The first question we get when we’re in a needs analysis meeting is, how much does digital marketing cost? Why shouldn’t it be? If you were going to buy a piece of equipment or a car you’d ask first, how much does it cost. After that you can hear the benefits of why it’s important or how it can save you money, make you money, etc. You want to know if you can afford it, right? So, we’re going to tell you how much digital marketing costs at Build/Create Studios.

It costs $125 an hour here. 

Now, the question is how many hours do you need to have an affective campaign? We have some general estimates on that as well. We estimate it takes about 35-40 hours or about $4,500 – 5,000 a month to truly see value out of a online marketing. When you add software costs into that you’re looking at another $600 a month. But these have value to your company outside of marketing, and we have lots of blogs on the benefits of SharpSpring and Inspectlet.

What Do You Get for $5,000 a Month?

The breakdown of hours is generally as such:

Content Creation: 10 Hrs per Month

Email Design: 3 Hrs per Month

SEO: 10 Hrs Per Month

Workflow Creation: 5 Hrs per Month

AdWords Management (if you’re using this): 10 Hrs per month

A/B Testing of CTA’s: 2 Hrs per month

Social Media: 5 Hrs per Month

Now, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that this is over 40 hours per month. And you’d be very right. Managing AdWords is the variable that can adjust your costs per month.

Why Not Just Hire a Marketing Manager?

This is a good point. However, finding a marketing manager who can write, do SEO, manage AdWords, understand Inbound marketing and the software platforms, and can also design will probably set you back a bit more than $60,000 a year with benefits. Plus, you’re only paying for what you use with an agency. Agencies don’t charge you for lunch breaks, vacation, and water cooler talk.

Most of the companies we work with have a marketing manager, and this is to avoid hiring another person at a large salary in order to manage all of the digital marketing tasks that they can’t handle.

Why Not Hire a Marketing Intern?

There’s a simple answer to that. Do you want someone you’re not paying, or paying very little to be in charge of representing your brand online? Digital marketing and social media are the way you communicate with your potential customers and customers now. An intern is good if you have someone who knows what their doing to direct them, but just because someone’s young doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing in a professional digital environment.

What if I Can’t Afford that Much for an Agency?

That’s ok! There are a lot of resources out there, including this blog, that can help you get on the right track in digital marketing. Build/Create is happy to give pointers where we can, we host Meetups every month in the Ann Arbor area to educate people on digital marketing. When your business is ready, we’ll be here waiting.

What About People Who Say They can Do SEO for $250 a month?

They may be able to do some of the SEO tasks for a few hours a month but that’s not everything in terms of digital marketing. Also if they promise results in any time frame for that cost, run. Often they’re using black hat SEO tricks that Google will catch on to and penalize your website.

If everyone could be successful online for $250 – $2,000 a month, don’t you think everyone would?

Be wary of agencies that promise results for 10 – 15 hours a month. Even the fastest writers can’t produce quality blogs in under an hour or two. This includes the big companies like Hibu, YP, and even companies like AT&T who say they can do work for little cost.

Are You a Good Fit for a Digital Agency? (and Vice Versa)

If the costs that were given to you above are a significant portion or all of your marketing budget for a year, getting an agency is probably not the best solution for you. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea.

However, if you want growth and don’t know how to manage all the ways to get there, this isn’t your entire marketing budget, maybe it’s time to give an agency a try.

If you can honestly say – “how much does digital marketing cost?” is a less scary question than, “how do we compete without a digital presence?” You’re probably ready to start investigating what a digital marketing agency can do for you.

Published 12/28/16 by Eric Lynch