How Digital Marketing Monthly Retainers Work
Many of our clients work with us on a retained basis, others project-by-project. Retained clients pay a fixed or variable monthly fee in return for an ongoing program of work designed to improve the way their website generates qualified business enquiries. It's common for a digital marketing agency to work in this way, but it's worth noting the main driver for this model. Although it may seem like a business model a digital agency wants to use to safeguard its revenue streams, it's actually to make sure an ongoing and consistent approach is used because, like so many things in life, that's what gets results.
The retained work we do varies from client to client. For example, some clients use a monthly retainer for the build of a new growth driven website, others use their retainer for ongoing improvements such as the creation of optimised content to improve search results or for developing and executing the right social media strategy.
Ultimately there's no one size fits all approach with a digital marketing monthly retainer. The way your budget is used depends on the work required to get a healthy return on your investment, which is why most retainers start with the creation of the right digital strategy.
Why Are Retainers Ongoing?
When it comes to growing your online presence, persistence is the key. Ongoing analysis of results, reviewing and developing your digital strategy, the creation of new assets such as blogs, video production, podcast creation and web page content take a significant amount of effort.
This means you have two choices.
- You can hire your own team of digital marketing experts.
- You can put a digital marketing agency onto a monthly retainer.
The first option requires a significant investment, and it's risky. Not only is finding good people hard, but they also don't come cheap, meaning even businesses with a healthy profit need to think long and hard about this approach.
This means the second option, a digital marketing monthly retainer with an established agency with a good track record, is well worth considering.
Will A Retainer Be A Good Investment?
Most credible digital marketing agencies, like us, understand that clients are nervous about making a commitment to a retainer. The primary concerns are around both understanding what the agency is doing and knowing how to measure the success of the program of work.
This is why we, and most credible agencies, undertake a piece of low-cost work prior to any sort of ongoing engagement. We call this a Discovery Session. In our case, if, after the Discovery session, we agree we're not the right team for you, there's nothing to pay.
A Discovery Session helps the agency side people and the people in the business better understand the current position, the opportunities and the challenges ahead. The session creates a clear roadmap for growth based on facts and ensures everyone understands the work.
How Long Do Retainers Last?
You should think of a digital marketing monthly retainer as a long-term business investment, a bit like hiring a new member of staff. That's not to say you're not in the driving seat and can end the retainer whenever you like because you are, but it doesn't make any financial sense to try a retainer on for size for a few months.
Creating an online presence that helps you grow your business by attracting potential customers from search and social is a long-term endeavour. Even when the leads are flowing in, you'll need to undertake some work to hold your position and keep your site delivering. In our view, you shouldn't consider a digital marketing monthly retainer for anything less than 12 months.
How Much Should I Invest In A Retainer?
The level of investment is dictated by three things. First, there's the work required to get from where you are to where you need to be. This is usually established during the Discovery Session.
Second is understanding which aspects of the work, if any, you want to undertake yourself. For example, maybe you or a team member is an accomplished writer, and you've decided all content production, a key aspect of growing any online presence, will be undertaken in-house.
The third is the level of available budget. Most customers make a significant monthly investment; we're talking thousands, not hundreds, in their digital marketing projects. For us, if we know the level of investment available doesn't match the required effort, we won't undertake the work because we never want to see customers waste money.
It's definitely a case of doing it right or not at all, and although this sounds blunt, neither you nor your agency is going to have a positive experience if the budget is inadequate. Our advice to businesses who can't make the required investment is to consider alternatives, such as looking for referral businesses through networks.
Will You Need To Rebuild Our Website?
No, unless it's a lost cause. Much of the retained work we do is to improve existing websites so they are found in search and deliver value to the businesses that own them. Sometimes this isn't possible, but that's rare. In most cases, we enhance the sites using, for example, inbound marketing tools such as HubSpot™. Here's a HubSpot™ explainer if you're not sure what it is.
From the point of view of helping businesses grow online market share, we're system agnostic and we are very happy to improve existing sites rather than rebuild them.
We can help no matter how your site's been built
Why Red Evolution?
We're a digital marketing agency with a long track record of helping businesses generate enquiries online and we've been around since 2003. Using a process-driven approach, we'll take the time to get to know your business, get to know you and work with you to create the right strategy for success. We only work with organisations we believe we can help, and we establish that during the initial Discovery Session, which you don't pay for if you decide not to work with us.
When you contact us we are genuinely not setting out to try and sell you something, we only want to establish if we are the right agency for your business.
If this makes sense then please use the form below to tell us more about your requirements.