Marketing agencies charge $500 to $10,000+ ($3,500 on average) per month, depending on the services included, business goals, channels prioritized, and your niche. Read on for a complete breakdown of 15 common pricing models.
Here, you’ll find:
- Marketing agency pricing models
- Marketing agency cost by service
- Factors that contribute to marketing agency pricing
- Costs included in digital marketing agency pricing
Every business owner wants to invest in marketing that pays off.
But among the roster of services — pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), social media management (SMM), and more — it’s tough to know how much marketing agencies actually cost.
You’ve got questions about marketing agency pricing, and we’ve got answers.
In this guide, we’ll provide a complete breakdown of marketing agency pricing models, services, factors that dictate pricing, and costs included.
We’ll also share expert tips from Sam Yadegar, who brings decades of experience as an industry-leading marketing agency’s CEO at HawkSEM.
How much does a marketing agency cost?
On average, here’s what you can expect to pay for the top digital marketing services:
- PPC: $1,500-$10,000 per month
- SEO: $1,000-$30,000 per month
- Marketing strategy: $3,000-$10,000
- Ecommerce: $2,000-$12,000 per month
- SaaS: $5,000-$20,000 per month
- CRO: $800-$10,000 per month
- Social media marketing: $900-$20,000 per month
- Influencer marketing: $100-$10,000 per post, or $5,000-$250,000 per month
- Branding and graphic design: $150-$300 per hour, or $7,000-$150,000 per project
- Content marketing: $2,000-$30,000 per month
- Growth marketing: $3,000-$30,000 per month
- Affiliate marketing: 5-30% of affiliate revenue
- Link building: $50-$1,500 per link
- Email marketing: $300-$1,500 per month
- Digital PR: $5,000-$100,000+ per month
You’ll likely need to invest anywhere from $500 to $10,000 and up per month into a marketing agency to see ROI. But you’ll want to get clear on your marketing goals first.
Want to boost organic conversions? Looking for quick, high-quality traffic? Ready to spark interest with your audience on social media?
These are all important factors that weigh into marketing agency pricing, along with industry and business size.
Plus, there are tons of marketing agency types, all with their own pricing models; so, let’s dive in.
Marketing agency pricing models
What is a typical marketing agency fee? That depends on the pricing structure the agency uses, and will typically fall into these common categories.
Monthly retainer pricing
Most agencies charge retainer fees for ongoing monthly marketing services. A marketing agency’s monthly retainer (a minimum monthly amount per month that includes certain services), can cost anywhere from $500 per month for select services to $10,000 and up per month for full suite digital marketing services covering multiple tactics, like:
- PPC advertising
- Social media marketing
- Email and content marketing
Why such a wide price gap? Because marketing agencies usually offer retainers based on several services.
For example, a retainer that includes SMM, PPC, SEO, and an overall omnichannel strategy would cost more than one that covers one type of marketing like Google Shopping Ads for an ecommerce business.
A marketing agency will help you determine which channels to focus on. And Yadegar says it’s vital to keep your sights on the highest revenue impact while incorporating channels that feed your entire marketing funnel.
“It’s definitely a case-by-case situation,” says Yadegar. “We typically see about 20% of budgets going to digital marketing, then of that 20%, 30% goes to PPC, 30% SEO, 20% social and 20% CRO.”
The average cost of a monthly retainer is around $3,500, and, usually, agencies have minimums that fall around $1,000 to $1,500.
Of course, you can easily invest $6,000 to $10,000+ per month, but this depends on various factors which we’ll cover in a bit.
But if you have your marketing strategy locked in? You might just need help with a few specific projects.
Let’s say you’re an established SaaS business that sells educational gaming software for kids. You plan to launch a new product line: professional development software for 20-somethings entering the workforce.
Now, you want to target a different age demographic on Instagram in large metropolitan cities like New York City, Chicago, and Boston.
You could recruit help for this project from a devoted Meta Ads agency. The benefit of a project-based pricing model is that the marketing agency will only charge you for this specific project, which makes it easy to budget for and set clear key performance indicators (KPIs).
But if you have a steady stream of campaigns and projects moving forward, all you need to do is maintain them. And if your marketing team is too swamped to keep up with all the tasks? Jump ahead to the next section for marketing agency pricing by service.
