Impact Pricing Blog

Messaging a Price Increase

From a reader:  

Hi Mark I hope you are well! I am looking for messaging to use when announcing a price increase. Can you please point me to anything I might use? Thanks!   -L

Hi L, 

Over the years, I’ve written about portions of good and bad price increases, but I’m not sure I’ve ever summarized the messaging. You can see what I’ve done in this search:

Here are my overall thoughts on messaging (and a tiny bit on technique).  

First, be clear about who you are messaging. I will assume you want to tell current customers or subscribers that their prices are about to go up. 

Second, realize that customers hate price increases. The messaging won’t make them happy, but good messaging should make them hate you less. 

A good price increase email message contains 4 points:  

Blame costs. The only reason people accept for a price increase is your costs went up. They still won’t like it, but they are more likely to not hate you. With inflation coming the way it is, people believe you. 

Look what we’ve done for you lately. Talk about the new features and capabilities that you’ve added since the buyer subscribed. You are now getting much more value.  

We haven’t raised prices. If true, mention that you haven’t raised prices for several years. If not true, then don’t mention it.

But you’re special. If you can, tell them you are raising prices, but because they are loyal customers, you will hold their prices constant for some period of time. A year is pretty common. This is what Netflix did on their second price increase (the first successful one).  I’ve also seen 6 months be pretty effective.

The order that you deliver these isn’t critical, but you probably want to put “buy you’re special” last. Test out what sounds best to you.  

The overall email should be relatively short and to the point. They are already upset. Don’t upset them more by making them slog through verbose prose.  

If you are honest, the real reasons you are raising prices are probably that you believe your customers are willing to pay more and you would like to make more profit. DO NOT mention either of these. It won’t go well.  

I “enjoy” reading notices from my suppliers that my prices are going up. It gives me a chance to review and sometimes even write about their price increase strategy and messaging. You might start watching for these in your own life. See how you feel when you read one. If you were rewriting it for them, what would be different? What would it say to make someone like you less upset?  

Practice makes perfect.

Tags: pricing, pricing metrics, pricing skills

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