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Since I'm already posting articles today, I've got one more for the hopper:

What different consumer groups really want from local business websites

There's 3 different age groups (18-34, 35-54, and 55+) and a bunch of questions about how they feel about local business websites. As always, survey questions are worth less than how people actually behave out in the wild, but still interesting. The most interesting take-away in my eyes at least, if you serve primarily 55+ and you can't afford to get a good website made, it might be better not to bother making one at all.

I also know that it's not uncommon for most businesses to not list prices, but this is just another piece of evidence in my eyes at least that customers like to be able to price shop from your website, or at least have an idea of what to expect when they call you for a quote. What's everyone else think about listing prices? Or for that matter, anything else jump out from the article that seems interesting or counter intuitive?
 

Tim Colling

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When you click through the article's link to the entire study on BrightLocal, they list these top conclusions at the beginning of the article there:

  • Younger Consumers (18-34) expect a local business to have a website & are more likely to contact them if they do
  • Older Consumers (55+) give local businesses with a 'smart' website more credibility
  • Male Consumers believe that a good looking website is more important than female consumers
  • A good looking website with clear photos is more appealing to younger consumers than older consumers
  • Website videos & social media signals are almost irrelevant to consumers 55+

Interesting. That last one is a slight surprise, since there are so many of us grandparents out there on Facebook, at least, looking for news about our grandchildren, our families and our friends.
 

Tim Colling

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...I also know that it's not uncommon for most businesses to not list prices, but this is just another piece of evidence in my eyes at least that customers like to be able to price shop from your website, or at least have an idea of what to expect when they call you for a quote. What's everyone else think about listing prices? ...

From a consumer point of view, I love it when vendors list their pricing info. It allows me to at least make a quick go/no-go decision based on whether or not I have the budget for the product or service.

And, for some services that I look for, especially ones for my work with clients' web dev and seo, I increasingly decide to not consider services whose sites do not provide pricing info, in a straightforward manner.

However, when I am looking for a service that is provided by a large number of prospective vendors, I confess that I am most likely to call the vendors in the last one or two sites that I look at, if their pricing info is pretty similar to everyone else's and if they have a pretty good web presence.

This is true (for me, at least) even if the last one or two are no more compelling than the first one or two that I looked at. It's just too much work to go back and look at all of the ones that I first looked at, that offered similar pricing.

In effect, the first one or two sites become the "baseline" that I compare the eventual winner(s) against. It's as if they were the "chump bidders" in a construction bidding situation.

From a seller point of view, for that reason, I am very reluctant to display pricing for my own site or those of my clients. I'd rather become the one that they call than the one that became the baseline, the "chump bidders".

I think that this also depends on the industry and whether or not very many of the players in that industry display their prices. In an industry where only one or two vendors display prices, it "feels" safer to not display prices. That way, consumers will have to call us, and then we have a chance to convert them while they're on the phone.

I fully confess that most of the above is subjective conjecture, and that I have to research to point to in order for it to be well-grounded. :)
 

Tim Colling

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Here's another interesting (to my market niche) conclusion from the article:

Older Consumers (55+) are highly focused on getting core information from a site. In particular they are most insistent about getting product lists being displayed, a phone number & physical address. Fast Website Speed is also more important to them.​

Service/Product info, phone and address don't surprise me. The "Fast Website Speed" takeaway is interesting, though. I would have (apparently incorrectly) speculated that page load speed would be more important to the (often impatient) younger crowd.

Hmmmpff...
 
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As far as listing prices goes, that's a huge area that ties in pretty closely with the customer buy cycle. I liked what you wrote Tim about how often it's the later people a person looks at, with the first sites being just there to establish the baseline. That rings true for me.

On the other hand, for higher end or more complex services, the best way to make that sale is often to change the game a little bit. If it's a service that has a fair bit of an educational load before a purchase can be made, if you can guide a customer through that process, by then they already know you and it's just a question of whether they can afford you. At that point, including a price is as much about saving you time and avoiding prospect calls that aren't going to go anywhere as they are about 'making the sale' since the sale should be made on other metrics than price anyway, whenever possible.

I think in your example though, if a customer was just making a list of 2 or 3 potential unknown companies to look into hiring, not having a price would probably keep you off their list of companies to call entirely, though I haven't seen any tests on that one way or the other.
 

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I'm working with a client who does not list prices on the internet. They have a very high conversion rate as it encourages visitors to contact them via phone, live chat or through a contact form. Their reasoning, if they speak to the client, they have a far greater percentage of closing the deal as they are great on the phone. It works for them.

Most of their competitors include their pricing on their sites. My client's pricing is still slightly lower and offers better value but I've often asked what they thought about adding prices to see how it influences visitors to their site. They are not adverse or against it but they are leaving pricing off at this point. My fear would be starting a price war.

We were talking about adding a page or blog post to compare services between my client and 3 or 4 of their competitors (found the idea here). It was just discussed last week so no decision was made but this is a case where I feel it would benefit my client to have such a comparison chart on their site. Give people what they want, in one place and retain the visitor on our site vs. clicking around and potentially losing them to a competitor.

Some of the findings of this article are definitely interesting and unexpected in some areas. I would have thought there would be a higher percentage of 55+ users who found videos and social media more beneficial due to the reasons Tcolling mentions. Thanks for sharing.
 

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... I've often asked what they thought about adding prices to see how it influences visitors to their site. They are not adverse or against it but they are leaving pricing off at this point. My fear would be starting a price war...

I would have the same concern!


...We were talking about adding a page or blog post to compare services between my client and 3 or 4 of their competitors (found the idea here). It was just discussed last week so no decision was made but this is a case where I feel it would benefit my client to have such a comparison chart on their site. Give people what they want, in one place and retain the visitor on our site vs. clicking around and potentially losing them to a competitor...

I have used that technique in the past, and found it to work in some cases. What we did back then was create a "comparison shopping list" with my client in the left-hand column, next to all the great things they offered, and then one or two columns to the left of that marked "brand x" or "brand x, brand y" etc.

Of course, this approach could result in starting a feature war... <sigh>


...Some of the findings of this article are definitely interesting and unexpected in some areas. I would have thought there would be a higher percentage of 55+ users who found videos and social media more beneficial...

I can speak from experience on this point: The one type of video that I have found to be effective with this audience is a brief, congenial, sincere, to-the-point video of the owner saying what the firm does and answering the question, "why choose us?". If your create a good one of those, on the home page above the fold, it can be very effective, in my industry niche.

I can't say the same for social media yet (let's face it, this means Facebook). However, I think that I just haven't found the right approach there, yet. I know that even if I didn't go there for tech discussions, I would be on Facebook at least once a day to see info about my daughters, my six grandchildren and my two great-grandsons. That's gotta mean something about exposure, at least to make brand impressions.

And yes, I was being just a bit boastful there about my grandkids and great-grandsons. It's a privilege when you're an old guy. :D

Your mileage may vary.
 
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