If there's one question we get asked more than any other, it's, "how much will this cost?"
It's a fair question - if you're investing in Digital Marketing, you want to know how much that investment will be. And the last thing we want to do is say "how long is a piece of string" in return.
Think of it this way - if you buy a new car, you might pay £15,000 for the off-the-shelf model, but when you start adding alloy wheels, different paint colours, reversing cameras, and all the other add-ons, you might end up spending £28,000.
At SpiderGroup we have a few fixed-price offerings - our HubSpot Onboarding services, our one-off HubBytes tasks, and our Portal Audits, for example. But, for the most part, our monthly retainer services are created for you personally. As we have bespoke campaigns for every client, we need some information before we can work out what will give you the best return.
Fixed price or bespoke packages
There are two ways to offer inbound services, generally. Bespoke campaigns and fixed price packages, and they each have different benefits and drawbacks.
For example, fixed packages have the benefit of being defined and the price is often advertised before you even enquire - which is pretty helpful. However, the biggest drawback is that they're inflexible - you might be paying for elements you don't actually need (or want.
With bespoke packages, you only pay for the things that are designed to help your business grow - no filler, everything is based on your goals and audience. The drawback is you have to engage a little more before you find out the price (though, of course, you're not obligated to continue the conversation if the price isn't right for you).
From the agency perspective, fixed packages can often be easier to manage - you know how many packages you have, which clients fit into each, and therefore at-a-glance know how long and which activities you need to do.
Bespoke packages take a little more management - every client has a different number of hours, a different range of activities with a different balance... and we flex those activities based on the data and trends we're seeing. Oh, and it takes while to work out the best combination before we even start. So, it's a little more complicated. But read on, because there's a reason we think it's worth it.
How bespoke packages are made
The first part of creating a bespoke campaign retainer is to ask questions. The whole point is to understand what will work in your specific situation. We ask about things like:
- Your goals
- Your revenue targets
- Your current situation
- Your conversion rates
- Your sales process
- Your average customer value
Why? Well, when we build a bespoke package to present to you, we want to be sure it will actually deliver the results you're looking for.
Look at it this way. Let's say your conversion from lead to sale is 10% and a customer is worth £5,000.
If we deliver you 100 leads, you'd convert 10 of them, and the turnover would be worth £50,000.
What if your customer value was £200? If we delivered 100 leads at that conversion rate, you'd be making £2,000.
Understanding how your numbers stack up means we can identify whether the activity is actually worth it to you. If your revenue target is £100,000, we'd know that we'd need to deliver 200 leads in the first instance, or 5,000 in the second, to meet that target.
That's when we do a lot of number crunching and research to identify whether or not we can deliver that many leads in the first place, and if we can, what activities would be required to achieve it.
We check things like the size of the addressable market, the channels that market uses, the scope for all the different marketing channels based on volumes and opportunities, and a whole lot of other things.
And then we work out what's the best approach to deliver you a return on your investment. Ultimately, a complete inbound marketing strategy is not for everyone - some industries, products, or services require a different approach.
Doesn't everyone end up on the same package anyway?
With all that analysis, the answer to this is a resounding no. We don't end up building the same packages for everyone. Often, they'll have a lot of the same elements, though generally in different configurations or with different timescales or budgets applied to each.
In some cases, our data shows us that a different approach than the one we expected is required. In fact, we recently signed a new client that came to us for a digital marketing quote. When we ran the numbers, we realised that Google Ads would be the most effective method of generating leads (and a return) at this stage.
If we'd had fixed packages at a fixed cost, this client could have been paying for SEO, content, social, email marketing, and more, when our true value would have only really been on the PPC side (because they'd already reached a point where they were getting the widest reach for their keywords and their in house team does a fantastic job with their emails). We'd earn more money, but it wouldn't be to the benefit of our client, nor would it deliver such a good ROI, because they'd be paying for activities that weren't doing very much. And both of those outcomes go against our values.
The key thing here, though, is that we couldn't have known that without asking a lot of questions and doing the research. We could have given a standard price, but it would have been the wrong outcome.
And that's why we can't answer a generic "how much does it cost?" question without asking a whole lot of extra questions before we answer.
What about HubSpot pricing?
As you may be aware, we're a HubSpot Partner, which means our clients use HubSpot. So, surely we can tell you how much that will cost?
Even that's not quite so simple. We don't insist everyone has the most expensive subscription - it's all based on, you guessed it, the data and analysis we do as part of putting your package together. That's why we put together our "how much does HubSpot cost" blog post, to help make sense of it all.
What level of HubSpot you need will be affected by the activities that will make you the best return. So, we have clients using just HubSpot Marketing Starter, as well as client using the full Enterprise Suite of Sales, Marketing, and Service Hubs. It all comes down to what works best for you, which might be a combination of one Pro hub and one Starter hub, or just one hub, and so on.
What affects the price of inbound?
Because pricing can range from £750 for pure PPC, to £2,500-5,000 for an inbound marketing retainer, it helps to know what will affect the price - driving it up or down.
Let's start with the premise that time is money. Therefore, the more time you need from your provider, the higher the cost. But it's, as always, there are various factors that go into that...
Things that add cost
- The more channels you want to use, because each channel requires its own strategy and time allocation
- If you need video, graphic design, or branding support - any specialised area will increase the cost of your retainer
- If you have an extremely large budget for advertising on Google or social - higher click budgets generally mean more management time spent optimising that budget
- The more content you want/need to create, the more time required to plan, research, and write
- The size of your database and number of segments you have - personalising content to different segments requires time and strategy
Things that reduce cost
- If you have in-house resource supporting your provider - the more you do internally, the less time you need from your provider - this is great if you have in-house resource but want/need experts to guide your actions strategically
- If you have clear brand and tone of voice guidelines and personas - this will reduce the time taken to get these put in place at the start of your engagement
- If you can produce first draft content yourself and hand it over to your inbound marketing agency to review, refine, and optimise
- If you have a fantastic website with clear conversion paths and a great conversion rate - this means the focus can be on lead generation and nurturing, without taking time to improve the website