Internet Advertising Companies: Comparisons, Pricing, and Advice For Small Businesses
Finding a good online advertising agency and picking the right marketing channels to get what you need can be difficult
Why do Internet advertising companies charge different amounts for the same services? There are a lot of different methods of advertising a business online, which should I choose? Why are there so many different names to describe the same online marketing channels? These questions leaves the uninitiated small business community scratching their collective heads.
There are online advertising companies that work with just search engines, only promoting businesses on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Others specialize in social media, promoting their clients on the sites of Facebook, Twitter etc… While others do email marketing, contextual ad placement, lead gen, or advertise on directories.
If you were to hire a different consultant for each of the different online advertising channels, they would tell you their way offers the most value. “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail”. Agencies with consultants that have experience with all marketing types can offer a more holistic strategy, but at what cost?
It will typically cost you over $1000.00 a month to work with an experienced, well established digital agency. These companies don’t work with smaller budgets, and until recently, the larger market of smaller budgets were under served by interactive firms.
Under served small budget / small businesses marketing companies
The online marketing community has begun developing packages aimed directly at businesses with small budgets over the last few years. Companies like: web.com; yodle; 1&1.com, reachlocal.com, and the like have developed all in one solutions which include: Hosting, domain name, website, and usually a directory listings in the big three search engines.
The cost of an average entry level package offered by most of these companies is between $100.00 and $200.00 a month. These marketing packages will provide you with a professional looking website, and little else. Sometimes not very professional looking (in my opinion). Yodle Review
Yp.com and Superpages.com have been offering similar packages, but theirs include a premium listing at the top of their respective directories. The websites look pretty good on the whole, but you can expect to pay $300.00 -$500.00 or more a month for these services. In my opinion they do a better job than the others, but at a higher cost, and I have spoke with many small businesses that have used them, and the return on investment just isn’t there, so their packages are not worth the cost.
All of the big box marketing companies mentioned above have a few things in common.
- A lot of what they do is simply automated.
- They claim your site is optimized (SEOed) for local search. (barely)
- They use a call tracking phone number, not your phone number.
They offer you their cheap introductory automated services at $100.00 plus a month, which include marketing speech like “free website”, “free set-up”, “legal guarantee” to suck you in. They want to up-sell you optimization for more cities and towns. Which really means they simply include your street address on the website, and that their plan has serious limitations (which it does but is beyond the scope of this article).
The packages above will do little more than create a web presence, and help your business to be found by people searching for your business by name.
Cost Comparison: You vs. Them
If you went and got your own domain name and hosting account, it would cost you roughly $100.00 a year. Then add to it the cost of a professional looking website $500.00 – $700.00, and you have a one time investment of $600-$800, plus say $110.00 a year for hosting and domain name fees (after the first year). The five year cost of a web presence comparable to the box stores mentioned above is at most $1400.00.
The five year cost of the cheapest package offered by the corporate marketing agencies mentioned above is $6000.00. So would you rather spend 60 hundreds or 14 hundred? By spending less on your website and hosting, you free up money to actually promote and advertise your website …ie your business services or products.
The alternative to doing it yourself, or going with a box store package
Small Budget Web Advertising Solutions
There are Internet advertising companies (cough * like mine) that enjoy, and actually excel at working with small advertising budgets. These agencies have comprehensive packages for budgets from $100.00 – $300.00 that blow away the big box stores.
For only $100.00 a month you can get: a highly optimized website; citations all over the web, including your local community; Social account creation with integrated sharing buttons on your website; professional contact forms and expert consulting. You get an actual chance to dominate your local competition.
A $250.00 $300.00 a month plan will get you a few links build over the course of a year, some paid search exposure on the search engines, or more content creation, possibly some video, or accelerated social exposure.
I hope you have a better idea of what it cost to advertising online and you found this article helpful. Please hit me up on Twitter with any questions @Inform_Local. Remember part of sharing is sharing the love, please like or plus 1.
Check out this book by Holly Berkley for more information