HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST, BASED ON YOUR GOALS
Superior quality, service and value. Beautifully designed websites. Cutting-edge knowledge of how to market online. This is what you are looking for when you seek out a web design company to develop a website for you or your company; but how do you ensure you get the best of all worlds?
There are a LOT of ‘online marketing’, ‘web design’ and ‘digital agencies’ out there who just don’t get it. Consumers are much more savvy these days but it’s easy to get confused with the sheer volume of online marketing solutions out there; how do you know you’re ticking all of the boxes?
Our web department was the foundation of our company when we launched in May 2008 in little ol’ Northern Ireland, and we still put a lot of focus on our web design services but increasingly have found that it’s important to focus on the ‘whole picture’. A beautiful website is nothing without the following elements supporting, and enhancing, it’s aesthetic design…
… you’ll be able to swiftly and effectively discern whether your online marketing agency is worth its’ salt by attending to each of these questions in turn…
1) Overall Strategy
You might have a beautiful website, but have you or, more importantly, your web agency actually planned out an actionable strategy to achieve your individual objectives?
Have you spoken with them (and have they asked) about your key objectives? Traffic? Leads? Conversion? Increased Sales? Have they noted these and developed a tailored plan of action which can be benchmarked at each stage?
If not, you may begin to hear the alarm bells ringing… You’ll certainly see them when your website gets no visitors, no business, no sales, no new leads.
2) Aesthetic vs. Conversion
Most website designs these days are pretty decent, if not exceptional. The truth of the matter is you can get away with ‘decent’ as opposed to ‘exceptional’ design (though, it’s worth noting it’s always better to opt for exceptional). However, what you cannot get away with is the lack of a conversion strategy. This is essential, to my mind. Without a conversion strategy your website is flapping in the wind, hoping for people to ‘like it’ and like your company.
For those to whom the term ‘conversion strategy’ is alien – it simply means a well planned out structure for taking your website visitors on a journey to your (and ultimately, their) desired outcome. That outcome could be a subscription to your newsletter, a sale, whatever. For each key goal you must plan out a mechanism by which visitors will end up completing the transaction.
3) Traffic Strategy
Here’s a scenario to picture, just for a moment… (This might scare you a little)
You choose a company to develop your brand new website, which is going to change the fortunes of your business… it might even change the world a little bit.
You put all the hard work in. You give the web company all your written and visual content, your products, everything they need to complete a website.
You invest anywhere from $500-$10,000+ in this new, world-beating website. It might even stretch you cash-flow to breaking point.
The website launches. Then…
No new clients, no subscriptions to your newsletter. No sales. Nothing. Nada.
This might seem like a scary scenario, and it should be. A website without traffic is a body without blood flow. It is dead, to all intents and purposes. It’s an empty vessel. Plus, you’re out a small fortune and Return on Investment is a dead and bloated fish swimming in your stream of cash-flow.
So, make sure your newly chosen web company explains, or actions, an effective ‘traffic-getting strategy’. At the very least, they should tell you multiple methods by which to get traffic to your website both initially and long-term. SEO, Advertising, Organic vs. Paid. They’re all valid.
How to Choose the Best Web Company
So the real question for your business is… How do you choose the best web design company for you? How do you know that the web design service you’re getting is the best service and quality that you can actually get? Well, here’s the trick; I’d say always go with your gut instinct.
Here are the key questions to ask yourself: When you talk with a representative of the company, do they seem like they care about your company? Like they want your project to be a success? Or do they just seem like you’re a number on their sales list? If the latter is true, turn your back and walk away. Jump ship now before it gets ugly, and costly.
Don’t listen, don’t discuss, don’t even think about it.
Any good web company will sit down with you, be open and interested right off the bat in what you do and how you do it; be asking questions about you and your company and giving you hints, tips and advice right there and then. For free.
The very best online marketing companies will want to get a feel for your company ethos, its industry, it’s client base, before ever committing to building a new website, a new online marketing strategy or whatever it is you’re currently seeking. This interest helps guide the tailored approach to online marketing, which, believe it or not, can be quite an individualised entity.
For example, for me, it’s about offering value to clients and their businesses. I don’t want to be involved in a project where I’m not helping a client achieve an important goal or educating them on how to market their company online. Your web company should have the same core ethos.
Similarly, I don’t want a person as a client if they don’t value what we do; it’s a mutual thing and ‘value’ is always at the core – a client must value what I/we do as professionals and we must offer that client value through our services – value in a website & web campaign that works, value in the time & attention we give to that project.
Any good company you meet will be the same. You’re not a sales statistic with these companies and these individuals, you’re a valued member of a long-term goal – to add real worth to companies around the world. We do this by providing high quality digital marketing services for clients, and we truly believe in what we do. If you don’t want to buy into that as a client of ours, we don’t want you as a client, truth be told.
Smoke & Mirrors
Before I ever got involved in the online marketing game, I ran a company that was in the market for a website. The proposing company dropped a 25 page proposal though our letterbox one evening and we spent some time looking through it. At least 20 of those pages were full of information which had no relevance to our company, our objectives or their suitability to our project. The 5 or so pages that did attend to these things were fairly thin on content.
And their proposal was a website at $20k. We didn’t choose that company. In fact, I actually founded my digital agency about 2 months later, off the back of this experience, because I was dismayed at the approach of this company. So I have them to thank in a way.
I’d therefore advise a bit of care when asking companies for a proposal – it should not be about getting a 50-page proposal from the web company; please don’t be impressed by this. Anyone could develop a 50-page proposal full of useless information that you’ll never read or even understand… because you don’t need to. And if the 50-page one impresses you; bear this in mind – you can almost be guaranteed you’re getting a generic proposal with your name copied and pasted into the blanks.
You’ll be lucky if you get an 8-10 page proposal out of Zenith. It will cover your individual objectives based upon our discussion(s) (without any flowery, confusing language) and will identify key steps that we will take for you to achieve those and more, and will finish up with a fully itemised project budget. From there it’s a pretty clear decision… Do you like us? Do you trust us? Do you believe we will help you and your business make significant progress online?
You’ll find the best website design, digital marketing companies all over the world will have the same ethos that I’ve just laid out – Quality, value, integrity. Results. No fluffed-out content for appearances’ sake.
So here are my top tips for choosing a web company:
- Trust your gut instinct.
- Ask questions.
- Be prepared for honest (sometimes blunt) answers!
- Check out their portfolio – if their work doesn’t look like much, it probably isn’t.
- Check out their client testimonials.
- Don’t always go with the company that provides you a 30,000 word thesis for a proposal.
- Don’t always go with experience. We have lost some potential contracts to other web companies who have simply been around a few years longer, even though our service, quality, integrity and stability are much higher. Go with talent, and a well-suited personality.
If you follow the points on this list, the decision will be an easy one for you and you will definitely find the right web company for you.
Of course, if you do need an online marketing agency that can provide each component for a successful online/digital marketing campaign for your business, all you need to do is send a message/query to [email protected] and we’ll get back to you asap.
Or, you can now do the whole thing yourself by using our latest online-marketing training product – Total Website Blueprint – So you can either build your own website using this click-by-click training, or enhance your existing website using the marketing training included to get more traffic, more conversions and more business.