by Kate Harvey
If you have any sales experience or you took a marketing class in college, you’ve likely already been introduced to the concept of FUD — Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts.
As humans we’re all plagued by these three villains, but today we’re focusing on FUD from a business’ point of view. While FUD gained marketing notoriety via shady advertising tactics in the 1970’s (more on that in a minute), today’s businesses are using FUD in ethical and moral ways to increase conversions and revenue. Savvy companies are identifying potential customers’ FUDs and addressing those concerns directly on their pricing page.
In today’s blog you’ll learn:
- How to identify potential customers’ fears, uncertainties, and doubts about your product
- Why and how to address FUDs on your pricing page
First, a quick note about FUD’s shady past…
Techopedia defines FUD as “a technique used in business that attempts to create a negative impression and opinion of a competing organization or individual.”
It is important to note this is not the FUD we’re focusing on in this post and it is not what we’re suggesting you utilize for your own company. But to look at where FUD tactics are today, it makes sense to briefly look at where they came from.
“Back in the 1970s, Dr Gene Amdahl, one of the designers of the original IBM S/360 mainframe, coined the term ‘FUD’ to describe IBM’s marketing tactics. FUD stood for ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt’, and described the way IBM would cast aspersions upon its competitors’ products by bringing into question everything from their legality to their longevity,” explains Graeme Philipson.
Philipson goes on to describe some of the marketing tactics IBM utilized during that time: “pre-announcing products that were never released, predatory pricing practices and downright lying about product specifications.”
While there are certainly some companies who still utilize predatory and unethical marketing practices similar to those IBM did, that isn’t the FUD tactic we’re advocating.
Today’s post focuses on understanding the pain points surrounding your potential users’ fears, uncertainties, and doubts, and how to use your pricing page to address those pain points. Prospects’ FUDs may be the problems your product provides a solution for or FUDs related to your product itself.
How to identify your potential customers’ FUD (Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts)
The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them from happening. First, make a list of all the possible reasons why somebody might NOT want to buy your thing (better yet, survey your leads and customers). Identify which FUDs are most common. Second, write an answer to all those fears and doubts.
Yep, it’s that easy. If you’re not sure how to get feedback from potential and paying customers, we wrote a whole blog post on it (including specific questions to ask pre- and post-conversion): Beyond NPS & Exit Surveys: What You Should Be Asking Prospects & Customers
Once you’ve identified answers to potential customers’ objections to your product based on their fears, uncertainties, and doubts, you’ll want to determine the best way to speak to their FUDs on your pricing page…
How to address FUDs on your pricing page
The most obvious (and common) way to address FUDs on your pricing page is with a short FAQ section:
The screenshot above is from our own pricing page. The questions and answers focus on fees related to using Chargify; pricing concerns will be a common FUD for companies in all industries to address (and what better place to do so than on your pricing page?).
You’ll want to cherry pick the FAQs you place on your pricing page — you want to speak to the most common FUDs with your questions and answers, but it shouldn’t be so long the information becomes overwhelming or negatively affects the page design. We’ve kept our pricing page FAQ short and sweet by focusing on questions potential customers may have about how our pricing plans work. Additional FAQs are addressed in other sections of our site and documentation.
SaaS copywriter Alex Lee offers some best practices for FAQs on your pricing page:
- Keep answers brief and simple so they’re easy for website visitors to scan
- Have a maximum of 10 FAQs on your pricing page
- Make sure the layout of the FAQs is also easy to scan on mobile devices
Using social proof to address FUDs on your pricing page can be done a few different ways:
- Customer testimonials
- Customers’ logos
- Sharing the number of customers you have
As with the FAQs, you don’t want to throw so many testimonials or customer logos onto your pricing page that it becomes confusing or crowded.
The customer testimonials you select should relate to and address the most common concerns potential customers have expressed about your product.
Ideally, the logos you put on your pricing page would be merchants that website visitors instantly recognize or view as authoritative.
Basecamp uses the number of customers they have as a consistent thread throughout their website and marketing channels. The pricing page is no different. While many companies simply list an approximate number of customers, Basecamp has a graph at the bottom of their pricing page to visually illustrate how successful Basecamp product adoption has been via specific numbers:
Sprout Social not only utilizes all of these social elements successfully on their pricing page, but also incorporate a few FAQs:
Notice that despite incorporating several ways of addressing potential customers’ FUDs on their pricing page, the design remains clean and uncluttered. Be careful not to sacrifice the design and visitor experience when addressing common concerns about your product on your pricing page.
Money back guarantee
Grasshopper’s 30 day money back guarantee is front and center on their pricing page:
Notice Grasshopper does not have a free trial option. Including a money back guarantee on your pricing page is a bold way to ease potential customers’ concerns that your product might not be a good fit, particularly for companies who do not offer a free trial.
Often business owners have concerns about users taking advantage of a money back offer, essentially using the product for free and then demanding their money back even if they didn’t experience issues.
Here’s what Neil Patel experienced when he tested a money back guarantee during the initial launch of the Quick Sprout Traffic System:
“By adding a 30-day money back guarantee, I was able to increase my sales by 21%. Out of all of the people that purchased the program, 12% asked for their money back,” writes Patel.
Even when he factored in the lost revenue from people who asked for their money back, he still saw a 6.4% total increase in revenue.
If pricing FUD’s are being expressed by potential customers and you aren’t in favor of a money back guarantee, there is also the option of instilling trust before purchase via a free trial offer.
After he tested a money back guarantee, Patel offered a free trial. And while a free trial had double the signups vs. the money back guarantee, there weren’t as many paid conversions post-trial as he expected. Still, once he ran all the numbers, the free trial resulted in a “15% increase in revenue over the 30-day money back guarantee.”
Free trials are common among SaaS and other recurring revenue businesses. In the example below, Close.io highlights the free trial options on the pricing page via their CTA buttons:
It is important to note addressing FUDs shouldn’t be the only thing driving your decision to offer a free trial. Remember that there are real costs associated with trial users including user onboarding and customer support, all of which should be factored into your decision to offer a trial.
All plans include
Help Scout’s pricing page not only includes free trial options, but also clearly states which features are included in all of the plans:
If prospects express concerns about potentially needing to upgrade to premium plans in order to access specific product features, you may want to make it clear on your pricing page which features are available on all plans.
Segment calls these the “core features” and they’re highlighted on the pricing page:
We’ve come a long way from the FUD tactics of the 1970’s. Today’s companies look at the fears, uncertainties, and doubts prospects have about their product and they proactively speak to those concerns.
Addressing FUDs directly on your pricing page has a variety of benefits, including:
- Instilling trust in prospects
- Freeing up your sales team to address more complex questions (because you’ve already addressed common objections)
- Making the sales process more self-service, which also equates to increased convenience for many prospects
- Reducing friction in leads’ decision to purchase
- Increasing conversions
Once you’ve converted prospects to paying customers, it is important those customers continue to receive maximum value from your product to ensure retention and the possibility of expansion. To read more about how to decrease churn and increase MRR check out these resources: