How to Work With PR Clients Who Have Low Budgets

Jul 27, 2020

Are you wondering whether or not you should work with low-budget PR clients? You know that you add tremendous value and do amazing work for clients. But for some reason, you’re only attracting low-budget clients.

Sometimes it can actually be beneficial to you and your clients when you work with low-budget clients. Here are some strategies that you can use when taking on low-budget clients. It’s possible to structure these opportunities so you can make the most of it! 

Why You Don’t Want To Take On Low Paying Clients

When people first start out offering PR services, they sometimes don’t realize the value they offer. This could mean that you end up pricing yourself too low, which attracts low-budget PR clients. 

Something I’ve learned in the last 15 years of running my own agency is that low-budget PR clients always end up being the hardest people to work with.

They are the ones who won’t leave you alone to do your work. They continually ask questions and want to be on top of everything you do. 

But sometimes you can make an exception to work with low-budget clients! It’s not always a bad idea.

Consider PR Clients In Your Niche

When you first start out offering services, it’s important to become an expert in a specific niche. You can niche down on (a) WHO you serve and (b) HOW you serve. This is how you begin to establish yourself as the go-to expert in a specific field.

If a low-paying client is in the niche you want to specialize in, you may want to consider adjusting your prices so that you can work within their budget. 

Another reason you may want to work with a low-budget PR client is if they are a brand you’re really passionate about. You may see the potential to grow their business with your help and support. And if you work with them, the bonus is that you’ll be a part of that growth. 

My First Client

I offered my first paid client a low retainer because I knew there was a lot I could do to help them. I wanted to be aligned with their growth and positioned it like we were going to grow over time. 

This was a baby and kids brand. Their products were amazing, but they weren’t getting any exposure. Their website was junky looking and their collection of products was all over the place. 

I knew that if we refined everything, positioned them as a luxury brand, and aligned them with celebrities and influencers — we would hit a home run. 

And the brand exploded after we did that! 

It’s one of the ways we established ourselves as the go-to agency with baby and kids brands. After this first big success, other brands started to seek us out.

Make Your Decision Wisely

When you’re deciding whether or not to work with a low-budget client ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it in the niche you ultimately want to work in?
  • Is it a brand you're really passionate about? 
  • Do you feel there’s a lot there and you can help them grow?
  • Do you see that you could be a part of their story of growth?
  • Is this a stepping stone to something bigger?

Answering “yes” to those questions means that it might be a good idea to work with those PR clients, even if they have a low budget! 

It could be a stepping stone into a niche you want to specialize in where you don't already have some experience. 

You can use the results you get to help you get bigger clients with bigger retainers in your niche. 

Offer A Limited Time And Scope Of Work

Never decide to work with a low-budget client because you’re desperate for money. You will regret it and become resentful.  

Instead, if there’s no opportunity to grow with the client or no milestones you can meet in order to step up to the next tier of pricing, then you can say you’ll work for only a certain period of time. 

You could offer your services for 3 months and then reevaluate. Let the client know exactly what they’re going to get in that time period. Let them know they’re getting limited time and services.

How to Limit Your Services

Maybe you're not working on influencers or print media, just digital. Or maybe you're just focused on a launch or something else project-based that is limited in time and scope. 

Set the expectations upfront so they know that this is not going to catapult their business. When it’s limited time and services, you are working to generate some momentum. They’ll start seeing results in the time period you’ve set. When this happens, you then have the opportunity to explain what the next tier in your pricing would be and how you would add more services that would get even more results. 

When you have clients who don’t want to invest the money to work with you, then they’re not personally invested in the results you’re getting for them. They end up frustrating you.

Related: 7 Unique PR Goals That Will Get Results for Your Clients

Ask For A Testimonial

At what point do you ask your client for a testimonial

I always ask after we've achieved results. I usually ask after we've done something really incredible and we've totally crushed it. This is when the client’s sentiment is high and they’re really happy. 

We use those testimonials as part of a case study. 

The testimony should explain what your approach was and what results you got for them. Always put in any stats that happened as well. Stats make it more tangible. 

Instead of feeling stuck with PR clients who have low budgets, make your offer more strategic. 

You don’t have to take clients just because you are feeling desperate for work and experience. You can be more flexible with low budget clients and work with them when you have made good calculated decisions. You want your work to be a benefit for you AND your PR clients.