Why ‘affordable’ should not be a selling point

advice | copywriting

As someone who writes for a living, I cannot stress the importance of the choice of words you use in your website copy. Time and again, I see the following phrase:

“For affordable [your product or service here], get in touch.”

And, well, it makes my blood boil.

I’m talking about the use of the word ‘affordable’ here folks. It’s a word that springs up an awful lot when small businesses are trying to sell themselves to the public. ‘Affordable’ gets thrown around like a badge of honour. It’s as if professing to be affordable to potential customers is a unique selling point. Well, here’s my two cents… that’s a load of old shit.

The literal definition of the word is ‘inexpensive; reasonably priced’. Let’s think about that first word for a second… inexpensive. Here’s another word for that very same meaning…


Now, when I think of cheap, the first thing that springs to mind are those budget airline flights. You know the ones I mean. Without mentioning any names, those short hop planes with their cramped seats and less than enjoyable experience. But hey, it gets you to your destination for a fraction of the cost of the premium economy flight. You know, the one with spacious, peaceful comfort and a delicious meal and complimentary drinks.


Can you see what I’m getting at here?

Professing yourself to be an affordable option (read: cheap) is not doing you any favours.

Now, let’s consider the phrase ‘reasonably priced’. I have less of an aversion to this in respect of meaning and the possible disservice you’re doing to your business. To be reasonably priced, after all, is not a negative point. But let’s look at this a little deeper. Who exactly is it who decides you are ‘reasonably’ priced or not? Because while the person who earns a fair salary and doesn’t have too many overheads to worry about, or no small mouths to feed, may consider you ‘reasonably’ priced, the single mother on minimum wage, with 2 kids to feed and clothe may find you less ‘reasonable’.

Point made?

Because that is the crux of it. Who are you to say you are ‘affordable’ when ‘affordable’ is a subjective term?

What, then, should you say about your business?

Take money and affordability out of it when it comes to selling yourself and your business online. Affordability should not be one of your unique selling points when there are so many other plus points you can extol to your audience. What about the quality of your products or your service? Your excellent customer service following the purchase? Or your product or service’s value for money? These are all things you can use as genuine selling points and back up with full confidence.

Think about why it is a person chooses to spend their money on a particular product or service. The two main reasons are need and desire, right? So, how can you use that information? Talk about how it is your product or service answers to their needs. Or how the experience of purchasing from you will respond to their desires, that’s how!

There are so many more accurate and positive ways to talk about your business without doing a disservice to your business or yourself. So, if ‘affordability’ appears on your website or ad copy, then consider removing it. Talk about something else instead, won’t you?