The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Published Agency Pricing

Mike Lieberman
Mike Lieberman




If you run an inbound marketing agency or are transitioning from a more traditional agency into an inbound marketing agency, you’re getting a lot of advice from a lot of different people on how to be successful. You job is to sift through the advice and adopt what works for you and your agency.

One of the things you are probably considering is, “Should we publish pricing on our website?” Once you start looking some of the more popular and successful inbound marketing agencies, you see that a majority of them do publish pricing on their site. However, before you make that decision, you should be aware of the pluses and minuses of putting pricing on your site. 

The Good

There are some very positive benefits from publishing pricing on your website. First, it does an excellent job of prequalifying prospects. If you’re pricing starts at $5,000 a month and a client only wants to spend $1,000 a month on marketing, you won’t waste much time talking to them about your services.

Published pricing and set packages also clearly outline what services you provide. Most of the sites that do this have a variety of packages -- silver, gold, platinum or fast, faster, fastest. I’ve seen a lot of creative naming conventions around packages. This approach actually aligns with how people think about purchasing. It's easy to understand for the client to understand, and it's easy for you to sell a set group of services. 

The Bad

Some of the good reasons are actually related to the reasons why you be wary about publishing your pricing. First, by outlining your pricing, you’re asking uneducated buyers to make their own value decisions without the benefit of your guidance. Someone coming to the table with a preconceived notion around budget might change that notion if you’re able to speak with them about the value and long-term benefits of marketing services provided by your firm.

Next, packages can actually commoditize what you do and how you do it. Inbound marketing is not about the tactics; it’s about building a marketing machine that is replicable, scalable, trackable, and predictable. Published pricing facilitates a prospect's ability to compare packages and companies without the benefit of really understanding the expertise and value they provide. You want your inbound marketing to move them to a conversation, not a quick decision based on a review of your website.

The Ugly

Your agency's goal when courting a new client is to make him feel safe -- to build trust. One way to do that is to make the client feel like your recommendations, pricing, and ideas are personalized based on the business's unique needs. How could you give a prospect any pricing information until you really understand the client's business, goals, current situation, buyer personas, and market? It just makes good sense not to publish standard pricing. Instead, work with the potential client to co-create the perfect set of recommendations and monetary investment that align with his goals and plans for growth.

Finally, you're not selling software. You’re not selling a commodity. You’re a professional services firm. You’re a consulting company. Would KPMG or Deloitte put pricing on their website? The more you move to shorten your sales cycle by making your services look like a menu of plug-and-play options, the tougher it’s going to be to charge clients what you need to charge them to ensure the results they want and expect. Publishing pricing on your site is actually counter to everything else you should be trying to achieve with your agency.

Think hard before you put standard pricing on your website, and make sure it aligns perfectly with your agency, your goals, and the perspective you want potential clients to have about your agency. 

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