How Much Should I Expect to Pay for Digital Marketing Services?

by | Price & Process

Finally — after months or maybe even years of hard work, you’ve reached a tipping point in your business.

You know the marketing has to extend beyond you, but now you’re entering into the world of digital agencies and, to be honest, it’s really confusing and maybe even a bit disheartening.

First things first, congratulations!

As the owner of NorthMac, I know firsthand where you are. Those first months and years building a business are the hardest, and I know all too well what is like to have to do all the marketing alone.

If you’re like most of our customers, asking for help with your digital marketing is scary.

Who do you trust? How much should you spend? Are you really ready to take this step?

This is a big topic; my goal for this article is to address just one of those questions above.

Once you wade into these waters, how much should you expect to pay for digital marketing services?

“It Depends”

You knew it was coming right? No sense burying the lead.

And while yes — it does “depend” — that doesn’t mean you should be completely in the dark, left without even knowing what it depends on.

But let’s back up.

First, what services do you even need?

It’s common for marketing firms to answer this question with lengthy proposals, exhausting discovery calls, and lots of unnecessary personalization.

On the other hand, some try to answer it with a cookie cutter solution that simply doesn’t fit all the business categories they’re trying to serve.

As for us, we try to meet in the middle.

We start with clarity around three major ideas:

Idea 1: Who is our dream customer?

At NorthMac, there are two overarching personas we tend to serve most frequently and effectively:

  1. The online educator creating courses and membership sites
  2. The local professional services firm (think construction, building manufacturing, etc)

If you’re thinking those seem worlds apart, you are right. And yet, we’ve found that our marketing services can be a great fit for both.

Idea 2: The four types of customer.

In digital marketing, there are really only four types of customer you can get:

  1. The Repeat — past customers
  2. The Referral — customers referred by other happy customers
  3. The Researcher — customers actively looking for your solution
  4. The Ready — customers who are in pain and simply need to know you exist

As long as your system is geared towards capturing one or more of those customer types, it can work across different business categories.

Idea 3: A consistent program with repeatable results.

Football teams operate from a “playbook.” Imagine if they had to start from scratch each time they played.

That would impossible, right?

Instead, they start with proven frameworks that have worked for their team, and adapt them to fit their next opponent.

That’s what our CREST Marketing program allows. We didn’t see a reason to reinvent the wheel. At the same time, we didn’t think it was wise to have a long list of A La Carte services to pick and choose from.

We thought it would be possible to focus in on a specific set of services that, with slight changes for each client, would produce repeatable results. That is CREST.

What is CREST?

CREST is an acrostic that stands for:

  • Conversion-based website
  • Review and reputation management
  • Email newsletter
  • Search-optimized content
  • Tracking and testing

There is a tight logic to this process. Follow it with me:

  • If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist
  • If you have a website and even referrals, but no one has a sense for your customer’s satisfaction (i.e., online reviews), why would they do business with you?
  • Most leads you attract will not buy now — and studies show most sales are being missed due to lack of followup. Your email newsletter keeps you top of mind.
  • Over time, referral sources dry up, and you’ll need another way for customers (your Researchers) to find you – that’s where Search-optimized content comes into play.
  • Customer behavior drives business results. Without tracking and testing, there is no way to optimize your lead generation and sales conversion processes.

CREST is, for us, an exercise in “staying in our lane.” Did you notice that we did not mention social media?

Does that mean social media is ineffective? Of course not!

There are plenty of agencies and freelancers that focus on social media, and we think it’s great — even necessary — to have.

But it’s not our best area of contribution, and we don’t want to sell a service just because we “can.”

For our customers, we find a focus on their Marketing Hub (i.e., website) using organic content (mainly text, sometimes video) is a more effective longterm strategy, so that is where we focus our efforts.

How We Price CREST

As you might imagine, it is not possible for us to publish our pricing for these services.

The reason is because, even though the services are fairly consistent, the scale at which they are deployed varies greatly from customer to customer, and the scale of deployment affects the price quite a bit.

While we recommend most businesses jump in head first and sign up for the entire program, we also realize some customers need this to be more “piecemeal” and ease into it.

So in those cases, we’ll offer special arrangements to break the services apart. In this scenario, the pricing for any two or more individual pieces would exceed what they cost when bundled together as the full package.

Of course, we’d love to have a brief discovery call with you to discuss your specific needs, but here’s a quick way to gauge your level of investment:

  • If you do more than $249,000 per year in top line revenue, you are likely a candidate for the full CREST experience.
  • If you do less than $100,000 per year, you are likely a candidate for the Conversion-based website and maybe Review and reputation management.
  • If you fall somewhere in between, we would likely need to get a pulse on your most immediate needs before advising a specific direction for you.

Hopefully this article gives you a sense for how to get your bearings when engaging a digital marketing company. If even if you do not use NorthMac, we always recommend you engage a company that has a plan — a playbook or a roadmap — to follow.

A digital marketing company that “does everything!” is, unfortunately, likely a “jack of all trades” and does not have the experience to know how to dial in their services to achieve a specific result.

If you think CREST could work for your business, I’d be honored to talk with you about it for 30 minutes so I can learn everything there is to know about you. You’ll do 95% of the talking.

Click here to schedule that discovery call and let’s see if we can help accomplish your dreams alongside you.


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