How to make the name-your-own-price model work

How to Make the Name Your Price Model Work, Laura Simms, Oh My! Handmade

Last year I launched my first product, and rather than giving it a static sticker price, I choose to make the price adjustable as a “pay what it’s worth to you” option. The launch greatly exceeded my expectations, and while I don’t think name-your-own price (aka NYOP) is a good model for every product, it can be magic for the right kind of offer.

Let’s look at why you might choose to let your customers name their price:

1. It’s your first product. If you’re newer on the block, NYOP can be a good way to transition into offering paid products. NYOP is affordable to anyone who wants to buy, but you still get to make some money.

2. Your priority is to have as many people buy as possible. NYOPs are usually a no-brainer purchase, and it’s easy for lots of people to get on the bandwagon since price is not a barrier. If you’re wanting to get your name out there to new people, NYOP can be a good strategy.

3. You want to grow your mailing list. Pssst…no one ever tells you this, but selling a product can double as a way to increase your number of subscribers. Just make sure your delivery system (e-junkie for me) can communicate with your email database like MailChimp or Aweber. You can set it up so that when someone makes a purchase, they’ll automatically be sent a confirmation to join your list. What better time to invite them then when they’ve just expressed interest in you via dollars and cents?

And here are a couple not-so-good reason to try NYOP:

1. You can’t decide what the price should be. Don’t let NYOP be a cop out, let it be a strategic decision. Your customers shouldn’t have to do the work for you.

2. You’re afraid to ask for what you think your product it worth. If you want your buyers to have confidence in yourself, you gotta have it in yourself. To the best of your estimation, what is the value of what you have to offer? And what do you think the market can bear? Consider both of these questions, and price accordingly.

There are a few important guidelines that will help you make the most your NYOP launch:

1. Set a suggested price. This lets people know what you would normally charge and an estimate of the value of the product. Some people will pay the suggested price, a few people will pay more, and most people will choose a lower price. That’s fine, but if they’re getting a steal, you want them to know it.

2. Set a minimum price. This is mostly to keep your resentment in check. Would you be offended if someone paid less than $10 for your brilliant ebook? Then take away that option. When PayPal starts sending you purchase receipts, the last thing you want it to be cursing because she lowballed you.

3. Advertise that this is a NYOP offer. NYOP is fun! It gets attention and is something to talk about. When you send emails, spread the word on social media, or do guest posts, be sure to share that people can adjust the price.

Your turn: Have a name-your-own price success story? Or a question about how to make it work for you? Share in the comments.

Gathering light,



  1. Thanks for this post Laura – I’m hoping we’ll come up with some fab new goodies this year (we only have one teeny-weeny ebook so far) and NYOP would be a really interesting idea to try – as a not-for-profit venture to help mums, it would ensure we can reach everyone we want to, even if they’re strapped for cash at the moment.

  2. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for the informative post. We (Myself & Team) are building an eCommerce model that puts NYOP directly at the center. I’m currently writing a blog article on the limitations of fixed pricing and the benefits of NYOP that I think could revolutionize online shopping and help particularly small brands without name recognition to reach vast oceans of customers.

    Our business model is similar but somewhat different in that it pays respect to supply and demand. We want both customers and merchants to win so while customers can place their own price offers, the final price will depend on the merchant who will base it on price offers and volume demanded. I’m not going to blabber everything in this short reply but I would very much appreciate it if you could keep in touch with my blog which is where I drop articles all relating to the exciting NYOP based shopping experience we are building.

    After all, it is a business model inspired by a shopping experience I had with a small artisan on Etsy. It seeks to help small brands (initially – We are ambitious) in the same way NYOP helped you market and sell your product.

    Once Again — I’m currently in the midst of writing the article.
    Please stay tuned to,

    Martin Otyeka

  3. Christy Ahna Zahava says:

    Thank you for the article. I’ve just set up my website with digital products on a NYOP basis. I’d like to set up an affiliate program for moms to earn some extra cash. Can you recommend a 3rd part affiliate host program that accommodates nyop products? Also, do you have a sense of how affiliate marketers look upon nyop? I wonder if they see it as a benefit or risk.
    Thanks so much..

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