Retainers are an ongoing relationship of services and delivery of value for your clients. Sometimes called contracts, subscriptions, or ongoing projects. Traditionally, digital agencies created maintenance and hosting contracts for the clients and the websites that they were hosting for them. Now, there's a full range of options you can offer.
Winning new clients and delivering one-off, bespoke work for near strangers, then wiping your hands again is not only emotionally taxing but it is also really expensive. Agencies don't often get paid for pre-sales work ーunless they are bidding for a large piece of work or government contract ー and have to invest more in briefs and meetings to establish mutual understanding with new clients. Retainers offer less waste in the process of getting to dollars, and also a more constant stream of revenue with ongoing recurring billing (often without net invoice time either). Digital agencies can take the best practices of software products moving to a SaaS model.
Some initial projects lead better to ongoing work. You can also bundle your project with a 1-year retainer to make the offering more appealing.
Ongoing services you can charge for month over month:
If you implemented Hubspot, deliver Growth Driven Design Framework with iterative improvements to their Hubspot setup and campaigns.
If you created a website, offer ongoing maintenance, content improvements, incremental re-designs (rather than a big project later down the road).
Digital marketing. Posting, management, new content. Social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok. Search engine ads like Google and Bing (PPC). Generating content to improve your client's website (SEO).