If you’ve found this page you’re probably considering hiring a marketing consultant and wondering how much it will cost, and what will be involved.
I’ll do my best to give you an idea, and some example scenarios. I’ll also forewarn you – unlike popping out to buy a quart of milk, a marketing consultant’s fees will vary depending on a few things, including the consultant you hire, and exactly what marketing services you need.
Common Marketing Services:
1. Community Management & Social Media
You may need help getting started and creating a strategy, or perhaps you already have a presence on social networks but your staff lack the time and expertise to stay on top of things. This happens all the time!
Hiring a marketing consultant to take the reigns of your online community and/or social media accounts should feel as if someone on your staff is doing it.
A consultant will make posts, start conversations, respond to your customers, share company news, information and photos of interest to your followers.
Before hiring a consultant, please make sure you know exactly what you’re getting, and what types of posts he or she will be making on your behalf.
2. Inbound Marketing
A consultant can optimize your website to increase traffic and drive leads, set up and manage your company blog, create a lead-capture plan, write and post fresh content and provide detailed reporting.
3. Strategic Marketing Advice
If your company has a challenge related to marketing, a consultant can be brought in to offer insight and ideas.
Expanding into new markets? Not sure the best way to reach your ideal customers? Need to increase sales per year from current customers? These are all challenges a marketing consultant can help you solve.
4. General Marketing Support
A consultant can work with your company just as a hired Marketing Manager and help your company by providing advice and direction.
He or she can also create your marketing strategy and execute some, or all of it, so you and your staff can get back to focusing on what you do best.
How Much Does a Marketing Consultant Cost?
As with any other service provider, each marketing consultant will have their own fee structure. The most common are:
1. Hourly Rate
Some consultants charge by the hour to complete a project.
Based on our research, in Canada (including the Saint John, New Brunswick area) you’ll probably pay $75 – $150 per hour to hire a marketing consultant.
You might also pay more, depending on the specialization of the company you work with, location, or their years of experience.
2. Flat Rate/Project-based Fee
For a one-time project the price may be quoted as a flat rate.
3. Monthly Fee/Retainer
If your company needs certain marketing services on an ongoing basis, a set monthly fee for those services is the way to go. Like a flat rate, you’ll know your investment up front and be able to budget for it.
This type of arrangement also guarantees you’ll receive the services you need each month and the consultant will ensure they have those hours available to serve you.
A monthly retainer can be anywhere from $1000 to tens of thousands of dollars per month depending on the level of services your company needs.
Here are some example retainer packages. We found these by looking at the websites of marketing agencies in Canada and the United States who have their rates posted online.
$1000 per month is the starting point we found for social media management of one network for a small business (such as managing your Facebook Page). The cost will increase depending on the size of your follower base and frequency of posting.
Note that there are some companies that sell social media management services for around $250 per month. Before signing up for such a low-priced service please ask to see examples of the typical page they manage. At that rate you will probably find the service to be quite generic, posts may be infrequent and the content they share will probably be on the low side of engaging. Are fans commenting, liking and sharing the posts? If not, the page has a problem. If you want to “do social media” to cross an item off your list, then go for it….if you’re looking for quality and results, be wary of any company that can offer that for such a low price.
A basic inbound marketing package, including weekly blog posts, SEO, social sharing, lead capture and reporting will start in the range of $2500 to $3500 per month.
A more comprehensive inbound marketing package that also includes advanced content creation (ex. downloadable eBooks and white papers), more frequent blog posts, lead nurturing emails and detailed reporting starts at about $3500 to $5000 per month or more.
The Survey Says…
According to an SEOmoz survey of 34 agencies in 2011, the most common monthly retainers of inbound/online marketing firms in Canada are:
- $251 – $500
We have no way of knowing exactly what services these retainers included.
- Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Marketing
- Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Consultant
- Why Hiring a Marketing Consultant Can Cost Less Than Hiring an Employee