11 Strategies To Compete Against Low-Price Competitors

While every WordPress designer and developer has to face low-price competitors, not everyone has a clear strategy to deal with them. 

Successful businesses stay ahead of the competition by using several strategies. 

As a WordPress expert, here are my 11 strategies to compete against low-price competitors.

1. Reflection

The first strategy is to take a step back and reflect on the situation.

Nirmalya Kumar from the Harvard Business Review says you should ask yourself whether low-cost competitors are a permanent, enduring threat to your business.

Is your new rival targeting a different segment of the target market, or is it directly eating into your sales?

Many ultra-low-cost web design “agencies” and freelancers target everyone rather than speciality segments or niches.  It’s a numbers game for them.

2. Increase Your Prices

I know that sounds crazy, right?

In general, each target market contains three segments:

  • Upper segment
  • Middle segment
  • Lower segment

Each segment will evaluate costs and ROI based on their different values and situations.  In other words, they have different perceptions and payment capabilities.

Your low-cost competitors’ pricing strategy will appeal most to the lower segment of the target market.  

They may get lucky once in a while and snag a client in the middle or upper segments.

However, the middle and upper market segments are looking at more than just the cost as a winning proposal deciding factor.

Use customer research and analysis to probe your target market to determine which price points to assign each of these segments in your niche.

Setting a clear pricing strategy, well above your low-cost competitors, targeting either the middle or upper segment will clearly distinguish you from the competition.

You are positioning yourself, aligning yourself with that segment and your proposals, pricing and brand values should match prospects in that segment.

If you don’t know where to start a pricing strategy, first watch Dan Ariely’s example of The Economist magazine’s subscription plans.

3. Outline Your Core Differentiation

What makes you better than your competitors?

Let your prospects know what it is!

Apple didn’t lower the prices of their iPhones when Android phones flooded the market.

They upped the quality and design of their product.  

When you think of Apple products, you think of well designed, top-shelf, quality products.

List your core differentiation from the low-cost competition.

4. Create a Low-Price Subsidiary

Creating a low-price subsidiary may not be an option many freelancers can undertake, but it’s worth considering the possibility.

In this strategy, you consider creating a separately branded subsidiary with a low-price product or service you can offer a prospective customer if you feel like they are leaning towards a low-cost competitor.

You may also consider partnering with another company with a low-price offer to which you can refer the business, hoping they will repay you in kind if something too big comes along for them.

A successful low-cost subsidiary strategy requires that the low-cost subsidiary use a separately recognisable brand name, with a limited product offering, intended to compete with the low-cost competitor. 

This strategy targets the lower segment of your target market, offering lower service levels or fewer product benefits and features, reflected by the lower cost.

Focus on the needs of the lower segment market and limit the subsidiary efforts to only those necessary to make it a profitable venture.

You don’t want to offer all the same products and services as the parent company.

5. Niche-Down

If you can’t compete with low-cost competitors in the general web design field, perhaps now is the time to define, redefine or narrow your niche, changing your core offerings to target that market.

Sure, the overall market will be smaller, but you will get a higher percentage if you are at the top of your niche, the go-to-expert.

A higher percentage of conversions from a specialised niche should be worth more than a meagre percentage of the low segment, general audience.

6. Provide Value In Customer Service

Cost is not the only deciding factor in winning proposals.  

Prospects will also consider the quality of what you are offering for their investment.

Customer service is a crucial decision factor. 

Most businesses will pay a premium to have a partner in the development process rather than just another code monkey or gun for hire.

Customer-centric marketing requires placing the customer at the centre of your marketing strategy to create and extract customer value.

7. Competitor Comparison

If you have a handful of competitors that you seem to come up against in every pitch, consider creating a comparison chart, highlighting the qualities you stand out against them.

You need to play this strategy very carefully.  

You don’t want to bash or demonise your competition and burn all bridges.

It’s always better to have a good relationship with your peers, but there’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn and showcasing the qualities you stand out for.

8. Negotiate On Scope, Not Cost

Never, ever get into a pricing war by negotiating on cost.  Never!

It’s a downward spiral towards destruction, and you destroy your brand’s confidence, trust, and value.

When I first started as a freelance web designer and developer, I purchased a booth at a “New Start Scotland” business expo.

About a dozen other competitors with their booths were also present, which wasn’t an issue during the event.

However, when we started contacting the leads from the weekend, most of the contacts were bouncing between the other web design freelancers and companies who were knocking hundreds of pounds off their initial prices.

I remember emailing a lead back and forth, negotiating from an initial cost of a meagre £500 down to £100 with the contact saying the other company would now build the site for £99 and could I beat that price?

That woke me up like a cold shower!  Was I really negotiating over £1?

If you get push-back from a prospect whose low-cost competitors are circling, try negotiating on the scope to lower the overall cost.

Can they split the project into phase A and B deliverables to spread the initial cost?

9. Play the “Local” Card

Web design and development is truly a global market, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working is now the norm.

Remote working is good for freelancers in general but bad for competition as it opens up your target market to global competitors.

Freelance web designers and developers from countries with low cost of living or poorer economies can now become your direct competitors.

Their pricing levels will be super-low compared to more prosperous countries, like Australia, New Zealand, the UK, USA and Canada.

One thousand US dollars at their cost of living may be equivalent to $10,000 in their economy.

How can you compete with that?

Well, you can’t and shouldn’t compete on cost alone.

You should play your “local” card for global competitors, pushing hard on customer service and fast local support.

Nobody likes waiting until the following day for an email response, especially when wires get crossed and the response doesn’t answer the original question.

Your location will be crucial in any proposal consideration – businesses love dealing with local freelancers, so remind prospects that you’re their local expert, working the same business hours as them.

10. Show Your Expert Authority In Your Niche

As I’ve previously mentioned, low-cost competitors usually target the broad lower segment of the market.

You can use this to your advantage by outlining your expertise and authority in your niche.

Have a section in your proposal showcasing your best blog posts, your engagement with the community through meetup groups and webinars, your top videos and your social media following.  

You can even highlight your top performing niche keywords in Google SERPs to prove you are the expert in your niche.

If you can demonstrate that you’re the go-to expert in your niche, that will count heavily towards winning deals against general low-cost competitors.

11. Switch To Value-Based Pricing

Most freelance web designers and developers, including low-cost competition, use a cost-based pricing approach to exchange time for money.

Stick your head above the parapet and change your pricing strategy to value-based pricing.

It’s more initial work and requires some level of discovery or road-mapping session with the prospect to discover pain points, issues and opportunities in the prospect’s business and initial requirements.

I talk about value-based pricing in my Pricing Strategies For Projects webinar.

I’ve also written in depth about value-based pricing in the article “How I Increased My Project Pricing From $3K to $20K+ Using Value-Based Pricing“.


As a freelance web designer or developer, you will inevitably come up against low-cost competitors.

Having a bunch of strategies at hand to handle the situation will automatically place you well above your other freelancer peers.

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