Package (tiered) pricing
Agencies often have multiple packages to choose from based on their specialty services.
For example, an SEO agency may offer packages including website optimization and SEO setup, or ongoing SEO services including technical SEO and content creation.
Package or tiered pricing lets you choose among pre-set packages to keep monthly expenses uniform.
Hourly agency fees
Charging by the hour is a less common pricing model because it isn’t as realistic for most businesses looking to maximize ROI.
Hourly pricing averages around $150 per hour, depending on the agency’s specialty.
At HawkSEM, we charge for results because charging for the number of hours required to strategize and execute cross-channel campaigns is simply ineffective for sustainable growth. It doesn’t take into account the scope of work required for each campaign.
Further, it significantly limits your reach potential, because it only accounts for hourly work for one specific marketing tactic, not the bigger picture.
Value-based pricing model
If you want to see optimal results and ROI, you need to look at your marketing objectives. A value-based pricing model considers your ideal benchmarks, like increasing conversions and sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
The agency must conduct services and provide these results to get paid. In other words, they must provide value.
Marketing agency costs by service
To help you allocate a percentage of your revenue for marketing based on your specific goals, let’s look at the most common pricing averages by marketing type and niche.
- PPC pricing structure and range
- SEO agency pricing models
- Marketing strategy pricing
- Ecommerce pricing models
- SaaS marketing costs
- CRO agency costs
- Social media agency pricing
- Influencer marketing pricing
- Branding and graphic design pricing
- Content marketing pricing ranges
- Growth marketing pricing
- Affiliate marketing pricing models and range
- Link-building pricing models
- Email marketing pricing
- Digital PR average costs
PPC pricing structure and range
PPC pricing falls into three agency rate structures:
- Flat fee: $1,500 to $10,000 fee per month, often with an additional one-time setup fee. Rates usually represent a percentage of your PPC budget; the higher the budget, the higher the PPC management fee.
- Performance-based: Want to only pay for results? Then this PPC pricing model is an ideal choice. You pay for the leads they generate, but it’s essential to partner with a reputable digital marketing agency to ensure you see high-quality, conversion-primed leads.
- Percentage of ad spend: This pricing model charges a percentage (typically 10-20%) of your ad spend. The agency charges a commission-based fee indicative of your monthly ad budget spend. The fee tends to decrease as your marketing budget increases; the more you spend, the lower the commission.
Paid ads offer the quickest results because you strategically publish campaigns that put your business at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
- Range: $1,500-$10,000 per month
SEO agency pricing models
SEO pricing falls into three rate systems:
- Monthly fee: $3,000 to $10,000 per month; ideal for ongoing SEO support, goal-setting, increasing organic web presence, and gaining visibility through optimized content marketing.
- Local SEO: $500 to $1,000 per month; best suited for local businesses focusing on building a regional presence and higher visibility for local search terms.
- Project-based: $5,000 to $30,000 flat rate; ideal for targeted SEO campaigns with clear deliverables, such as website audits and optimization, keyword research, content strategy, and content creation.
Attracting organic traffic is critical to building a sustainable web presence focused on building trust and brand awareness.
- Range: $1,000-$30,000
Marketing strategy pricing
Before a marketing agency rolls out any campaigns, they must dive into your business, offerings, and goals. Armed with this intel, they can strategize the best roadmap to success. This involves a deep-dive analysis of your audience, customer personas, and competitors.
Marketing strategy can be a one-time fee or an ongoing rate included in a monthly retainer as your agency tracks performance and makes adjustments along the way.
- Range: $3,000-$10,000
Ecommerce pricing models
Effective ecommerce marketing requires compelling ads and content that speaks to their audience’s biggest pain points.
Ecommerce companies should plan to invest around 11% of monthly revenue into marketing.
However, pricing depends on which channels you prioritize: PPC, SEO, SMM, or a combination of all three. For example, if PPC is on your radar, then you’ll likely receive a quote for a lower monthly retainer plus the percentage of ad spend.
- Range: $2,000-$12,000 per month
SaaS marketing costs
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is notoriously competitive, and brands need to pay to play if they want to rise above the competition.
SaaS marketing builds brand awareness and recognition to foster trust. You want to capture leads at every stage of the SaaS sales funnel, and that’ll cost you:
- Range: $5,000-$20,000 per month
CRO agency costs
Seeing lots of traffic but zero conversions? Sounds like you might benefit from a conversation rate optimization (CRO) agency.
