Let’s not beat around the bush, shall we? Getting an email telling you that the price of something is increasing is never fun.
Even if we love the product, it’s not something we’re going to jump up and down with glee about.
So it’s no wonder you’re nervous about increasing your prices for your current customers.
You may think to yourself, ‘what if they complain?’, ‘what if they stop working with me?’ ‘what if they think I’m money-grabbing?’ or worse, ‘what if they head on over to the competition?’
Most People Are Understanding…If You Do It Right
BUT, most people are reasonable. And we say most because of course you get a few that are entirely unreasonable. But if you attract the right customers to begin with, you should be fine.
But they are only reasonable IF you do it the right way.
This blog post will help you do that. Below, I’ve listed the 6 ways you can communicate a price increase that will keep your current customers happy.
Before we get into it…
There are some people who try to advise you to use clever hacks when communicating your price increase, such as reducing the quantity or quality of your products rather than increasing your prices (anyone else notice that chocolate bars are getting smaller?)
This is not what this blog post is about. This blog post will help you communicate a price increase clearly and effectively, without the need for sneaky bullshit. Yes, we are mad about the chocolate bars, okay?
So let’s get into it, shall we?
1. Create public content around your price increase
This is the biggie when it comes to building trust with your customers.
If you want to increase your prices then create public content around why.
Imagine you’re raising your prices for your current customers and instead of explaining why in an email, you send them to a public blog post. This lets your customer know that this is a ‘company-wide’ policy and not something personal to them.
Our favourite phrase is, people don’t care what you say, they care what you publish. You can say anything privately. But unfortunately, the only true way to show transparency is to create public content.
It also allows you the space to fully explain your price increase and remind your customer of the benefits of working with you.
An example of how to raise prices for your current clients
We love this blog post from Sara Bussandri, which she sent to her clients that were receiving a discount for her writing services. We should know, we were that client!
Sara explains in her post why she no longer offers a discount to her current clients (and any future clients). She makes it personal, by stating that when she started out she ‘fell into the trap of underpricing and underselling my services.’ And she also includes pictures of herself, to remind the reader that this is a person (and not a company).
And then she goes into detail about why she no longer offers discounts.
2. Say the actual words
We’ve seen companies use the words ‘price adjustment’ or ‘changes to our pricing’. Don’t do this. Don’t use fluffy language that tiptoes around the topic.
Don’t use passive voice either, i.e. the price is being adjusted in 2022. By who, exactly? Fairies? An evil price-adjusting ogar?
Nope. Own the message. State clearly, ‘We are raising our prices for x. And here’s why.’ This brings clarity to your customers who will appreciate your honesty and transparency.
An example of a confusing price increase message
We remember receiving this email from a company that sold baby products. We were so confused. Are they raising their prices? Are they not? We get what they’re trying to do here but there’s no real incentive to buy now, and there’s no real communication as to whether the price is or isn’t increasing soon.
If you’re going to increase your prices, stand firm in your decision and communicate it clearly!
3. Sell them the benefits of your price increase
Just because you’re talking about increasing your prices doesn’t mean you have to turn into a negative-nelly. Use this opportunity to explore why you’re raising your prices and remind your customer of the value you deliver.
Let’s say for example you’re a web designer and you want to increase the prices of your monthly maintenance plan for your current customers. You could explain how you’re investing in better software to keep your customer’s websites safer and more efficient.
It’s important you flip the message from you to your customer. What do they care about? What do they value? How can you make them the heart of your message?
An example of selling the benefits of your price increase
When we increased our web design prices, we wanted to make sure that we communicated the benefits of working with us (and therefore why we were increasing our prices).
So we created a blog post explaining why our prices were increasing. This wasn’t aimed at our current customers, but the principles remain the same, we moved the message away from us and our price increase and turned into the things that our customers cared about.
4. Tell the story and make it personal
When you’re asking someone to pay more money, there’s nothing worse than some impersonal, cold email, written in third person.
Just because you’re not ‘face-to-face’ doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a personal approach.
Remember to tell the story of why you’re raising your prices, use the words ‘I’ and ‘we’, and communicate with your customer like they’re an actual human-being.
A Good Example of a Price Increase Notice to Customers
I love this video from Cara MacKay, MD of Gillies and Mackay who make sheds and garden homes in Scotland.
It feels like Cara is talking directly to you in this video, and she tells the story of the challenges Gillies and Mackay have faced with their timber supply. There’s no formal stuffy language or unclear messaging, Cara remains frank, personal and respectful to her customers. This video could’ve been sent to a thousand people and yet it would feel personal to you.
5. Give an actual reason for your price increase
This may seem obvious, but we see quite a lot of emails about a price increase but people don’t actually explain why they’re increasing their prices. It’s just taken as a given. A ‘just because’. This usually happens at the start of the year in January where maybe people expect the price will go up.
But this is frustrating for your customer who won’t understand why you’re raising your prices and will simply assume that you’re doing it to get more of their money.
So give an actual reason for your price increase.
6. There’s no need to say sorry
It’s tempting to apologise for a price increase. We personally struggle with this because even though we know that raising prices is a must and absolutely justified, we still feel the need to apologise.
But there’s no need to say sorry. Remember sorry is a feeling of regret, and we shouldn’t regret raising our prices. If you deliver a good product and offer value then there’s zero reason you should be sorry about it. And actually saying sorry communicates that you’re uneasy about your decision.
Where should you start with it all?
If you want to raise your prices then grab a piece of paper and a pen (or your keyboard) and start writing down the reasons why your prices are increasing. With every reason, also write down how this benefits your audience. For example, the cost of materials is going up could be the reason you’re increasing your prices. But this benefits your customers because you’ve decided not to cut corners and get cheaper materials.
We’re not saying it’s easy, but trust us, once you start with this kind of content you’ll find it easy-peasy to come up with ideas. And above all else, your customers will appreciate your honesty and transparency.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.