John McTigue, EVP and Co-Owner at an enterprise inbound marketing agency called Kuno Creative, is one agency executive who is gung ho about transparent pricing. Even after much “back and forth on the visibility of [Kuno Creative’s] pricing over the years,” the ultimate decision to publish some of their pricing has done wonders for their business. In a 2011 blog post, John wrote:
We have decided to publish pricing for our two main services, inbound marketing services and HubSpot [CMS] design. Our view is that transparency will help us win in competitive situations and help to pre-qualify our customers before we commit time and resources to sales consultations. We feel that the ability to improve customer conversion rates outweighs the sheer number of opportunities. We recognize that open pricing may help the competition to some degree, but we’re not obsessing about that. Our focus is on problem solving, delivering and customer success. Those factors will drive both revenue generation and profitability.
Nowadays Kuno Creative has starting prices listed on their site for ongoing inbound marketing services including paid search, social media, blogging, content creation, website design, as well as their onetime offering — an assessment and strategic marketing plan.
So, why might you want to take after Kuno Creative?
Differentiate From Countless Other Marketing Agencies
If you were to go read a random assortment of “About” pages from marketing agency websites, you would likely find a lot of descriptors like these: “innovative,” “unconventional,” “results-oriented,” “integrated,” and “full-service.” With so many agencies swimming in a sea of sameness, differentiation must manifest itself in every crevice of the business — pricing included. When the vast majority of marketing agencies position themselves as pie-in-the-sky, we-do-everything firms that base pricing on the legacy billable hour, why wouldn’t you want to become, say, the pufferfish among a homogeneous school of salmon?
Inbound marketing agencies like Kuno Creative, PR 20/20, and Impact Branding & Design are the pufferfish. They stand out by not only providing ongoing, measurable inbound marketing services in the first place, but packaging and pricing them in a way that makes it refreshingly easy for prospective clients to understand what they’ll get for their money. From the beginning.
Clients who are accustomed to paying for hours spent on nubilous and sometimes ineffective marketing tasks often find the accountability and transparency associated with published pricing quite alluring.
Shorten the Sales Cycle By Avoiding Prospects Who Can’t Afford You
According to Patrick Campbell, the Co-Founder & CEO at Price Intelligently, a software company that helps organizations master their pricing strategies, “Publishing pricing allows you to instill confidence in your prospects, as well as streamline the whole process for your sales team because you’re essentially rooting out those clients who can’t afford you anyway.”
John Bonini, Director of Marketing at Impact Branding & Design, agreed when he explained why his agency has their pricing out in the open:
The main function for including pricing on our website was to help assist in the shortening of our sales process. Prospects now have a general idea of what to expect, as well as what goes into the pricing strategy for developing andexecuting their inbound marketing campaign. This allows our sales team to spend less time on a connect call discussing price, and more time discussing challenges, goals, as well as the background information essential for furthering the relationship.
What could your business development and strategy teams do with hours of recovered time?
Improve Client-Agency Chemistry By Allowing Prospects to Self-Select Your Firm
Transparency in pricing is about turning away the wrong clients, not just turning away prospects who can’t afford your marketing services. While published pricing may repel some prospects you coulda-shouldawoulda taken aboard, it may attract others who better jibe with your agency anyway. Why? Because by the time they contact your team, they’ve already done enough homework to determine that your agency offers the services they need at a feasible price.
They’ll appreciate the time you saved them trying to get a pricing answer out of your biz dev representative, just as your team will appreciate not having to despairingly schmooze them into the next stage in the sales process. Another big plus: your agency gains the power to decide if you’d actually like to work with the client. Better client-agency chemistry makes for better, longer-lasting, and more profitable relationships.
Now that we’ve covered the major benefits of having pricing exposed on your agency’s website, let’s change gears and see what the opposition has to say.
Adopted from Shannon Johnson’s Inbound Agency Pricing Series. You can follow her @Shannopop