You’ll encounter fixed-fee pricing models here, or a full-time equivalent (FTE) rate, which is calculated by the anticipated hourly workload.
- Range: $800-$10,000 per month
Social media agency pricing
Social media marketing encompasses several services, including social media management, content creation, paid social media, consulting, strategy, scheduling, and customer service engagement.
A brand will typically either hire an agency to fully manage all facets of social media marketing, or focus on content creation and engagement. You might also recruit a social media marketing agency for support with a specific influencer, Facebook Ads, or user-generated content campaigns.
- Range: $900-$20,000 per month
Influencer marketing pricing
Influencer marketing agencies partner your brand with aligned influencers to build brand awareness. They have a few pricing models, including flat rates, commissions, or flat rates plus commissions.
An influencer marketing agency’s pricing also varies depending on the size of each influencer’s audience.
Huge influencers with millions of followers will fetch upwards of $10,000 per post. Conversely, smaller micro-influencers are more accessible, costing around $100 per post.
Other factors that impact price include the specific type and number of marketing channels each influencer has.
- Range: $100-$10,000 per post, or $5,000-$250,000 per month.
Branding and graphic design pricing
Branding marketing agencies help you create an instantly identifiable brand with killer web design, branding assets, and design collateral while creating an enjoyable user experience. Think of Pepsi’s notorious logo rebrand.
Agencies charge per project, or hourly.
- Hourly range: $150-$300 per hour
- Per project: $7,000-$150,000 per project
Content marketing pricing ranges
Content marketing is a catch-all phrase describing the process of creating, and marketing content, and ranges between $2,000 to $30,000 per month paid via a monthly retainer.
You’ll want to invest in ROI-driving content, including video marketing campaigns, blogs to boost SEO and authority, and educational content.
So, how much does content marketing cost?
- Range: $2,000-$30,000 per month
Growth marketing pricing
Growth marketing agencies provide full-suite digital marketing services.
Agencies will factor out how many hours they’ll need to spend bringing your objectives to fruition and usually charge an hourly rate.
Since the range is so vast, it might be more strategic to focus on which aspects of your content marketing strategy are most important to your business objectives, then work out a budget based on the average price ranges for those services, such as SEO and PPC.
- Range: $3,000-$30,000 per month
Affiliate marketing pricing models and range
Affiliate marketing gives your brand a percentage of purchases made from affiliate partners. These could be influencers, blogs, comparison websites, and any other individual or business that promotes your business for a commission.
So it only makes sense that an affiliate marketing agency will also charge a percentage based on the revenue generated.
- Range: 5-30% of affiliate revenue
Link-building pricing models
Link building involves reaching out to high-quality websites and publications and asking them to link to your website or content.
The process is extremely laborious and time-consuming. And that’s why providers charge a package rate fee for a certain number of links. For instance, say you want 20 high-quality backlinks. They may charge anywhere from $50 to $1,500 per link, depending on the domain authority of the website providing the link.
- Range: $50-$1,500 per link
Email marketing pricing
Email marketing fosters relationships with your customers. And it also yields sizable returns—how does a $36 return for every dollar spent sound?
How much you invest will depend on the scope of work. For example, if you want to send multiple emails a week, you’ll invest more than a campaign that sends out two monthly emails.
You’ll also want to factor in costs for specific campaigns and sequences, like promotional emails for upcoming sales or welcome sequences, to guide new customers through your sales funnel.
- Range: $300-$1,500 per month
Digital PR average costs
Digital public relations agencies are marketing companies that exclusively manage your brand’s reputation and public perception.
And it costs a pretty penny. Pricing ultimately depends on the client’s needs, whether that be to establish hype through networking connections, or do damage control to rebuild compromised trust.
Each project is unique, but you’ll likely pay for specific deliverables.
- Range: $5,000-$100,000+ per month
Are there any other ingredients in the mix of marketing agency costs?
Factors that contribute to marketing agency pricing
While there are thousands of marketing companies, each specializing in unique services, there are different pricing factors that weigh in across the board.
Digital marketing strategies
As you can see from the pricing models listed in this guide, costs vary widely. This means that the digital marketing strategies your agency uses will directly impact their fees.
