When people form relationships they generally take the time to get to know the person they're forming the relationship with. They might buy each other a drink, they may suggest a dance, they might suggest a future dinner date. It's how most people operate, the whole getting to know you thing. It's about investing your time wisely and carefully to make sure you're getting into something good. Although most people don't, it makes sense to do the same in business and here's why.
Partner or Vendor?
If a tap in your staff kitchen is leaking all you need is a plumber to come in and replace the washer. It's a simple financial transaction, job done. Unfortunately, some businesses do the same with strategically significant purchases, such as developing a website, and it makes no sense. For jobs like this, you need a partner, not a vendor.
The received wisdom for securing the services of a web development company is to create a brief, send it to several, sometimes far too many, web firms and get a price. It's an approach that will create at best an OK result and often turn out to be a complete waste of money. If you're currently reviewing your website and thinking of redeveloping it, the rest of this article will outline an approach guaranteed to make your project a success.
Ingredients Of Unsuccessful Web Projects
Part of the reason web projects go wrong is businesses don't know what they need and in most cases, it's worse than that. This isn't a fault on their part, there's no reason they should know this stuff. The mistake they make is to create a project brief based on what they know, ignoring the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, instead of taking the time to dig deeper.
For example, many of the briefs sent to us say things like "The website should be SEO optimised and have links from other quality websites to ensure it gets found in search engines." This statement makes it clear they don't even know what SEO is, let alone demanding their site should be search optimised. In the absence of a trusted partner, they're simply having a go, usually by copy and pasting from a template they either found or were given. It's utter madness and it's costing businesses money, not to mention plenty of lost opportunities. But there's a better way.
Don't Take A Big Leap, Take A Small Step
If you were planning some serious home improvements this is how it would go, if you did it properly.
- You'd contact two or three architects and meet for a chat.
- Based on the work they'd done and the chemistry between you and them you'd select one.
- For a fee of perhaps £1000.00, they would provide some sketches and associated costs.
At this stage, you'd have an idea of what you were going to get, what it might look like and the likely costs. Importantly, you'd have worked with the architect and either developed a healthy relationship in readiness for the project proper or realised they weren't a good fit for you. Even if you'd decided to take the project elsewhere you'd be in a much better place to do so, clear in what you needed and the required budget.
This is how you should approach web projects, especially if you're considering hiring an agency to help you with web-based lead generation, which should be the goal of most business websites.
Low Risk, Low Cost, High Value
There's nothing to not like about our suggested approach to creating your next website. It's low risk, low cost and high value and here's what we mean by that.
Let's face it, hiring an agency to work for you is stressful. Will they work out? Will you like them? Will they like you? Will they still be around in six months? It's a challenge. It must be obvious that a small clearly defined engagement to help you roadmap your web project is not going to send you under if it goes wrong, not that it's likely to. It's a low-risk endeavour.
This is a big one. Currently, most businesses go from spending no money with an agency to spending £10k, £15k, £30K or £100k+. It's high risk and if it goes wrong it's expensive. A road mapping exercise isn't likely to cost more than £1k, perhaps even less. It really is a low-cost low-risk thing to do.
Working with an agency, by creating a partnership to help your business thrive online, is a high-value activity. Good agencies want to build relationships with their clients, they want to get under the skin of their businesses and become an integral part of their success. It's a virtuous circle where everyone wins.
If this article has got you thinking about your approach to finding a web partner to help secure inbound enquiries then my work is done. Whatever you do, don't follow the herd by blindly sending out invitations to tender, it really is the absolute worst way to find the right agency to help you grow your business by leveraging the web. Ditch the idea of a vendor and find a partner, you won't regret it.
We offer a FREE no obligation 30-minute session either face to face or online to show you how the web could be helping your business. To schedule, a call simply