No business ever, in the entire history of pizza, has failed to have a set price for their goods.

Pizza? Let’s back up.

If you run a pizza shop, you have to charge your customers something for your ingredients.

There are multiple factors involved, like the size of the pizza you’re buying, the toppings, and your overhead costs.

Marketing agencies are no different. You have a slew of factors that contribute to your pricing strategy. But one thing is different: while it’s essential for pizza shops to put their pricing front and center, public pricing isn’t such a hot strategy for marketers or ad agencies.

In fact, secrecy may be better (at first).

If that sounds like a strange approach to take when you’re trying to win over clients, it is. But it might still be the right approach for your agency. Agencies have differing views on the topic, but there’s definitely a trend toward ditching listed rates. Let’s take a deeper dive into the subject and find out whether publishing your rates online is right for your business.

What Do Your Clients Want?

If someone is looking at your agency’s website, there’s a chance that they’re looking to hire you. Unfortunately, it’s only a chance. Visitors check out websites like yours for various reasons, including:

  • They’re trying to get a feel for what an agency like yours offers
  • They’re shopping around, trying to find the agency that best matches their specific needs
  • They’re competitors trying to size your agency up and compare your offerings to their own
  • They’ve decided to hire you and are about to make contact
  • They’re trying to gauge how much their marketing needs will cost

You’ll occasionally see visitors who have other reasons for visiting your site, but these are some of the big ones. Most of the reasons have to do with gathering information, and a lot of that information deals with the services your agency offers.

Even though cost does play a part in some visits, it’s far from the main reason that most visitors will wind up on your website.

Don’t Your Clients Need Rate Information?

Obviously, potential clients need to know how much your services cost before they hire you. Publishing rate information on your website is one way to accomplish this. But it may not be the best way, and depending on the sort of work your agency does, it may not even be a good way. Custom services and individual client needs can significantly affect how much things cost.

That price shift can be hard to showcase on a website, so a lot of agencies direct their rate inquiries to the sales team instead.

Why? One-on-one contact can help make connections that will eventually lead to a sale, and the sales team can also provide rate information that’s specifically tailored to the client’s needs. Studies have shown that 58% of potential customers want to talk about costs on the very first call, so this gives your sales team a strong conversation point.

Benefits of Publishing Agency Rates

Some agencies do publish their rates online, and there are some benefits to doing so.

Though the specific benefits may vary depending on how your agency runs, your target industries, regional location, and other agency-specific factors, here are a few reasons that you might want to publish:

  • Publishing rates gives potential clients an idea of what to expect in costs before making contact.
  • Published rates may help potential clients design a marketing wish list to fit their budgets.
  • Having rates published on your website may help some potential clients choose your agency instead of competitors who haven’t published their rates.
  • Publishing rates creates more transparency, which some clients appreciate.
  • Listing rates in a range of prices helps ensure that potential clients who contact you are aware of what your services may cost, avoiding sticker shock during the call.

Why to Avoid Publishing Rates

Even though there are some clear benefits to publishing rates on your agency’s website, many marketing agencies still don’t post their rates online. They have their reasons, including:

  • Publishing rates can turn off some potential clients, killing the sale before it ever reaches the sales department.
  • Published rates, even those within a range of prices, don’t accurately represent the cost of custom services and unique marketing campaigns.
  • Putting prices on your website can help competitors who are looking to undercut your rates.
  • Having your rates on your agency’s site makes it harder to sell clients on value instead of cost.
  • For many agencies, creating a rate list is difficult because each client’s needs are evaluated individually, and there is no “typical” client case.

Should Your Agency Publish Rate Information?

Determining whether or not to publish your agency’s rates on your website isn’t a straightforward decision. There are pros and cons to going public with your agency’s fees, and there is a definite trend away from publishing rates. But don’t let trends dictate your decisions.

Choose the option that best fits the way your agency actually does its business — and focus on serving your client. At the end of the day, if you’re providing a killer solution, it shouldn’t matter too much where and how you present your pricing.