes, the way I would play that. I mean because it sounds like you're saying write a blog post about your pricing. It’s what sounds like what you're saying and I'm kind of thinking well, that's not necessarily the right way

Edmund: No

Darryl: I think explaining is fun. So I think about physical therapists and doctors and dentists. A lot of them do display their rights but they do a really poor job of explaining it. So you know they have a rate cheap. What does it cost? Then you can get; you know, you can get you know teeth cleaning and get this; now, but there's no other suffering supplementary information that talks about the value and that's where you can link that out to a post that you've done or even a fixed page and I think sometimes everyone wants a blog post. I'll just put in the blog post

Darryl/Ed: oh no (10:24) Shit gets buried right? / Yeah absolutely

Darryl: I get to it; so think about your; so; and I know we're talking about all types of service businesses but if you think about those examples where they do put a rate up but they're setting themselves up just to be compared with the other studio down the road clinic because there's no differential information and that's really what you're saying isn't it like; yeah, do a good job of putting on your rates because people want to compare; hey, I'm looking for a dentist in this area there's three dentist sites I found. One has no pricing whatsoever is that; yey; okay maybe and I think that triggers are maybe there's a problem with that and I put up because there most expensive and that; so people don't inquire whereas having it there to others might have them but the one that goes and explains it and lays it out in a really good structure and says (11:17)

Edmund: exactly

Darryl: more what you'll get if we do a root canal. (11:21) hates a root canal you go there; so, the reason a root canal costs and I kind of remember what they cost; they cost a lot blah, blah is because we got to do this this this this this; but we also do this business in this you know; you know, If you're comparing rates and maybe this is the other thing you know, you've mentioned I've heard in conversations before. It's actually do a post about comparing yourself with your competitors not in a way to bug the competitors but to give people those apples and oranges questions to say; hey, when you're looking at comparing prices and service around root canal? Are you getting these three or four other things because not all dentist provide them? They will do these things but do you get that. Because that sets you up right? That there's the value

Edmund: exactly right. It’s positioning and anchoring from a price perspective. You know. If you; if we stick with your dental analogy. I saw a really good dentist that actually; they; what they did was; that you know; you know; you can get when you do a root canal you have a bridge and things and they're all these metal pieces they screw into your gums and; This dentists actually said these veneers or these screws and stuff are that come from Italy. Right? They're fabricated in this blah blah blah, this; and that's why these pieces are custom for you, they're high-quality, made blah blah as opposed to the alternative which is a much cheaper product that it comes out of say these lower-cost fabs in Asia and they don't do this for that. Right? And so they took the time to explain why they're; this screws you're out; they screw in your jaw we're actually much high quality because they were gonna last longer and they were there was more attention to the quality to them; that sort of stuff; Right? So there's immediately, this opportunity to position yourself with a high value product and then that would justify your price. If you had no reason to justify why would they pay more?

Darryl: and I want to; I want to introduce the opposite which is even though like last week's one we were to talk about people being a tight-ass and you know choosing their budget wrong. There's nothing wrong with having competitive pricing and being not the dearest guy or being lower

Edmund: Hmm

Darryl: but again you also for the same reasons that explaining the higher price value. You need to do a good job of explaining why your rates might be better, maybe you've got better processes, maybe you're just your experience and the way your team works, maybe your suppliers you just got great price that does it and maybe you know; you're just happy. I mean if you're the lawn mower guy and you say you know what because I've got acreage of my own I mulch all my own stuff on my property so I don't have tip fees or dump fees and all of these other things. I'm just pulling examples out of the air. But because we do 10,000 air conditioners a year with the largest one in the city

Edmund: exactly

Darryl: if we get a Buy rate that's half of what our competitors are likely to get. So you get a better price not because of any other deal. That you know that's going on or you know because of the way we work; you know; we don't charge the same labor rates for this reason you know blah blah

Edmund: Do you know what? It all comes down to this the concept of the value equation that we talked about. Talking about cost or how much your services cost or the price of them is an opportunity for you to discuss to explain the value. Right?

Darryl: your value

Edmund: your value that's right and you've made a conscious decision to say; you know what? I'm a low-cost provider because I've got these efficiencies. Right? Doesn't mean I'm poor quality but I'm low cost because of X Y Z. It's in the same way that some digital marketers will say, I run a lightweight remote team. We’re distributed, we don't have offices which allows us to be; to provide you a better rate or a better deal right? Without lower quality right? Our processes are tight yada yada and they demonstrate that through you know whatever videos and history and all that sort of stuff as opposed to a big city agency that's in the middle of town paying 40 grand in rent a month right? That’s it's an opportunity to have that conversation about it but you can see the value right? And then that's why. So it's a good point top and bottom.

Darryl: yes, so that; what we're saying to listeners is think about the content topics that you can extrapolate from price as a topic right? So if you start with price, one how feasible is it for you to put price up and if you were to do so as a way to make your business transparent make your service officer and really do it because everyone's talking about; What content can I produce? What content will make my site perform better? And you don't need a web designer to build you this page, you don't need an SEO marketed to do this work. This is about putting the Thornton, the effort from a few weeks back. The real effort in is saying what is the content that would matter to my audience that's likely to help improve the results I'm gonna get and one of the topics is around price. Okay! Let's not be afraid of our price because we're good. We have that price anyway. If you bring me I have that price so first of all, if I can put that up there and only get the really qualified people to come through because of it and I do it well. Well that's saving it anyway because I don't have to deal with the people that we're never gonna pay right?

