How much is Online Marketing?
The amount that you can expect to spend on marketing services can really vary. Helpful, right? No seriously though, it really depends on what you’re getting. So while I can’t say exactly what you should be paying, hopefully I can give you some guidelines that you can use to determine if the price you’ve been quoted is fair for the work being done.
You don’t want marketing services that are priced too low, or too high – just like Goldilocks you want them to be just right. When looking at PPC or SEO the price should never be less than $100 a month, but it also shouldn’t be thousands upon thousands of dollars (unless you have a very complex marketing approach or are using a bunch of services). On the low end, just remember that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And on the high end, if you are quoted a giant number make the company really work to demonstrate what you’ll be getting for such a large price tag.
Understanding How Services are Priced
When you’re talking about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social media management fees are generally based on deliverables like technical changes to your code, blog posts, copywriting, etc. so the more of those actual things that you want done, the higher your fees will be.
With PPC (Pay-Per-Click aka Paid Search) the price is for the ongoing management of your keywords and ads so the price can go up if:
• You have a wider focus (i.e. it will cost more to advertise the all the services you offer versus just your top selling service)
• You have a bigger budget to be allocated
• You’re in a really competitive industry, because that will make keyword selection more difficult and ad testing more intensive
• You’re using a variety of different ad formats (text, display, remarketing)
For marketing consulting services you’re usually just going to be given a set per hour fee.
Value Analysis – What Would It Cost You To Do It?
If you’re trying to determine if a marketing company’s fees are reasonable, try to figure out how much it would cost you to do it yourself. To do this, think about how many hours it would take you to do the same thing and then multiply by a standard agency hourly rate. Agencies usually price services anywhere from about $50 to about $150 per hour.
The value of a service can vary greatly depending on what your alternative is. If you know how to run your own marketing successfully and you’re just looking for someone to take it over from you to free you up for more work on your core business you’re going to be in a very different position than someone who doesn’t know how to do their own marketing and is intimidated by it. So do a value analysis of what’s worth to you to have your marketing managed by someone else.
Let’s say a marketing company quotes you $1,000. If you’re a business owner that was previously spending about 10 hours a month on your marketing efforts, with that extra 10 hours a month that are now freed up, do you think you’ll make more than $1,000 in by investing your time in your business? If so, you should outsource your marketing to a professional.
In the same scenario, if you’re new to marketing and not sure what you’re doing, take the price you were quoted and divide it by an average agency hourly rate (so $1,000 divided by, say, $100/hr gives you 10 hours). Now since you are going to need a lot more time to figure it all out for yourself than an online marketing professional would need use a general 2:1 rule of thumb (so 10x2=20). Now ask yourself, in an average 20 hours of work will you make more than $1,000? If so, purchase the marketing services and let a professional handle it for you.
Understanding What’s Included
When talking to a marketing company make sure you know exactly what the price you’re paying includes. Sometimes people get confused and think that they are getting an all-in-one marketing solution that includes SEO, PPC, etc. when they are actually just purchasing one service.
Also, when purchasing PPC find out if the price you’re quoted does or does not include the cost of your clicks (which is referred to as “ad spend”). Some companies have you pay them a price that covers both their management of your PPC account and also ad spend – they then turn around and pay that ad spend to Google; whereas other companies have you pay them a fee for management and then have you pay Google directly for your ad spend. The second pricing model is usually preferred because it gives you more freedom over your ad spend.
Lastly, be sure to ask upfront if there’s anything else that you will be billed for down the road that’s not included in the price that you are being quoted.
Looking for someone to manage your online marketing for you? Contact LionShark today for all of your online marketing needs, and experience the difference!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!
Photo from Flickr (Surat Lozowick)