It’s easy to want to throw a ton of noodles at the wall and see what sticks, but an agency will help you isolate where to harness your efforts. Say you want to invest in lead generation on LinkedIn, but you’d also love to boost retention from existing customers.
Instead of spreading your budget thin by recruiting various professionals, an agency will formulate its digital marketing strategy based on these goals and also look for areas to make your investment go even further.
Demonstrated experience is an important factor that weighs into a marketing agency’s pricing strategy.
If you’re a SaaS brand, does the agency have relevant case studies showing sustainable growth and substantial ROI?
While you can certainly find affordable prices from freelancers and new agencies, they might lack the horsepower to tackle complex marketing efforts with cohesion and strategic thinking.
An established marketing agency will have in-house talent, tools, experience, software, and bandwidth to ensure your investment pays off with big gains.
Your marketing goals determine the strategies your online advertising agency uses to help you achieve those goals.
Ultimately, you want to reach your target audience, but you may also want to boost clicks from paid ads, increase sales, or see a specific amount of ROI for a large campaign.
Yadegar weighs in:
“A good agency will present budgeting, including their own agency costs and clearly show that the agency is self-financed based on the strategies they will execute,” says Yadegar. “The marketing agency pricing should pay for itself and then some.”
Remember when we mentioned how competitive SaaS is? The same goes for finance and technology industries that command higher marketing spend to see results.
The more niche your industry, the easier it may be for you to stand out, which means you won’t have to market as aggressively.
While a large company boasting hundreds of specialists may charge higher rates than a smaller team, company size isn’t the sole indicator of a marketing agency’s pricing structure.
“It’s less the size of the company, and more the goals the brand is trying to achieve,” says Yadegar. “Usually as goals get more aggressive and spend increases, marketing agency pricing should be a bit more accommodating by providing discounts at scale.”
Costs included in digital marketing agency pricing
“Typically, full service [marketing] covers PPC, SEO, and social to generate the best return,” says Yadegar.
Beyond the actual marketing campaigns, the agency fee will encompass costs like:
- Technology and software: Many marketing agencies use automation software and technology to strategize, data-mine, and monitor metrics. For example, HawkSEM’s clients gain access to our tech dashboard, ConversionIQ, which distills pertinent campaign data into actionable insights and shows you campaign progress.
- Employee salaries and costs: Agencies with employees have costs like salaries, benefits, and insurance. Even contracted specialists have fees, which all go into marketing agency pricing.
- Office expenses: Overhead like utilities, office supplies, rent, and operational software all accompany an agency fee.
- Service fees: These can include licensing, taxes, attorneys, and corporate fees.
While agencies have more fees than freelancers or in-house talent, they also have more capabilities, support, and expertise.
Why hire a marketing agency?
You can certainly keep your marketing in-house if you see success from your campaigns. But if you need to recruit strategists beyond the skillset or availability of your team, an agency can step in and pick up the slack.
The benefits? You gain access to a broad pool of experts who you don’t have to put on the payroll.
Say you partner with a digital marketing agency like HawkSEM. You instantly tap into the combined expertise of skilled SEO and PPC professionals with decades of expertise in generating results for brands like Honda and Verizon.
This frees up time in your busy schedule to focus on your product, team, and business operations.
What to look for in a marketing agency
Use this guide as a framework for reasonable marketing agency costs, but take it a step further by researching:
- Niche alignment: Does the agency have proven success in marketing for your niche?
- Growth potential: Is the agency capable of isolating strategic paths to success? Do they conduct thorough market analysis?
- Testimonials and case studies: Look for agency ratings on Clutch.io, and scour their case studies to crunch the data on real campaigns and success metrics.
- Communication preferences and smooth project management: The agency should make communication and progress tracking organized and efficient. Inquire about their process and ensure you have a communication style that works for you.
While marketing agency pricing runs the gamut, it’s essential to choose an agency that understands your needs and business goals.
You can easily pump thousands of dollars into marketing tactics that fall short on the results promised.
Instead, partner with a trusted agency that showcases impeccable results and industry know-how.
HawkSEM is a Google Premier Partner that harnesses data and strategy to unleash mega results for recognizable industry titans like Microsoft and Merill Lynch.
Ready to climb the ranks and ensure every dollar sowed is reaped 4.5x-fold? Get in touch today.