How Much Does an Ecommerce Marketing Agency Cost?
How much an ecommerce marketing agency costs is really the million dollar question (normally figuratively, rarely literally). There really is no one-size-fits-all, nor should there be. As a brand, you need something that entirely meets your needs rather than an off-the-shelf package, so it’s very difficult to gauge a ballpark cost. It’s better to look at the question in terms of value to your brand and how cost-effective hiring an ecommerce marketing agency is, rather than what the straightforward cost would be. This is because the long term value you get from hiring an ecommerce agency is echoed in increased brand awareness, conversion rates, and online sales, which, in the long run, far outweigh the initial cost of hiring.
What Affects the Cost of Hiring an Ecommerce Marketing Agency?
When hiring an ecommerce marketing agency, it’s critically important to choose the best value rather than the best price. Cost also depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Your current assets and future needs. For example, do you have a website you’re happy with, or does it need development? Do you have a customer database and do you want to grow it? Do you want to expand your social media reach?
- Your in-house capability (see below). What can and can’t you do in-house? What level of support do you need? Do you want support for your team, or will your team be supporting the agency, who will take more of a leadership role? Your answers to these questions will massively affect the cost of hiring an ecommerce marketing agency.
- Your goals. How quickly are you expecting to achieve your goals? If you want a quick return on your investment, you may need to increase your budget accordingly. For example, there would be a cost difference if your goal was to increase revenue by 25% in six months as opposed to 15% over the course of a year. Here, the cost difference would account for the agency’s time. They would need to put more hours into your project in the first instance, and also spend more on marketing activity. While you’d probably get great results, you’d need a significantly bigger investment to do so.
- Scope. How much your agency does for you depends on how much you want to spend.
- Your competitive landscape. What are your competitors doing and how competitive is the market? Higher competition will drive up costs.
- Geographic reach. Are you selling your product or service locally, nationally or globally? Some types of marketing can be more costly as they increase your geographic footprint.
- Duration of your buyer journey. Do your customers purchase quickly or do you have a long buyer’s journey? A longer sales cycle often requires more content and more touches which can require a larger budget.
Hiring an Ecommerce Marketing Agency vs. Hiring an In-house Marketing Team
If you know that you need to strengthen your ecommerce marketing capabilities, you’re probably asking yourself whether it would be more cost-effective to hire an agency or hire an in-house team. Each has definite benefits and you really need to consider what would work best for you and your brand (and your budget). It’s also important to consider the value and return on investment you’ll be getting as well as the cost implications.
Benefits of Hiring an Ecommerce Marketing Agency
You’ve probably heard rumors of marketing agencies costing the earth, and perhaps the thought of how much an ecommerce marketing agency costs fills you with dread – but don’t panic! Hiring an ecommerce marketing agency is oftentimes less expensive and more value-adding than hiring a marketing manager. Why?
- An agency gives you deep and broad marketing experience across a range of channels
- You’ll have immediate access to a range of marketing disciplines and specialties
- A marketing agency will provide all the software and marketing tools you need
- You’ll get a fresh, outside perspective on your brand and customers
But the clincher is that compared to the cost of hiring just one marketing manager, an ecommerce marketing agency’s fees are more than reasonable. If you need to hire even a small in-house marketing team to deliver your ecommerce marketing strategy, an agency would be able to provide way more bang for your buck.
Additionally, you won’t have infrastructure costs such as the actual recruitment, training, software purchases, office overheads, annual leave, sick pay, etc. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on your core business while your agency implements your ecommerce marketing strategy and tactics.
A good ecommerce marketing agency should start to deliver results more quickly than a new in-house team. This is because they’re used to working together, they have processes in place, access to all the software they need, and the experience of working across different brands and industries means they are experts at getting to know a new brand quickly. They can hit the ground running – and the right agency will quickly start paying for themselves.
The Cost of an Internal Ecommerce Marketing Team
If you want an in-house team who could take on everything an ecommerce marketing agency could do, you’ll need a pretty big team. It’s only in manpower that you will find the breadth of knowledge, experience, and skills to take you to where you want to be. It’s impossible (and unreasonable) to expect one marketing manager or even a small team to cover disciplines as diverse as SEO, paid search, web development, content marketing, social media, videography, and email campaigns – just for starters. And that’s without thinking about keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations, undertaking research, reporting, analysis, and tracking KPIs.
Clearly, setting up a large in-house team requires a significant cost investment – much more than hiring an ecommerce marketing agency. Partnering with an agency also neatly bypasses the complexities of running an in-house team and the investment of time and energy it takes to do that.
How Does an Ecommerce Marketing Agency put its Costs Together?
A lot of ecommerce marketing agencies will work on both a retainer and project-by-project basis.
Retainer-based services are ongoing, and often include things like SEO, content marketing, social media management, and email marketing, while a one-off project could be a web design and build, logo design, or a company video.
Check out our choosing a marketing agency resource for more content on all aspects of hiring a marketing agency (including a downloadable guide!), or get in touch if you’d like to chat through how LimeLight Marketing can support your brand and improve your ecommerce.