The Real Cost of Advertising Online

A good friend of mine [he is also a independent internet marketing consultant] had a very interesting conversation this morning. Our talk was all about the real cost of website marketing and the big fees some Internet marketing firms charge for their services. Why do they charge so much and does that have a potential impact on the botique online firms and the independent marketing consultants? Moreover, what does that do to the businesses who become obligated to pay these hefty bills?

In the current turbulent economic climate, all sizes of businesses are going out of business in the thousands across the country. One would think that truth and justice would prevail in harsh times. Or some type of ethical honesty would arise from all sides of business to help one another through this harsh period. No, not in the online marketing industry or Capital Hill.

Much like the Truth In Lending Act ,  I believe too many companies are being charged way to much for online marketing services by Internet marketing firms. The idea that online marketing changed the way advertisers and marketers send their messages\brands to the masses has changed – this is now a fact and not a what-if scenario. The ability to market a company online should and did make the online channel very profitable and extremely cost effective for big and small businesses to play in. What these changes did not bring about is the legitimate and sane pricing for said services.

Sure, the argument can be made that there should be a balance or an array of prices for an array of services. Some companies may do a better job at pay per click advertising over another which specilaizes in search engine optimization. That is, in part, what makes for a capitalistic econemy and seperates one company from the next. I am all for that but I am not for sitting idle while companies continue to get royally taken for their budgets and bottom line.

What I’m driving at, put simply is this; exhorbant prices for services does not equal excellence. In many cases, there is no reason to charge $10,000 for search engine optimization per month. On the same token, small fees do not equal poor service or broken English represenitives. Our industry has not set standards for pricing models and this will be how the market will run for the foreseable future.

To illistrate my point,  online marketing company ‘Beauford Search’ [not a real search marketing company] charges the following pay per click management fees for AXT Dry Cleaning; $1,000 for campaign set-up, $100 for monthly reporting, and a !5% commission [mark up on the pay per click advertising budget. This is certainly service charge overkill.

Many Internet marketing firms are honest and offer excellent services for a fair price. All companies need to pay their staff, technology, commercial space, tools, and training all factor into what you are paying for in service fees.  As the Internet marketing industry continues to grow, so will the services offerings and the added service charges.

I wrote this post as a type of ‘buyer-be-ware’ to read the fine print when signing your next contract for pay per click, social media optimization, search engine optimization or any other online services. Not only should you read the fine print…you should do the math as well.