5 Pros & Cons of a Retainer Contract

Category - Marketing

If you outsource your digital marketing to an agency like Market Jar, or you’re considering hiring their expertise, have you thought about implementing a retainer contract with us?

Before we delve into the pros and cons of this decision, first things first, what is a retainer contract?

Web retainer contract

Once you’ve had your beautiful new website designed for you, life just isn’t kind enough for that to be it. Your website isn’t ‘done’ when you press launch. Far from it, that is just the beginning.

There’s a constant requirement to keep your site up to date, to update or add new landing pages, to create new calls to actions or tweak your existing ones. Or you might need to redesign the home page as your focus shifts slightly.

And all this requires you to go back to your web designer and ask them to make these changes for you. Which can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly.

A web retainer contract is an ongoing agreement between a digital marketing agency (i.e. Market Jar) and a client (i.e. you), to work together over an extended period of time.

Essentially, your digital marketing agency will charge you a fixed fee each month, and in return the agency sets aside an agreed amount of time each month to work on your digital marketing needs.

Retainer services

This all sounds peachy in theory, but what do you, the discerning client, get in exchange for your set payment each month?

Well, that’s the beauty of a retainer contract. There are so many activities that fall under the digital marketing umbrella, and with an agency on retainer, they can spend time each month, concentrating on each one, making sure nothing ever gets missed:

  • Building your SEO strategy
  • Optimising your website
  • Building links
  • Conducting competitor research
  • Carrying out keyword research
  • Creating content
  • Undertaking website maintenance
  • Carrying out AdWords campaigns

And the rest, not to mention any ad hoc requests you may have for us.

Pros & cons of a retainer contract

1. Pro: Continuous improvement to your website

Why would you want to work with this type of contract in place rather than assign work to an agency as and when you need it?

Because by keeping the digital marketing agency on a retainer, you get a continuous review of your website, updating where necessary, carrying out competitor analysis, ensuring your website performs as it should, driving traffic and your business growth.

2. Cons: Not every month is filled

Sometimes there just isn’t enough work to fill the time allocated, and so you pay for more work than is delivered. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you can always roll the unused hours over to the next month, if you have this agreement in place.

You can avoid this scenario though by making sure the agency has a realistic expectation of how much digital marketing work your business needs, and having someone at the agency be proactive about the best way to use your time effectively. You could also have monthly meetings to set priorities for the month ahead.

3. Pro: It is cheaper in the long run

The biggest advantage to keeping a digital marketing agency on retainer is that it’s cheaper than having them work for you by the hour. Plus, it’s cheaper than having to hire someone full time, in house, or rely on freelancers every time you need some digital marketing expertise.

4. Cons: You don’t have oversight how the agency’s time is spent

If you’re outsourcing work to an agency, and paying for time rather than projects completed, you might be understandably nervous about not being able to measure whether you’re getting value for money or not.

Good agencies should be transparent with how they use your time. You can request they send over monthly breakdowns of the work they’ve done, or you can set up a project management tool to track tasks and time spent – Active Collab and Trello work well here.

5. Pro: You get what you need

If you don’t have a dedicated digital marketing person on your team, you can outsource the work to people who are experts in it. An agency will do the work that you don’t know how to, or haven’t got time to, ensuring your digital marketing needs are always met, and nothing falls through the gaps.

You know the work will get done each month, you don’t need to hang around and wait for it to happen, nor do you need to chase it up.

Market Jar retainer contract

It might sound like a big commitment to keep a digital marketing agency on retainer, but when you plan it out, it can be a great investment for your company, and the best way to get the most out of your digital marketing agency.

To find out more about how a retainer contract with Market Jar can work, get in touch with us today.

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