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Reema Patel

Digital Growth Strategist

The long-term value of having a marketing retainer

You invested in a great new website, so now what?

We recently distributed a public survey to hear your views on how important and successful your website is for your business:

  • 40% said their website showcases everything they do (portfolio and information hub)
  • 20% said they only sell their service/product on their websites (sales and payments)
  • 20% said it collects and handles all their customer information (lead generation and database building)
  • 20% said all marketing efforts lead to the website (the centre of marketing comms)

This survey was taken from a variety of industries, with 60% of respondents stating they are currently happy with their website, whilst the remaining 40% believe their website requires work and could do more for them.

As one of the fastest growing digital agencies outside of London, we believe continuous improvement is a necessary. A website is evolutionary and requires maintenance.

We were pleased to see that a whopping 80% of businesses understand that it’s pretty much essential these days to have an ongoing support agreement with a web company and they already have this in place. Our client satisfaction from retainers is very high, and something we are proud of.

Here's why:

You have taken the steps to invest in a great website, so it makes sense to invest in the longevity of it by making sure it performs to its best ability in line with the server and platform it operates from and the browsers and devices it performs on.

As time and technology evolves, your website must keep up. If it is left alone, it will inevitably age and become out of date. Just like car or piece of software - the longer you refrain from maintaining your website, the more issues will arise and the more difficult and more expensive they will be to sort through.

Basic support and maintenance is a sensible investment. Whilst regular analysis, content throughput and enhancements are positive improvements for your customer's overall experience - with you.

Most web companies offer a warranty period, at Rawnet this is 30 days. This period is accountable for corrective bug fixes and tweaking snags across the website post launch which gives you a chance to test and provide an inventory for your website during its performance for you and your users, in real time.

Once that warranty period is over you are usually given the opportunity to enter a retained service agreement or continue on alone. You are of course welcome to contact the company should you require further support or assistance, however as a business your web company must quote and charge for their time to service additional requests.

What's more, the response times can be slower than you are used to. This is due to the high volumes of work which may be going through for a multitude of clients who are currently in the midst of their website build project and therefore understandably working to pre-planned timelines and deadlines (just as you once were).

It is important to remember that your website is hosted online, and therefore you don’t set the rules of engagement. With Google and their search algorithms and prioritisations being critical - if they advise you to do something, it is best practice to do so.

Key areas of service:

Support and maintenance

  • With a retained support agreement, you are guaranteed a set amount of pre-scheduled hours per month to work with - your web company can service your priority requirements with ease and/or recommend how this time is best spent to benefit your website.
  • Basic maintenance will usually include platform or security updates, display and bug fixes, browser and device compatibility testing, seo audits, compliance with new Google or web quality standards guidelines.
  • A monthly fee is a cost already budgeted for from the client's point of view and is a guaranteed forecasted revenue for the web company - this means it can be used easily for critical support or fast turnarounds without extra administration.

Faster response times

  • As there is an obvious mutual commitment to maintaining your website, you will be provided with a direct line of contact, regular communication and favourable response times.
  • A good web company recognises your investment in the online aspect of your business and wants to ensure you are making the most out of your website as well as ensuring the build is secure to make the ongoing maintenance tasks as efficient as possible.
  • The relationship ultimately strengthens over time as both get to know each other's day to day processes and objectives and can work in harmony.

Cost savings and flexibility

  • Both sides are committed to your website long term and you are offered a lower day rate compared to the standard day rate offered on a fixed rate project plus you are dealing with a contact who gets to know your business and your website inside out.
  • Some months your website will require more work than others - a retained agreement means the web company can deal with the fluctuations with ease by making use of leftover time from the previous month or using time in advance from the next month.
  • Ad hoc projects which are fixed price are not financially efficient for tasks which are under half a day's work as they would have to also contain a contingency for testing, management and administration of the task which adds extra time to the project.

Search engine optimisation

  • Site tracking and analysis can offer insight into your website's performance technically and from a user experience point of view which will trigger regular ideas to improve your site.
  • Benchmarking competitors and setting online KPIs may compliment your overall business reporting - if your website is an integral part of your business, the web company can be a crucial partner in reaching your wider objectives.
  • Keyword analysis, on-page SEO and paid PPC are time-consuming and ongoing elements of search engine optimisation work - this can be done more efficiently by your web company's SEO consultants who can also help you understand the process in less technical terms.

Fresh ideas from the experts

  • Having weekly contact with a dedicated manager who uses your website themselves means your web company contact can pro-actively offer more tailored and more efficient solutions for you.
  • As a valued retained client who see their web company as more of a partner than a supplier, you get easy access to advice and support from all sorts of specialists available at your web company.
  • You will inevitably pick up lots of free insight and stay up to date on new trends and relevant technology to keep you at the forefront of your industry.

Integrated marketing campaigns

  • Campaigns are not one-off tasks - they require planning which can be as little or as much as needed with various execution options available.
  • Not many companies have the skills and tools to spend time researching and coming up with ideas every month as the priority is doing your business.
  • Investing in your web company who do this type of work regularly means you get more effective and well thought out campaigns as well as meaningful reporting for your higher managers with feedback and recommendations you can use moving forwards.