What Is a Rate Card, and Should You Have One for Your Business?

Rate cards play a vital role for publishers and influencers looking to buy or sell ad space. But what exactly is a rate card, and how can it highlight your strengths and help you get more advertisers? 

Learn how rate cards help you advertise your ad inventory and enable you to work with brands your readers and followers will love.

Key Takeaways

  • A rate card is an advertising term describing a graphic that states your advertising rates for your website, blog, or social media accounts.
  • You can add a lower-priced tier on a rate card that doesn’t guarantee satisfactory placement to attract advertisers with a variety of budgets.
  • Rate cards are largely associated with the digital marketing field but have been around since print was the most popular advertising format.
  • Influencers and publishers use rate cards to state what they offer in terms of ad inventory and how much it’ll cost a prospective client.
  • Rate cards commonly include contact information, demographics, a publisher’s ad inventory and ad units, prices, and preferred payment methods.
what is a rate card

What Does a Rate Card Mean?

A rate card (or rate sheet) is an advertising term describing a document that states how much you charge for brands to advertise on your site or social media accounts. It’s where you explain your ad inventory and how much a brand would need to pay to advertise on each platform.

This could include ad space on your website, as well as social media posts, blog posts, videos, and even classified ads. It might even highlight how much you’d charge to appear at live events or on podcasts. It’s an easy way to communicate prices to brands that want to publish their ads on a social media channel, website, or newspaper. You can also include demographics to ensure the advertiser’s desired audience is a fit.

However, a rate card can also simply refer to what you charge for your services, like photography, web design, marketing, writing, and more. These types of rate cards are often called customer rate cards.

Where Do You Display Rate Cards?

A rate card is usually digital and displayed on your website or blog, but it can also be a physical paper that you hand out at business meetings.

While the advertising term is largely associated with the digital marketing field, it’s been used since print publications were prominent. Back then, if you wanted to publish an ad on a specific newspaper page, you asked about its rate card.

Who Uses Rate Cards?

Other than publishers, website owners, and bloggers, influencers are among the most common rate card holders. They use the cards to display ad inventory prices for publishing ads on their social media accounts as well as in preparation for branding campaigns.

While not all influencers have rate cards, they are helpful in reducing or eliminating emails and phone calls from those who aren’t willing to pay your set rates. When you put your pricing on your rate card, you can state it’s not up for negotiation, weeding out those who might’ve otherwise wasted your time.

Rate cards are a time-saving way of stating a publisher’s ad inventory and how much it’ll cost a prospective client. They’re a smart tool for any publisher or influencer looking to get into branding campaigns.

What Should You Put on a Rate Card?

rate cards

Now that you know what a rate card is, let’s look at what it should include. While you should customize your rate card to your specific needs, here’s a look at the most common information you’ll want to include:

1. Contact Information

When designing an advertising rate card, the first piece of information you should put on there is your name, title/job, and contact information. You may only want to include an email or link to a contact form instead of a phone number, depending on your desired method of communication.

You’ll also want to include any important social media handles. For example, if a publisher’s ad inventory includes TikTok or Instagram, they’d want to include those handles so prospective advertisers can view the platforms to decide if they’re a good fit for them.

2. Demographics/Target Audience

If you hold the keys to an advertiser’s desired audience, you will definitely want to let them know on your rate card. Do this by highlighting what type of content you provide and what industry you’re in, whether travel, food, lifestyle, business, marketing, or otherwise. You can also include the demographics of your target audience, including ages, gender, location, and more, to ensure it’s a fit for any prospective advertisers.

3. Advertising Opportunities and/or Services

After adding your personal information and demographics, you should list your advertising opportunities for each platform. For instance, you could write how many ad units are available on your website, which kinds (banner, video, etc.), and which ones you are willing to sell. If you’re an influencer, you should write what content you create (videos, images, reels, etc.) and what brand types you’re willing to work for.

If you’re not using a rate card for advertising, you can also list out your services and how much you charge for each. For example, if you are a content marketer, you could list out your services (content strategy, SEO management, content writing, and content editing), and the prices for each one.

4. Prices

Next to each service you provide, you should write the price you want for it. Publishers usually write the prices for various ad types and services. You might also price by conversions, which you can include on rate cards. You can also offer a lower-cost option that doesn’t guarantee satisfactory placement or reach of a specific advertiser’s desired audience to attract advertisers with smaller budgets.

These ad spots are called “remnant space,” meaning it’s ad space that’s not as easy to sell due to its not-as-desirable location. For instance, classified ads on print publications cost much less than centerfold pages because they take less space and don’t have a catchy ad placement. However, if you don’t guarantee satisfactory placement, you can reduce the price accordingly and still attract advertisers.

As for influencers, you should include how much your photographs, videos, articles, or any type of content costs. You can also list any package deal you’re willing to offer for branding campaigns.

5. Statistics

Does your blog get 30,000 visitors a month or do your TikTok videos get millions of viewers? How many followers or email subscribers do you have? Include impressive statistics on your rate card to show advertisers you’re worth their money.

6. Preferred Payment Methods

As well as the above information, rate cards should state the publisher’s preferred payment methods. Some people prefer transactions on online banking services such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Venmo. Meanwhile, some people are wary about using online services and want their money through direct transfer to their bank accounts.

Writing the preferred payment method in the rate card will save clients time, as the answer will already be presented. Some people also include whether they want their money on a monthly basis or per ad placement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can You Make a Rate Card?

You can use Canva, PicMonkey, or Microsoft Office’s Word to prepare a printable rate card that includes all your prices and important details. These tools have templates to make it easy for anyone to create a rate card graphic, even without design skills. But if your business relies hugely on aesthetics (photography influencers, traveler influencers, etc.), you might consider using an advanced design program like Photoshop or Illustrator or hiring a graphic designer.

How Important Are Rate Cards for Influencers?

Rate cards save you the time of replying to client questions about your prices. Advertising your prices will help keep negotiations to a minimum and make your brand more memorable to clients. It will also make your brand look more professional and credible, which can help you get more advertisers.

What Is a Customer Rate Card?

A customer rate card allows you to provide your customers or clients with a quick and easy way to view your pricing. Customer rate cards are usually designed on a graphic and displayed on a website, blog, or social media. A customer rate card will include a list of services and pricing for each and contact information.

Final Thoughts

So, what is a rate card? As you’ve learned, rate cards detail a publisher’s pricing, contact information, social media platforms, and all the ad units they’re willing to sell.

Rate cards are useful for both publishers and influencers, from YouTube videos and blog posts to Instagram posts and classified ads. Advertising your pricing upfront with a rate card saves both the publisher and the client the time and effort of negotiation, making it a helpful tool for both parties