By: Patrick Sauriol Apr 5/2023

In today’s digital age, businesses must have a strong online presence to compete effectively in their respective markets. Digital marketing is an essential part of any business’s marketing strategy, and many businesses turn to digital marketing agencies to help them achieve their marketing goals. That said, if you have ever investigated retaining the services of a digital marketing agency you likely have heard of the phrase “retaining fee”.

So, what are the benefits of having a digital marketing agency on retainer? Why would a business agree to paying a monthly charge for these services, instead of a once-and-done charge? These are great questions to ask and think about if you are in the market to grow your company using a digital savvy partner.

Agency Retainers: What Are They?

When working with a digital marketing agency, businesses have several payment options, including hourly rates, project-based fees, and monthly retainers. While each payment option has its advantages, a monthly retainer fee offers several benefits that make it an attractive option for businesses.

A monthly retainer fee is an agreement between a business and a digital marketing agency to provide ongoing digital marketing services for a set fee each month. The retainer fee can cover a range of services, including SEO, social media marketing, paid search advertising, content marketing, and email marketing. This is likely the top reason why any company would benefit from a retainer fee: you get a fixed amount of hours each month, for expert level help in a variety of skills. For example, if you need more help with SEO one month, the retaining hours goes towards that.

Besides the flexibility aspect, here are other reasons why a company should pay a monthly retainer for a digital marketing agency. See how many of these points are thoughts that you have considered in your decision making process.

A colorful clock keeping track of time for a digital marketing agency retainer fee


One of the main advantages of a monthly retainer fee is consistency. When working on a project basis or hourly rate, businesses may not receive consistent services from the digital marketing agency. In contrast, a monthly retainer ensures that the agency provides a predictable flow of services that align with the business’s marketing goals.

If your business needs help with something right now, and it can’t wait until next week, then that retaining fee pays off. I’ve had calls with companies where their website has gone offline, and they are starting to bleed revenue from lost sales. If they aren’t on a retainer, their needs will have to be served after our commitment to the agency’s clients that have retainers.

In short, a retaining fee guarantees that you get front of the line service.

Additionally, the digital marketing agency can develop a long-term strategy and execute it consistently over a set period, such as a month. The business can rely on regular reporting, analysis, and optimization of campaigns to ensure maximum ROI.

Snaptech does this for several clients, with each one receiving a monthly report and check-in call from our team


Monthly retainers can be more cost-effective than paying for individual projects or services. More and more businesses are realizing that digital marketing should be an on-going activity, including making new webpages for their website.

When working on a per-project basis, a business may end up paying more for services that could have been included in a monthly retainer fee. Having a monthly retainer fee allows businesses to negotiate a fair and cost-effective monthly rate, and they can adjust the services as necessary.

For example, if a business needs additional services for a short period of time, they can negotiate with the agency to add them to the retainer. This flexibility ensures that the business gets the services they need while staying within their budget.


When working with a digital marketing agency on a retainer, businesses gain access to a team of experts who are knowledgeable in different areas of digital marketing. Think of it as having your own team of marketing experts who have knowledge of the in’s and out’s of your industry already. They can help build up your strengths, fix weaknesses, prepare for critical times of your year, and anticipate trends to help you gain new marketshare. These experts can provide valuable insights and guidance to help the business achieve its marketing goals.

Professional sports teams have their own expert support staff helping ensure that the team’s players are performing at their optimum capabilities. Having a digital agency on retainer is like having nutrition, physio, rehabilitation, performance and analysis experts

Going back to tangible business examples, an SEO expert can help improve the business’s website’s search engine ranking, while a social media expert can help grow the business’s social media following. The agency can assign the right experts to the appropriate tasks, ensuring that the business receives the best possible service.

Strategic Planning

A monthly retainer fee allows the digital marketing agency to plan and execute a long-term strategy for the business’s digital marketing efforts. This strategy can include regular reporting, analysis, and optimization of campaigns to ensure maximum ROI.

You get a think tank of experts to spend time on growing your business. Every month they look at the work performed and evaluate it, inform you, and discuss the next steps. That sounds like a pretty good asset for any business with growth plans in mind.

The agency develops the roadmap that outlines the steps needed to achieve the business’s marketing goals, leaving the business owner or higher management more time to ensure the smooth operation of the business. The roadmap can include specific objectives, timelines, and milestones, ensuring that the business stays on track and achieves its marketing goals. The agency personnel do the work and check in with their client, typically monthly.

For companies that can’t afford to hire high-level team members, or whose existing high-level employees are already busy with other responsibilities, the agency-client relationship offers a very lucrative advantage.


Even though I started this post off by mentioning the flexibility of a retainer, I want to go back to the idea and drill deeper into why this benefit is so great.

A monthly retainer fee offers businesses flexibility in terms of services and budget. If a business needs additional services, they can negotiate with the agency to add them to the retainer. So far, so good; if a business needs to adjust the level of services they receive, they can negotiate with the agency to make the necessary changes. Add a few extra hours for a couple of months, then reduce the number of hours back to what it was before.

Flexibility ensures that businesses receive the services they need while staying within their budget. It protects against scope creep and losing valuable time to learning new tasks that may be unfamiliar to the company’s workers. It also allows businesses to adapt to changing marketing conditions, such as the introduction of new marketing channels or changes in consumer behavior.

Flexibility in the retainer model gives companies the ability to pivot faster to opportunities, complications, and reduce loss of revenue potential.

Yes, a Monthly Retainer is a Great Idea to Act On

If you want someone to own the work and get results, committing to a monthly retainer with a digital marketing service provider is the way to go. The budget fee is manageable for different sized businesses, and it allows for times when more work in needed. Your existing team’s valuable work hours won’t be chewed up. Goals can be set and sailed towards. There’s a lot of great points to consider.

If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency to help your business, give Snaptech a shot. We’ll listen to your needs and work within your budget restrictions to come up with a proposal that makes sense for you. Tell us a bit about your needs and start the conversation.