Website Project Budgets: Should You Tell Your Agency?

You’re a marketing manager or a VP of marketing and you’re in charge of creating a new website for your company–or a mobile application, or maybe a social campaign.

The first thing to do is find someone to do the work. In a recent blog post, Raka shared first steps to picking a digital agency. But after you’ve narrowed the field, there’s one key piece of information you should share with your new digital partner.

What is your website project budget?

This may seem counterintuitive. You wouldn’t walk into a car dealership and say, “I have $35,000. What can I get?” You’d feel like you’d lose your leverage in negotiating the deal, right? Of course.

But costs for digital projects like website design and development are not cut and dry. There probably is not an off-the-shelf product to suit your needs. Your digital agency likely will create a custom solution that uniquely helps your company meet certain marketing, sales or branding challenges.

When you’re planning a digital project for your company or determining your website project budget, the process is more involved than simply negotiating the purchase of a product. You’re partnering with another company to produce a tool that is going to help make your company make money.

One of the first questions we ask our prospects and clients is, “What’s your budget?”

Having a clear understanding of a client’s budget does a few important things to make everyone’s life easier.

1. Knowing your website project budget sets realistic expectations

Many agencies have a minimum dollar amount for any project. This figure is based on what the agency has determined is a price point that will cover overhead, make a profit, and make sure the agency is a good match for a client’s budget.

It’s perfectly legitimate for you to ask what an agency’s services normally cost. This sets expectations and helps determine if your company and an agency are compatible. However, there are many factors that affect costs. It’s important that you not eliminate an agency from the running based solely on what their average range of costs are until you’ve discussed your goals for the project.

You may find that a good digital agency can come up with a solution to your marketing challenge that both fits within your budget and also makes financial sense for them to take on the project.

2. Sharing your budget lets your agency provide creative solutions

As a client, you may have a particular solution in mind that you feel will meet your business challenge. But after talking through the goals of the project, you may find your agency has a better idea that will be cheaper to implement or provide more value for your company in the long run.

Or, your agency may consider other elements that you may not, such as integrating social media, feeding leads to your email marketing database, or optimizing your existing website for mobile phones and tablets.

If you have a few goals in mind, your agency may be able to make better use of your website project budget if they know what they’re working with, rather than simply carrying out the scope you’ve predetermined.

3. Sharing your website project budget sets a tone of honesty and trust

Any agency’s success depends on their reputation and the quality of their work. Good agencies will under-promise and over-deliver. Honest discussion of costs, budgets, deadlines, capabilities and project management process are going to help establish trust and set a tone of honest communication for the project.

This type of trusting working relationship is in the best interest of both the client and the agency as it helps to produce the best solutions, and also helps both parties work through any challenges that come up later.

Remember, an agency is a temporary member of your company — they’re a partner in the truest sense of the word, and you should give them benefit of the doubt that they won’t overcharge you just because you tell them what you have to spend. Want to discuss your budget for your next marketing project? Raka can help.

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