15 Jul Pricing, Process, and Products
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
What exactly do you do? How much do you charge? What’s your niche?
When we meet new people, these are typically the first questions we hear, often in rapid succession. While we’re always ready to give our “elevator pitch” on a moment’s notice, the reality is that these questions are nuanced. We wanted to use this blog post to address them in more detail, and we hope you’ll enjoy learning more about what we offer, what we charge, and what it’s like to work with us!
What We Do
Our overarching goal is to help clients tell their unique stories through thoughtful marketing strategy and cohesive, polished communication materials. This goal, and our dedication to top-notch work, never change – but the way that we explain “what we do” changes almost on a person-to-person basis.
“We specialize in content creation.”
“We’re a marketing and communications agency.”
“Design and writing.”
“Stuff like websites, social media, brochures.”
“We’re creative consultants.”
Honestly, all of those answers are so broad – and to us, even worse, none of them really answer the question.
When asked what each of our roles are, we generally tell people that I, Emma, am the Design Strategist, while Heather is the Copywriter – but that’s also an oversimplification, as we each have complementary skill sets that go beyond those titles. While I’m experienced in the creative design aspect of marketing and Heather specializes in crafting communicative messages, we’re more than “just” a design and writing service. We’re millennials and have been fortunate enough to learn the ins and outs of social media marketing firsthand as “early adopters” as well as intentionally through training and experience. We’ve taught ourselves over the years to build streamlined, functional websites. During the course of our work, we’ve learned how to communicate with, coach, and train everyone from entry-level employees to c-suite executives on a variety of modern marketing techniques. Through these experiences and countless others, we’ve learned how to craft our messaging for different, unique audiences – and now, we work with everyone from solopreneurs and freelancers to Fortune 100 companies.
So you see, professionally, we’re a lot of things.
We don’t specialize in just social media or website design or marketing strategy. We have spent years forming professional relationships with these types of specialists. Often times, if a project calls for it, we outsource specific tasks or defer to those specialists. And we love doing so. Getting detailed, technical guidance from someone who knows a specific field inside and out; helping our peers succeed; and getting the chance to collaborate is one of the most rewarding parts of our job.
We see the bigger picture.
At the end of the day, we are two very intuitive, curious entrepreneurs with a knack for marketing and a genuine interest in our clients. We are always eager to learn more, we ask a lot of questions, and we’re always taking notes. (No, seriously, a.l.w.a.y.s. taking notes). It is very apt to compare us to Hermione Granger (especially if you’ve ever seen either of us with our curly hair when it’s humid out). We’re both enamored with human relationships and the “whys” behind the choices people make. As borderline perfectionists, it’s not easy to admit we’re not actually perfect and we don’t have all the answers – but it’s a safe bet that we will find them!
If we had to choose a category for our business (which we often do when listing ourselves in directories or filling out forms) we tend to go for the “Marketing and Communications” or “Advertising/Marketing” category. But honestly, how broad is that?
We don’t sell for you, we don’t track sales funnels, and we’re not professionals in Google Analytics. We do those things internally, we know how to do them, and we’re often learning about all of the above (and more!) in our free time, but that’s not our primary role with our clients.
Instead, we hold brainstorming sessions with our clients. We try to learn as much as possible about their passions and their goals. We often ask questions that push the boundaries. We want to get our clients out of their comfort zones to evaluate what’s really missing in their marketing efforts, and what the next best steps forward are.
We get to the bottom of what’s working, what’s a waste of time and money, who are you trying to talk to, and WHY?
This is where the process really begins. Who is your audience, and how can we help you engage with them? What is your company’s unique story or offering, and how can we best showcase it to your target market? What does that sound like, what does it look like, how does it read, how is it spoken?
This looks like everything from how you post on social media, to the colors and fonts on your website. It can look like a printed handout or a thoughtfully-chosen swag giveaway. It might include organizing an internal training session for your team. It could be a one-time brainstorming session, or it might mean a long-term relationship with monthly services. No two projects or clients are the same, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
If the technology era has taught us anything, it’s that our work – and the work of our clients – is ever-evolving.
If you come to us with a simple, straightforward need (i.e. you “just” want a basic website, you need a flyer to hand out at an event, or you could use some help with your e-newsletter), we’re absolutely there for you! But, don’t be surprised if, along the way, we start asking you why you want this deliverable, what you’re hoping to accomplish, and where you want your business to be a year (or three, or five) from now.
That’s who we are. That’s what we do.
While the exact process can shift depending on the client’s needs, here’s what it generally looks like:
- A prospective client comes to us through word of mouth/referral, a Facebook group that we participate in, a networking event, or an online search. We send them our information and website so they can get a sense of who we are and what we do.
- Prospective clients can sign up for a free 30-minute phone consultation to talk through their needs in more detail. We welcome their complaints, hardships, and frustrations! We’ll usually have some questions for them, and in the end, the call sometimes goes similarly to a therapy session. And that’s absolutely okay! At the end of the call, we assure the client that we’ll get back to them (generally within a week) with a game plan.
- Internally, we discuss a path forward. We explore what we can do to alleviate the client’s stresses and how we can best fulfill their needs.
- Then, we return with a proposal and contract. While we’re equipped to do most client work in-house, sometimes there are tasks we outsource because honestly, there are better, more specialized people for those roles, and we have existing relationships with them. We find that our clients love having just one point of contact (that’s us!) to fill a variety of needs and specialized tasks.
- We discuss the proposal and contract with the client, make necessary revisions, sign the document, and get to work!
Throughout this process, we are always on time; we always listen carefully to our clients’ ideas, concerns, and goals; and we always put our genuine best effort into our work. We value our time and our clients’ time, and we respect “normal” business hours.
How much do you charge for X? What are your rates? Can I see a pricing sheet?
Since no two projects have ever been the same, nor do we think they should ever be the same, pricing is a tricky question to answer on the fly. That’s one of the reasons why we provide a free 30-minute phone consultation and a customized proposal and contract for each and every client. We want folks to be completely comfortable knowing exactly what deliverables they’ll receive, how much the work will cost, and when payment will be due. We encourage clients to ask questions and to share their budget restrictions or concerns so that we can work within them.
We certainly can (and do!) provide ranges for what we’ve charged in the past for similar work. We can also toss out an hourly rate (which can vary depending on the type of work) – but we’re always thinking of ways to benefit your project and help your business grow. Even when we “clock out” at the end of the day, our brains are often still working. As much as we strive for work-life balance, we genuinely care about our clients – which means that it’s very likely we’ll be thinking about your project while we walk the dog, while we watch TV, or even while we’re out with friends. This also means you’re getting a pretty solid bang for your buck. It’s not uncommon for us to send emails to our clients with tips, opportunities, or ideas we picked up while networking or attending training sessions – and this type of guidance usually isn’t in our contract and isn’t something we charge for.
We price our projects fairly by benchmarking ourselves against our peers in the industry. We’ve also been working together long enough to anticipate the time your project will take and the costs that may arise during the process.
At the end of the day, our product, our process, and our pricing are all crafted with the goal of serving our clients with integrity, honesty, efficiency, hard work, and a little bit of fun.
Let’s be honest. We have a lot of fun.
More than anything, we want to see our clients succeed and thrive, because that’s what fulfills us as creative consultants.