My price is too low? When did that become a problem?

Of all the complaints you might get from a prospective customer, “your price is too low” has to be at the bottom of the list – right?

Actually, it is more of a problem than you might expect – especially if you are trying to sell through direct marketing.

Some time ago, I received an offer in the mail for a series of three directories listing all of the manufacturers in New England. I get these offers all the time and I sometimes bite because I use them for prospecting. Typically these books run about $100 – $200 each.

But this was different. This company, which I didn’t know, was selling all three books for just $29 – total. Now these are usually very thick books and $29 would barely cover the cost of the paper. I wanted to ask the publisher “How are you making any money on this?”

So I hesitated and decided to think it over. I put it in my “read later” pile – a very high pile, I might add – and didn’t come across it again for a several months.

Sound familiar? Here I had a product that interested me at a real bargain price – and I didn’t act. Why? Because the price made me nervous.

Like most people, I have come to accept that warning that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I wanted to ask “What’s the catch?”

Now if you were dealing directly with a sales person – either face to face or over the phone – you could ask why the price is so low. And perhaps there is a good reason:

Maybe the company was having a “going out of business” sale. Or maybe (as I suspect) the product is being replaced by a newer version.

Whatever the reason, when you are buying by mail, through an ad or via the internet, there is no sales person to talk to – at least not right away … so you hesitate, put the offer aside with plans to find out more at a later time.

Hesitation is one of the true roadblocks to successful direct marketing. When someone hesitates, they are a lost opportunity. More often than not, they are lost forever.

When you are writing copy, be aware of the possible hesitation points. Ask yourself “Is there anything in this offer or this promotion that is going to make my prospect stop and wonder?” If so, you need to confront those issues. You need to provide an explanation – or at least a plausible reason – why your price is so low.

In the case of the directories, it would be so easy to write …

“We are ready to publish our newest edition … but we still have some of last
year’s books available which we are now offering at a greatly reduced price.”

So no, there is nothing wrong with a low price. But if it’s unusually low, make sure you provide a good reason why.


Written by Bob McCarthy

This article may be reprinted without permission as long as the article includes the following credit: Bob McCarthy is a freelance copywriter and consultant specializing in direct marketing and lead generation. His website is He can be reached at 508-473-8643 or by email at

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."