Properly Taking Advantage of the Psychology of Pricing

Properly Taking Advantage of the Psychology of Pricing

We can talk about pricing all day, every day, but when it comes down to it, it's not just about how much you're charging but how you're displaying it. Most of the time we put a lot of thought into how aesthetically appealing our pricing pages look, but how they're laid out can end up making or breaking an up-sale.

When it comes down to the way your pricing is set up, you need to think in the way of how your client will view it and remember a few key things.

Your collection titles should always be bigger than your detail text and bolded. Your client is going to want to remember the titles when it comes to ordering their ideal session. You don't want them stumbling around trying to remember the collection names, especially if you name them something other than one, two and three.


Your collections should be laid out side by side, not top to bottom. If they go top to bottom such as the first collection below, your client is going to see Collection I first. Typically they're going to remember which ever one they read first. But if they are laid out side by side, most likely they are going to read the middle package first, which if  you have set up your packages correctly should be the package you want to sell the most. Then they will read side to side with the other packages.

Top to Bottom:


Side by Side:


Another way to price is to look into having packages that don't necessarily go from A, B, C but offer an A, A- and C option. This basically means that your A- option won't be good enough for your client so psychologically they will be drawn to the A and C options.  Your A package will be a package that is your ideal package, one that you want to sell the most of. Your A- package will be lacking your client's most wanted items, so it will push your clients away from wanting it and make them drawn to option A. Then you have a C option, which will be a superior option. It offers a different package for your client on top of A. You clearly will still have traditional names for them, be it 1, 2, 3 etc.

Within each package, they should be constructed as your most desirable item listed first and your second most desirable item listed last. Print rights aren't going to mean as much to a client as a discount or a credit. This also allows you to add into your higher packages to fluff them up and make them look better, when it might only cost you a couple bucks difference in the process.

You always want your price of the collection to be the last thing they see. You want them to fall in love with the package and what's in it before they even think about the price. If they read the price first they're more likely to become a price shopper, but if you structure it with the price last, psychologically their mind steps in the opposite direction.

No matter how your pricing looks as far as graphics, aesthetics or titles, nothing will mean as much as how you lay them out. Small changes in the structure of your pricing setup can help clients realize they might want different packages without changing anything that's in them. Now, these are geared more towards portrait photographers. Commercial type deals are based more on the hour but you can carry over some of the tips into that pricing as well. In order to get some more insight on the psychology behind decisions be sure to pick up a copy of Predictably Irrational by Dan Aierly. It will help you figure out ways to price and handle your business that take leverage over how your clients think.

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I swear you guys are always posting just great material. These are the subtle things that don't occur to you until someone brings it to your attention.

Perfect timing on this article! Well, perfect timing for me anyway. =)

Great pricing strategy lesson on focusing on designing packages that meet the different segments/buyer profiles that your business serves. Well done.

Display matters. idk why more in the display-business don't understand this

Lenn Long's picture

I agree with the majority of this post, but I would add that when you are discussing buying psychology, in the above collections I would recommend they amend the price points to $199, $399 and $599. And never bold or make font sizes larger on price points. If anything make it equal or smaller than the size of the font used in the description.

I'm curious about this: why? As a consumer I always round it up and find it irritating that people try and give the idea that something is cheaper by starting with a lower number, then taking it to the real value bar $. ON the other hand I suspect you're right. Can you explain the thinking behind it?

This was an awesome post. Very very helpful! Thanks so much!

Great topic. I´ve just ordered the book.

Jon Woodbury's picture

Yes and no on the 99 thing. Psychologically, 99 at the end makes something feel like a bargain/discount product. By stating a round number you are positioning yourself as a product aimed at a higher-end consumer. There isn't a right or wrong, just the choice that fits your brand. Great article!

Also don't put a dollar sign. High end restaurants don't for a reason.

" Typically they’re going to remember which ever one they read first." That's why you would put your highest priced package first in a top to bottom format and since no one wants the bottom package, as it is seen as the lowest or least, they either choose your middle package, that is your ideal package, one that you want to sell the most of or they go with that top, more expensive package. I changed my pricing two years ago and have yet to sell my bottom package! The top package was my over-the-top outrageous package and it sells 50% of the time. Need to change it since it is no longer over-the-top outrageous apparently. lol