If you’re new to the communications scene or have been perusing our website wondering what a retainer partnership actually looks like, we understand—there are a lot of unknowns, especially because signing that contract is an act of trust. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be blind trust, which is why we’ve assembled this list of the most common FAQs about how retainers work, along with answers and resources to help clarify them.


How do Anna Montgomery & Co retainers work?

The first question is a big one.

Regardless of whether you are partnering with us for a communications or marketing retainer, the process is pretty similar—We’ll start with a discovery meeting where we learn all about you, your values, mission, and business goals. From there, we’ll talk about your needs, using both your insight into your field and our expertise in communications. This conversation serves as the basis for the retainer itself. If you need communications help and want to start by focusing on a particular project, we’ll plan on a set amount of monthly hours for that project, which you can add to as necessary. If that project gets wrapped up quickly or becomes less of a priority, we can focus on another project with those monthly hours. Similarly, if you need a marketing retainer, we’ll plan for ongoing support for your desired social media channels, but we can adapt as necessary and use those hours for other marketing projects. 


How soon will I see the results?

This is a fair question—If you’re investing your time and money, you want to see a payoff. That said, our goal is long-term success instead of short-term recognition, so the key to the greatest return on investment is building a strong foundation. If you already have established trust with your target audience, your retainer partnership will focus on strengthening that relationship.

Retainers also take time to find the best approach—rather than just a good approach. We want to find that sweet spot as efficiently as possible, and while you should see an impact within the first few months, the full extent of it may not be felt until four to six months later.

You can think of it like forming a new habit. Research shows that doing so can be challenging, but it’s built on establishing new, recognizable routines. For a retainer to be effective, your audience will have to recognize that you are creating a pattern of behavior so that they can trust you. This trust takes time, but with our strategic help, we can get you there.


How do you measure the results of your marketing efforts?

This really builds on the last question. It depends on the type of project we’re doing, but our focus is on trust—quality—as well as scale—quantity. For platforms with measurable analytics (social media, SEO, email, etc.), we’re constantly tracking the data to see what’s working and what’s not connecting. We make a point of being responsive to the trends and identifying ways for each post or email to be more effective than the one before it.


How retainers work: what about retainer contract lengths?

For marketing retainers, which may have a clear beginning and end, we offer three-month, six-month, or 12-month retainers, depending on your needs.

For communications, we set the minimum at three months, which allows time for the retainer to make an impact, but it also offers flexibility for you if you want to renew it or change it. That said, we find that many of our clients prefer to have an ongoing retainer, which creates more of a partnership dynamic and gives both of us more room to work.

Because we’re focused on flexibility and supporting your needs, you are also free to upgrade your retainer at any point.

What social media platforms do you handle?

Currently, we manage social media for clients on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and NextDoor. However, if you use a social platform other than these or want to explore new options, we would love to apply our marketing skills and passion for authentic community on another platform, too.

With our retainers, we typically create content for two different platforms because each form of social media attracts slightly different audiences. When you start your retainer, you’ll choose which two platforms you’d like help with. If you decide you want additional support, let us know, and we can add that in the retainer contract.

How would I know who is working on my project?

We use a tool called Basecamp to keep you and our team connected and on the same page at all times.

At the beginning of a new project, we’ll create a plan for the project and outline the project tasks in Basecamp. Throughout the project, we’ll be communicating with you about details and asking questions exclusively through Basecamp. This allows for us to have a faster turnaround time and communicate more directly. You’ll always be able to see where we are on a project and what the next action item is. 

Basecamp is also a great way to get to know the people working on your project. Depending on your needs, we’ll assign team members that are best equipped to support you. This ensures you get the best people for the job, and it empowers our team to lean into their strengths. You’ll always have one primary “point person,” but you’ll likely be interacting with several team members.

Okay, I think I’m interested, but can I see some prior examples?

Of course. Here are a few retainers that we’re really proud of. Even though each partnership looks different, the one thing they have in common is the goal of building trust with your audience. If any of these look like the kind of help you want, or they inspire more questions, reach out to us. Hopefully, we’ve cleared up how retainers work. Whether you need help with your social media presence or want extra support for a communications project, we’re ready to partner with you!