How to Negotiate an Online Marketing Contract (1,033 words)
This is where the true negotiation begins. Almost any service provider will negotiate pricing points given the right incentive. There are several ways to set pricing for the services you will be receiving. You may be in the driver's seat, but be sensitive to the fact that your chosen service provider is experienced and knowledgeable. Your provider might very well even be your closest ally.
You need to investigate the pricing models commonly used within your industry and work from there. This information will save you time when negotiating and allow you to be confident in your final agreement. Because the models are so different, they are difficult to compare. You might want to try breaking the pricing into a common denominator so you can compare apples to apples.
Most service providers have a start-up fee. Take a close look at the fee asked and decide if it is a reasonable amount to pay for the network of services you will be joining. Many service providers' programs are an all-inclusive solution where for a single fee, you get an entire online marketing program. Others will let you choose your marketing on an "à la carte" basis—paying for new programs and services as you ask for them. Some will offer only limited solutions that focus on single areas of interest, such as e-mail or search engines.
Many vendors have service and maintenance fees or monthly minimums. You will need to pay the fees to stay with your chosen provider. These fees are always negotiable. For instance, if you want lower pricing from your service provider, you will most likely pay a higher start-up fee and/or monthly minimum. When analyzing the fee and monthly minimum structure, ask yourself one key question: "Does this meet my ROI goals for online marketing?" In other words, will you be getting a return on your marketing dollars that supports your business?