January 26, 2014
4 Tips That Take Your SaaS Pricing Page From Complete Dud to Total Stud

At the beginning of the New Year, we exposed some critical mistakes that 5 SaaS companies were making on their pricing pages (see The Saddest SaaS Pricing Pages of the Year). It was a little scary to put the high beams on those pages, but we felt pointing out their faults in addition to suggesting a few minor tweaks could help many of our readers tune up their own page designs and pricing structures.

But what exactly makes an awesome pricing page? Our 1st Pricing Page Pageant revealed some sweet pointers, but to dive a little deeper, let’s start examining methods for optimizing your page using one great site at a time. This week, we’ll put Ginzametrics under the microscope, who have a simple, attractive pricing page for their SEO and content marketing platform.

Represent Your Buyer Personas

Your pricing tiers are a visual representation of where your buyers fit in your business model, and each tier should align to one type of customer. In the case of GinzaMetrics, it’s very clear who they’re targeting with each tier. The product caters to three different buyer personas, and the product descriptions displayed as well as the amount of product delivered in each tier align to one of those three personas (we’ll call them Startup Steve, Agency Anne, and Enterprise Eddie for the remainder of the post).

pricing page

As a prospect viewing this pricing page for the first time, you can immediately understand where you fall within these tiers based on the stage of your business. The plan names are fairly bland, but the brief, concise statements below them tell potential customers exactly where to go. The Small plan is “perfect for small teams and startups,” the Medium plan is “for quickly growing businesses and agencies,” etc. The descriptions also ensure customers can easily see how the product grows with them as their own businesses grow.

The bottom line: The ultimate goal in your packaging and pricing strategy is to create an ideal customer profile for each of your plan tiers and clone them over and over in your signups. Being transparent about who your ideal buyers are helps ensure the right customer signs up for the right package.

Define the Value Metrics that Customers Care About

GinzaMetrics specializes in SEO and content marketing - keyword tracking, sites, and the number of competitors tracked per site are the main staples by which customers make their purchasing decisions. The company’s pricing page reflects this perfectly, as each tier communicates exactly how much of those features you’re getting for the price. No massive full feature list, no checkmarks, no worries.  

While we can’t be totally sure how they arrived at these drivers (we’re betting on customer feedback and analysis), we can assume that these are the features Ginzametric customers value the most. It’s obvious you’re charged for each unit of value you’re receiving because you get more of those three essential facets of the product as you move up the plans.

Ginzametrics 4

In addition, any aspects of the product that all the plans include (unlimited users, for example) are kept below the brackets to reduce confusion. Because a feature like unlimited users isn’t a plan differentiator for Ginzametrics, I’m a big fan of how they place it below the fold.

pricing page

Custom dashboards also act as a value metric that differentiates the tiers, but you’ll notice you don’t have access to that feature with the Small plan. This omission is probably for two reasons. First, it’s a way to differentiate the tiers and create a clear upgrade path for “super users” looking for additional value from GinzaMetrics (even if they don’t need more keywords, sites, etc.). Second, they may have discovered smaller companies don’t need custom dashboards as much as Agency Anne or Enterprise Eddie. Thus if the Small plan included them Startup Steve might feel like he’s paying for premium features he has no desire to use.

The bottom line: SaaS and software products are unique in that they have feature sets inherent to the product that can be used to scale services and justify prices from one plan to the next. The key to setting effective packaging is understanding what value metrics you have to work with and which are most relevant to each of your buyer personas.

Don’t be afraid to strip out features like GinzaMetrics has done though. You don’t have to give each customer cohort a piece of everything to align your packaging and plans to customer value perceptions. Quantify what each buyer persona actually needs before you decide what to include.

Charge Accordingly for Customer Support

customer support

Notice how customer support gets a whole lot better as you move up the tiers? For Agency Anne, it’s an extra $500 a month to have a dedicated account manager from GinzaMetrics take care of the issues that arise amongst her 30 clients, and it’s probably worth it. One of the largest costs in SaaS is support (dedicated employees, help desk software), and usually it’s the customers that pay you the least who need the most help (a highly sophisticated director of IT at a Fortune 500 company won’t need help fixing small bugs like a non-technical Startup Steve might).

Ginzametrics does a great job of using support to communicate and add value to the higher plans. Support has a permanent home in each tier below the value metrics, and the Medium and Large plans each offer something a little different to create additional value.

In particular, I’m a huge fan of the custom onboarding feature in the larger package. Successfully educating stakeholders and integrating the platform into large site portfolios is probably extremely important to Enterprise Eddie, and it’s a superb way to ensure client success and reduce churn amongst Ginzametrics’ highest paying customers.

The bottom line: Customer support adds value and eats up bandwidth like an elephant, so why not incorporate it into your pricing page? Using support as a value metric that helps determine your packaging and pricing, when done simply like Ginzametrics, effectively demonstrates the increased value of your upper tiers so customers see another reason to upgrade down the road.

Use a Free Trial!

GinzaMetrics is playing a long game here, giving away 14 days of product usage. However, this ensures potential customers know the value of the product before they pull out their credit card. While a freemium offer or free plan would demonstrate value too, that’s where the similarities end. The freemium model provides very little incentive to upgrade to paid, and if you strip many of the features from your free plan to create incentive, the right customers may never get an accurate picture of your product’s worth.

free trial

The bottom line: Giving your prospects a chance to test drive your product before they buy is a win-win for everybody. Potential customers get to utilize your features and see the immediate impact on their business/operations, and your sales team gets a list of hot prospects to hand hold through free trials, which will help them uncover pain points and ultimately close the deal after the trial period ends.

A Note on the Prices

The only closing thoughts I have for GinzaMetrics concern the actual pricing structure. A $12,000 annual spend for a startup business seems quite hefty. With that being said, GinzaMetrics is servicing a different segment of the market than their leading competitor Moz.com and their pricing tiers are aligned to some unique value drivers. I do think there is an opportunity to create a more limited version of the product at a lower price point to capture more customers downstream in the market. However, without looking at customer data and testing willingness to pay, this is purely speculation on my part.

All that being said, bravo GinzaMetrics on a beautifully constructed pricing page! 

Want to Learn More? 

Each company and pricing page is unique, so if you want a detailed analysis of your own pricing strategy, feel free to sign up for a free Price Optimization Assessment with an expert here on the team.

If you want to dive deeper into pricing page best practices, check out our latest eBook, The SaaS Pricing Page Blueprint, which offers in-depth data and analysis on building the perfect pricing page.

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