“It’s only $10/month”
It seems cheap, right? But how many services or products do you have in your budget that seem to have a measly monthly fee? How do you allocate them in your business budget?
Often our clients come to us with their overall marketing budget or a project budget in hand. They have taken into account hard costs (hourly rates, development costs, one-time product fees, venue rentals, etc.), but they have left out some of the finer details that can eat up their budget pretty quickly.
Here are some of the most common fees our clients tend to overlook.
Just like renting an apartment, you need to rent your URL from a domain provider like GoDaddy or 1&1. This gives you an online address for your business or your campaign. More often than not, most of our clients have their main domain purchased before meeting with us; however, they tend to forget that their domain will go up for renewal OR there may be a need to purchase an additional domain for a specific campaign. Domain purchases for a year can be as cheap as $1 and run up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is important to be aware of what can affect these costs when building a new project so you don’t get sideswiped by high fees that chew your budget.
What can affect the cost of a domain?
- The domain reseller you purchase from – 1&1 and GoDaddy run several promotions to keep costs low for many domain names but keep an eye on the add-ons that may drive the price up.
- Purchasing from a third party – Someone has parked your ideal domain name? They are going to be the one in control of the cost of your domain. Be prepared to spend more.
- Commerciality – Is your ideal domain appealing and SEO optimized for a specific industry? Be prepared to pay more for it.
- Length of registration – If you can, ALWAYS purchase your domain for multiple years. This way you’ll tie yourself to a domain for the most affordable rate.
In my 12 years in this industry, the #1 cost that SME’s tend to forget about is hosting fees. That website you build needs to be hosted somewhere so your customers can find it. When we build a web quote we always provide anticipated long term hosting costs. We usually provide a third party solution, the ability to host on our servers and a hosting plus maintenance package.
When you’re making web plans for the business, make sure you account for the long term costs like hosting. You also need to make sure whoever you host with has an effective support system. Cheapest is not always best. If there is no way to get in touch with the host provider quickly OR if you do not have a maintenance package with the agency who built your site, what happens to your business when your site goes down? Make sure you factor in the budget to get the option that meets your needs.
What can affect the cost of hosting?
- Platform – Many e-commerce and DIY platforms’ monthly fees (i.e. Shopify) include web hosting. Other CMS platforms require you to host somewhere else.
- Security – Read reviews of the host platforms. If there is a running history of sites going down, viruses or hacks, they may not be the best provider to go with and you may end up spending more money and time to fix things.
- Size or demand of the website – Depending on the functionality of the website or the number of people visiting your website, you may need a larger hosting package. You may be able to start with the lowest hosting package but, as you grow, be ready for these costs to increase.
There are a number of free email marketing tools out there and for that we are grateful! For small businesses, this is a great way to start generating a list. However, as you grow, you need to anticipate that there is going to be some investment required.
- Data requirements: What kind of data are you able to retrieve? Programs like Mailchimp and Constant Contact’s basic packages provide some great basic information, but if you or your boss love more data, you’ll have to pay for that customization.
- Number of contacts – The more contacts you have, the more it’s going to cost to host the contacts and contact them. Most tools, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Hubspot have a per number of contact pricing method.
- Frequency of emails – Want to email people 5 times per week? That will be $25 additional per 2,500 contacts per email after the first 12 emails. Most email marketing programs include a certain number of emails you are allowed to send per month. Once you’ve hit the maximum, you’ll begin paying per email. Make sure you evaluate whether or not it’s worthwhile to upgrade your plan
- Automation – Some platforms will require you to upgrade your package for automation options. If you want to set it and (casually check in) forget it, you best be prepared to thank that platform for this solution, with payment.
- Individualized branding – If you don’t want to have the email platform’s brand at the bottom of the e-blast, you’re going to have to pay a bit more
- Creative and content – You buy into a platform but it doesn’t create the content for you or press send. Who is going to do this and how much are you going to spend to ensure that the time and money you spend on this project is effective AND CASL compliant.
I print business cards for four of my team members and my business card print budget per year is $5,000. Granted, we are preferential to a higher quality card and hand them out frequently, but we’re still not printing an absolutely premium product. This is a line item that is constantly underestimated by our clients. If you are encouraging your team to get out there and spread the brand name, you need to equip them with something and the business card is still extremely effective. Just be sure you aren’t surprising yourself in Q4 with how much you’ve spent on getting your name out there.
What can affect the cost?
- Black and white versus colour – Most print companies will vary their pricing based on whether or not you are printing in black and white or colour (Even the low budget options like VistaPrint and Moo will ask)
- Single versus double sided – Another standard question. If the printer only has to run one side, it takes them less time and ink, therefore less money. Personally, I recommend you have something on both sides. That way, no matter how your card is placed on a table, your brand is showing.
- Quality of paper – If you want thick, coloured stock with gold stamping, you’re going to have to increase your budget. It seems fairly straight forward, but we’ve repeatedly had to have the conversation with clients that if you want the ‘pretty stock’ it’s going to be more expensive.
- Urgency – Need those cards tomorrow? Don’t forget about shipping fees and rush fees. If you want to avoid shipping fees and you live in Toronto, check in with The Printing House, they are usually pretty good at a low run, short turnaround you can walk over and pick up.
- Number of cards needed – If possible, always buy in bulk. A contributing cost of the good is the time it takes to set up your design to print it. If you print a larger run the cost per card ultimately goes down and the setup time does not change.
Last but not least, purchase annually or in bulk where you can.
You will ALWAYS save money in the long term if you purchase in bulk or annually. If you are cost conscious, this is one of the easiest ways to save some money long term. It may dent the budget today, but you’ll benefit in the long run.