One of the biggest questions companies ask when weighing up the use of an SEO and digital marketing company is, ‘how much will it cost us?’
You will quickly find that most legitimate digital marketing agencies are reluctant to provide a definite price up front for their services although some will indicate minimum monthly spends. This is not simply because they change the price to suit the customer, however. It is just a matter of there being an infinite combination of possibilities when it comes to the staff used, services delivered and time spent for the results desired.
Here, we explain everything you need to know about pricing for digital marketing services, including our own.
Digital marketing agencies tend to offer a number of different models for payment:
- Monthly retainer: Clients pay a fixed fee every month for the delivery of agreed services, such as keyword research, website optimisation, content creation and link building. Sometimes the agreed services are not defined but instead the fee is linked to an objective, such as to improve rankings for a particular keyword. Clients will typically be under a contract of at least 12 months.
- Fixed price services: Clients pay on a fixed fee basis for selected services.This model is typically used for projects such as content creation (blog posts, articles, etc). Fixed fees could be paid as a one-off, or regularly if the client repeatedly wants the same service (such as regular new articles), but clients are not tied in to a contract.
- Project-based pricing: Clients pay a one-off fee for projects such as website audits and website design, as required.
- Hourly consulting: Clients pay for the consultant’s time for an agreed number of hours. This may be, for example, to help them develop an online marketing strategy for their in-house team to carry out.
Most agencies use all of these payment models and Angel is no exception. We are happy to create a package using one or a combination of these models, to suit your needs and budget.
If a company won’t give you a hard and fast number, they can at least give you some idea of what they charge. Here are some typical costs that are involved with the above models:
- Monthly retainer: £500 – £5,000 per month: Monthly retainers are extremely variable but are typically within this range for agencies within the UK. The amount that you pay depends on the extent of services provided by the agency. As you might expect, the lower end represents smaller agencies offering a limited range of services, and the upper end represents the medium-large sized agencies offering more extensive services. A word of warning: do not assume that a higher fee means that the agency is more reputable or that you will get better results. We have experience of agencies at the highest end of this scale who have done practically nothing for clients who they have locked into a 12 month contract with little hope for a refund thanks to watertight terms.
- Fixed price services: Naturally this depends on the service and quality. For example, there are plenty of cheap copywriting agencies offering articles for £10-£20 each, but you really do get what you pay for and if you’re looking for shareable, sticky, viral content, don’t waste your money on junk. The best way to work out if something is a fair price is to imagine how long it would take a professional on average to complete the job and then look at average hourly rates. Copywriters for example command £35 – £100 per hour depending on their experience and technical expertise. So an article of around 500 words should cost you something within that range, depending on what you’re asking for.
- Project-based pricing: As for fixed price, there are infinite possibilities and so infinite prices. Get quotes that include time estimates and compare the hourly rates to the average in the relevant industry. Expect to pay between £800 and £1,500 for a custom website design with content management system, but without any special functionality (such as e-commerce). At this price, your website design should be created just for you, not a template.
- Hourly consulting rate: Rates vary a great deal – expect to pay anything between £65 and £190 per hour. The graph below in $ (courtesy of SEO Moz) shows average rates throughout the World, including the UK Most agencies in the UK sit around the £65-£130/hour mark.