Edmund: that's right

Darryl: but if I have a special, if I have a way, if my coffee machines are half the price of everyone else but I've laid the value out say, you know what? You'll get five thousand hours not ten thousand hours of these but the reality is. Some of the other things will go wrong in the ten thousand hours anyway. You know; or what; you know; like; you know you'll get crap in the pot. I don't know what you might use in that scenario but this will get you this many thousands of coffees anyway; we guarantee it and the money that you say there you can put into coffee or holidays or whatever you can sell that concept really really well, if you have a good deal going or if you've got the way to offer; look we do data entry; we don't charge our normal development rate for data entry because I have some people on remote team that are very very cost effective to do that with they do a good quality service everyone's happy with it but you can't pay hundreds of dollars an hour to just cut and load content.

Edmund: Hmmm

Darryl: it's just not a good ROI; you know, that doesn't work so we have a way to handle that process; you know, when there's mass amounts of content that we've got to be loaded that have already been written that already been done. Client doesn't have anyone to take; you know, 89 hours to load it you know so like; How do you do that cost-effectively well that's a value-add, that's a way to explain things that; Oh, okay! So there are some variances in pricing that can happen in those scenarios. I never even knew about that. All of a sudden is an opportunity. Well we always have lots of data below maybe we will talk to these guys because you know and I think anyone can find ways to do it. So it's really about helping think about this price thing is not just a price sheet

Edmund: that's right; that's right and these are your content opportunities. You think about all those elements that make up the price. It's an opportunity if you have that conversation on the website and it'll you; I think; I think it's a great opportunity because what you just mentioned push us the way that people who despite your value and despite the quality and all that sort of stuff you bring to the table. They just don't have the budget to it. So that's fine they won't waste your time and by the same token for those who are attracted to you. Who have the budget to pay your high price gives them comfort knowing that the reason the price is high is because there's maybe more thought, better quality, more insight, more planning you know that of money yeah and and

Darryl/Ed: (18:57 lot of experience/ yeah)

Edmund: that will help make the decision for them as opposed to getting on the phone in you having to do the hard sell on the phone in an in a soft sell situation that can read that stuff on the website and make up their minds. To some extent it's a conversion opportunity feeling right? You're helping educate them in advance of your conversation

Darryl: So maybe to round it up. What the way to think about it is. Let's just say that you've got a service page on your site about the services you offer, maybe you've got multiple but on there; what we're going to say is; you may not directly put pricing on that page or it may be designed that way where it has pricing but now think about the links and content that might sit under that and around that. That will now help to explain the value and what they get for it and even comparisons and other things that go with it. Now some of those you could do blog posts. So what Ed talked about a little bit earlier which is: I want to compare with other people, I want to do you know some case studies and things where I bring the value in. Think about it when you write that. you know So when we're writing the topic and think about what's the value part of it so that when there is a link from the service or the pricing page to some of these relevant posts. You can do it all link back and go you know and if you want to know what the service costs to get this type of service value. This is what we cost but they can be cost-linked. You can do it. You could do a video if it's relevant to the thing. So if you're talking about; I don't know; say you're a masseuse; well you've got a masseuse in studio; you could actually have the masseuse there talking and say, look you know this is what I bring to it. Things that don't necessarily translate well to words, might have look you know. I've got the biggest elbows in the world so I can get in and really break up the muscles

Edmund: That’s Right

Darryl: Bad example but; there's numerous ways that you could do it. Obviously you can have PDFs and white papers to support a position that you might have. So maybe you've done a whole lot of research behind what's into your service and that you've got these documentation pieces available. So then think about summarizing that maybe there's an introductory video or blog means this

Edmund: Hmm

Darryl: hey, here's that; well; I've got TDL too long

Edmund: too long didn't read

Darryl: yeah, didn't read; TDL; here's the snapshot. If you want to get into the detail he's here but this is what sets us apart; you know, really think about building that out and improving that comes in all around that topic

Edmund: that's it; it's just allowing you to have better conversations with your clients; that's it; prospects

Darryl: prospects, clients yeah and by conversations it's not on over the phone conversation necessarily it's a power understanding. I think it's a good term Ed. Where; if you're producing the content in your digital properties like; as if you are trying to help with the conversation; I think you get better content and all of this stuff can then get shared; you know, like if you produced posts so you produced pages that are explaining a value position you can then share them; Facebook, you know; wherever it might be; LinkedIn which is your one at the moment; you know; wherever you want to go

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: but you have an ability to have some interesting conversations going out there which your competitors might be too afraid to do.

Edmund: Yeah, awesome; so I think there's value in writing about how much your service costs and that's the content for today's episode

Darryl: all right

Edmund: What do you reckon?

Darryl: if anyone's got any questions about that or got challenges around the content that they're trying to do or how to do it an interesting way. Feel free, put some notes under the video. If you're on YouTube message us through email or Twitter or (22:36…?) Podcast

Edmund: Facebook

Darryl: Facebook and we'll get back to you.

Edmund: wonderful; all right and that's it for today. Awesome episode. Thanks again for listening. We really appreciate having you along for the ride. If you want to see the show notes get access to the resources we talked about and get notified about new episodes just visit: bloodywebsite.com or subscribe to the podcast at Apple podcast or stitcher. Also if you enjoy the podcast please leave a review in Apple podcast it really helps other people to find the podcast. We hope to see you next week when we're going to continue this chat about my bloody website. It's goodbye from me.

Darryl: It's goodbye from him.