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Digital Retainers - Should I have one?

by Adam Harding | 20th September 2017 Website Maintenance


Choosing whether to go onto a retainer or not can be a big step. Let's break down what a retainer actually is, what you receive as part of a retainer and the pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Digital Retainer - What's that?

A retainer is an agreed number of hours per month between a client and their digital agency which the agency will spend carrying out work / updates on a website or other digital work at a fixed monthly fee.

A Diligence retainer is flexible and contract free, we work to your budget to ensure you are receiving as much as possible for your money.


So why would you need a retainer?

A retainer can be an essential part of your company's growth, let's have a look at some of the work which an agency should be able to assist you on:

  • Design and Print Works - a retainer covers all digital works relating to your company. Perhaps you have a special event you require advertising for, you are able to use your retainer time to get special designs and prints such as banners, posters, adverts and much more.
  • Website Updates - any updates you require for your website including content, design and extra functionality.
  • SEO / User Experience Monitoring - SEO plans, reports, solutions and modifications as well as user experience monitoring to ensure your customers are enjoying their journey around your website and your website is being found.
  • Daily Site Backups - ensuring your website is backed up!
  • Domain name Monitoring and SSL Renewal monitoring - taking the worry out of your renewals!
  • Page Speed Monitoring - there's nothing like a client dropping off your website because they can't load a page, some companies provide site speed monitoring as part of a retainer.
  • Critical Software Patches - ensuring all critical updates are handled swiftly and reliably.
  • Support - a team available for support when needed whether it's over the phone, email or via a support ticket system.
  • Constant Website Monitoring - if there is a problem with the website or it goes down, the agency should be the first to know so constant monitoring is essential.
  • SLA - Out of hours support and access to a Support Ticket System and area to help with your management and efficiency getting the work to the agency
  • Monthly Site Scans - ensuring there are no broken links or fixes which are required
Some companies will include maintenance support within their time, essentially if you've got something digital which needs doing, it can be done on a retainer!

So what are the pros and cons?
There are pros and cons to everything, so let's walk through what's really happening on a retainer;

The Pros

It's Cheaper!
You hear companies say it but it really is true! This is perhaps one of the biggest pros we find about having a retainer. You will receive greater value for your money and cheaper rates.

It Saves Time!
The time you will save having a digital partner is well worth it if you do not have someone in your company who directly deals with your websites needs. A retained agency works like an extension of your team saving you time by taking these updates off your hands and ensuring they are done. A retainer will also prioritise your work and ensure it is dealt with promptly so there is no need to wait for an agency to schedule the work for you. If it needs doing, consider it done!

Part of your Team!
In order to create a successful relationship it is important that the agency knows your business, it's goals, USP and audience. Your agencies knowledge will make reaching your goals that much easier. Changes and updates to your website will be made smoother as the agency will understand the requirements and your end goal. This can only be achieved by building a long term relationship with a reliable partner.

No Quoting!
Quoting for individual projects and ensuring costs are signed off by management in order to get completed can be time consuming and a lot of effort! On a retainer there is no need to quote for the work you need doing. The agency will simply provide an estimate of the time required and you can prioritise the work as you see fit.


The cons

What if I have time left at the end of the month?
You may find there are months where you just don't have enough work to give the agency to do therefore losing the hours on your retainer causing money to be wasted.

So what do Diligence do to avoid this?
We understand that your company's time and money is precious, therefore we provide work reports every month as well as communication throughout the month to ensure you are aware of where we are with your hours. We will notify you if it is looking like you will have hours spare at the end of the month. We offer solutions to use this time such as SEO work, analytics, reports and general updates to your user experience and customer journey. However, this is all optional.. if you find you do not want any extra work done we are happy to move the hours to the following month as per an agreement. Obviously we are unable to move over the hours every month but we do everything we can to ensure you do not lose your time and therefore money.

How do you track your time?
Due to the work being done out of the office, you may find you are struggling to keep track of what the agency are doing and ensuring you are getting the hours spent in a proactive, efficient way.

So what do Diligence do to avoid this?
Diligence has a very clear Mission Statement, we feel one of the most important steps on there is 'Transparency'. We understand it is vital that you are aware of what is being done for your money therefore we ensure your time is tracked and reports are received on request which itemises your time and updates. We have an in-house Project Management system where tasks can be timed allowing us to be as accurate and efficient as with your time as possible.

We hope you have found this information useful, if you would like any more advice or information on retainers please feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to advise.


 

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