Articles by Nina Litovsky

Yearly Contract and Monthly Fees for Ongoing Marketing Services

Question from a dental marketing forum asked by a dentist:

“I was introduced to a digital marketing company … and I was wondering what you guys thought about their offer. Costs: 1 yr contract: $999/month, Google Ads: $750/month. They guarantee at least 5 pts per month or they refund the $999. Services: 1) Custom website [with] unique content. This will allow Google to rank me higher. 2) Search and Social Media: SEO campaign, Social Media campaign (Facebook/Instagram Ads, 5 posts a week), Management of Google Adwords campaign, Retarget Marketing, Minor changes to website, Host and secure the site, Biweekly Blogs, Review Management…”

My response:

So you are locked into a yearly contract with $1,000 ongoing fee for the full year? What about the following year?  What will the cost of ongoing services be?

When you buy a bundle from one company, you don’t know the quality of individual components, and, you may not actually need all of them in the first place. Monthly SEO might not be something you need right away, and based on what I have observed, many bundled providers don’t do a very good job at providing this service, but their fees can be very high.

Rather than buying a bundle from one company and paying an ongoing monthly fee, you can get most of these things from several different firms for a one-time fee and definitely more cost-effectively.

If you want to get a high quality custom website, professional original content, and good SEO, you can get that for a one-time fee (anywhere from $4-6k) and you will get your own website that will last many years and you will save you a lot of money vs. paying an ongoing fee for a website that you probably don’t even own. If at some point you need monthly SEO (and this recommendation should come from someone who’s not trying to sell you anything), there are a number of high quality and lower priced firms that will do the job. All of these pieces together will still save you significant money vs. a bundled approach.

With a new good website you may get 5 new patients month naturally, so IMO this type of promise is more of a gimmick – they’ve set a bar so low that anyone can make it, and they know that in 9 out of 10 cases they can ‘demonstrate’ 5 new patients a month, otherwise they wouldn’t be offering this.

In the long term it is more cost effective to have a custom content with a custom strategy – maybe you need ongoing monthly SEO, and maybe not.  You should have the ability to turn it off as well as to see whether it is actually working (which many companies don’t do a good job at tracking, especially if they get paid a monthly fee in perpetuity), but with a packaged bundle it may not be easy to get rid of your SEO service.  Often, monthly SEO brings little value as the quality is all over the map – some companies literally do nothing, while others actually do the work they promise,  yet there is no guarantee that this will improve your situation, so in that case you might as well just not pay for SEO on a monthly basis, and just have annual checkups or periodic SEO campaigns.

There are many ways to spend a lot of money on web services, but it pays to be smart about which providers you hire.