How To Ethically Price Anchor

Last time I talked about price anchoring and how if you make up random prices for the sake of looking like you are having a sale, the FTC might come after you.

Here’s the thing - we know price anchoring works, so as marketers we’re going to use it.

Today, I’m going to go over how to use price anchoring ethically instead of making up numbers to make your product sound like a good deal.

But first, what is price anchoring anyway?

Let’s say you want to buy a brand new 2020 Toyota Avalon priced at $35,875.

“$35,000! That’s expensive,” you might say. I could get a nice scooter for a tenth of that price.

But is $35,000 really expensive for a car?

A Tesla Model S starts at $85,000. Sure, those are two different cars, but after seeing this price, you might think Toyota isn’t very expensive at all.

Typically, marketers show the highest price first and let that be an anchor. If the first price you see is $85,000, then $35,000 doesn’t seem that much. And a scooter for $3K sounds like a deal, right?

Slimy marketers will show a fake higher price first to make the next price seem like a good deal. Many times they will just make up that higher number.

But as we saw last time, the FTC doesn’t like that.

So what do we do?

I’m developing a music product right now. 

In it, I’m putting a lot of what I learned with my $57,000 music degree in there. 

While I spent four years in boring classes and tens of thousands of dollars learning this stuff, you can purchase it for the low price of $27.

Now, $27 seems like a great deal.

After all, which would you choose -  four years of your life plus $57,000 or $27?

I think the choice is obvious. 

Here I use the “alternate path” as my price anchor. I never said that this product usually sells for $57,000. Instead, I said if you don’t buy this product, you might have to spend much more doing everything yourself.

I see a similar tactic work with online courses and coaching.

They say “Once you take my course, you could be making six figures a year. That means if this course speeds up your learning by one week, it pays for itself.”

This is a great way to place a price anchor. 

What other methods do you use to create price anchors in your copy?

Leave a Comment