We're an Aberdeen based web agency and we've spent the last 12 months transforming ourselves into an inbound marketing company so we can deliver even more value to our clients. Through a process of formal training, cohort-based workshops and lots of hard work we're now securing retainers to work with some amazing and forward thinking companies from all over the UK and beyond. Although we've been "doing" inbound pretty much since we started in 2003 we decided to formalise our offering and it's really paying off for us.
We did this because we LOVE what we do and we LOVE helping businesses do more on-line.
Inbound Agencies Are High Octane - Strap Yourself In If You Engage One
Working with us means more leads, more customers, an improved on-line profile, great search results and the list goes on. Now, we get that these words will cause some people to say "yeah right, blah blah blah", but if you've ever spoken to us or attended one of our presentations you'll know we really do live and breathe what we do and we really do LOVE it.
Note I didn't use that hackneyed term "passionate". I've found that most people who tell me they're passionate about something are the least passionate people I've ever met, just like people who tell you they're perfectionists never are! We're not "passionate" about the web, we feckin love it. RIP Father Jack.
OK Dave, We Get It, Get Back On Track!
Yeah, sorry, going a bit off-piste there. When I make the statement that your inbound marketing agency should be your best friend, what I'm driving at is this - your website has the potential to play a major role in the growth and development of your business. Get this stuff right and it can be transformative. Get it right and you'll create a predictable, repeatable and scalable marketing machine for your business. In short your relationship with your web guys can be one of the most important business relationships you'll ever form.
However, for too many companies web projects are painful, horrible experiences that deliver little measurable value.
Enough Of The Blanket RFP's!
Sadly, it's still common today for organisations to look for a web company by doing a quick Google search to create a list of potential suppliers followed by sending them an RFP. They then sift through the responses looking for the best (or often the cheapest). That might work in the construction industry where the hard work of design, bill of materials etc, has been done and you're just looking for a company who can glue bricks together but it DOES NOT WORK in web land.
In web land glueing the bricks together is the easy bit, deciding which bricks to glue together is a different story.
Now I know this analogy breaks down because to get to the point where you're ready to build (yes I'm back on my construction industry example) you've done the feasibility and the design. The thing is with the web too many people put together a scope without having the first clue about what they need and what's possible. You need an agency to help with this just as much if not more so than the actual build and roll out.
How To Choose An Agency If On-line Success Is Important To You
Great agencies add value in so many ways and by engaging with them you'll get a lot more value. Most of the best agencies won't even respond to a blind RFP landing in their inbox, they know projects done this way are often doomed before they start. They know they need to be involved in the why just as much as the how.
Finding an agency can still start with a Google search but not to simply create a list of email addresses. Take some time to create a shortlist of two or three. Look at their work, look at the language they use, their approach. Use Google's search results like a list of potential mates on a dating site. Once you've got your list arrange a chat (phone or Skype's fine), and talk about your business. Tell them in your own language what your perfect world outcome looks like, and by "look" I don't just mean the design, I mean the business outcomes.
Do this with the two or three agencies you found and if one of them feels right arrange another deeper chat about your needs and all being well move forward with them.
It's All About Relationships
Ultimately you need to have a great relationship with your web guys and unambiguous terms of reference on what success looks like. You don't need to actually be best friends but you need the kind of relationship that allows for good honest and robust debate. Great agencies only ever want what's right for their clients, they really do, and that extends to challenging what clients think in order to get them to where they need to be. Find an agency that's right for you, engage with them, make them part of your team and you won't look back.