Working with a creative web design agency costs money so you need to be sure that you are receiving full value. Part of the recipe for this is building a healthy relationship with them that produces powerful results.
Whether you have worked with them before or this is your first time, by proceeding in a certain way, certain success will follow.
Here are our top 10 steps towards getting the most from your web design agency:
- 1. Trust each other
You have done the groundwork, had meetings, talked on the phone and found out all that you need to know about each other. This has proven that you are a good fit so now is the time to simply trust each other. Go forward with a plan and stick to it. Have regular reviews but during the in-between periods, let your agency get on with it.
A good agency will have a project manager or client manager (depending on their size) who you will be able to call for updates or to get answers to any questions you may have. A good Project Manager will be an asset to you and your agency and is the buffer between you and the developers/designers of the agency – A great PM will always keep you updated at least once a week and ensure that communication is as good as can be.
- 2. Make the right choice at the beginning
You are choosing your agency because you need something and they can produce it. Because of this, you are going to need to have a close relationship – Especially in the first few weeks of your project kicking off anyway. Knowing that you are going to spend so much time together, trusting them with your business, it is essential the you pick the right agency in the first place. The client/agency relationship is a delicate one that needs to be nurtured and worked at if good things are going to be achieved. Go with the flow, be inspired and find an agency that is as passionate as you are about what you need to achieve.
Your agency should be asking you questions about any current pain points that you have and what success looks like to you once your project is completed. This shows a deep understanding of your needs and that they aren’t just going to deliver you a project and leave you too it.
- 3. Provide a brief and make it a thorough one
Tell them all about your business, your goals and ambitions. Make sure that your agency knows your products or services inside out. They need to know what you are doing now and what you want to be doing in the future. They need to have sufficient insight into your product and be able to present it in such a way that they would want to buy it themselves. Your brief has to have sufficient depth to enable them to do this. Your agency should love and believe in your project as much as you do.
A great project manager will jump in at this stage and help you to prepare your brief, they will help you see the bigger picture and think of things that you may not of to help you see the bigger picture and even show potential new ways that your website could engage with an audience and generate you more revenue.
- 4. Don’t try and tell your agency what to do
They are the experts so please don’t interfere or try and tell them what to do. Let them work hard for their money by doing what they do best. Give them feedback, make comments on the work so far and don’t get involved in areas that you shouldn’t, such as design or execution. You are paying someone that has intense knowledge of their craft so it should be a foregone conclusion for you to know that they can do a far better job than you ever could.
- 5. Nurture your agency
Provide them with sufficient time to do the necessary work. They control who sees your product, how it is seen and how effective it will be. With this in mind, work with them and nurture them. Let them get involved with your new product or service. Give them enough time to prepare to reach your audience and to create amazing designs that bring success your way.
You will likely use your agency for maintenance of your website in the future, so keep that in mind, that building a great, workable relationship is always key.
- 6. Keep your ideas simple
The best ideas don’t have to be complicated. The most effective websites can be the ones that are powerful because of their straightforward and yet effective designs and content. If you have an idea for your website, pass it onto your creative agency but let them run with it. Don’t force their hand or try to make them do something that they are not really in agreement with. They will know of the best way to get your audience hooked, wanting to buy from you and responding in a positive way.
Pick on the brains of your agency, they will usually have many tens of years of combined experience and be able to show you the way.
A great agency won’t stop you and tell you not to do something – Instead they will showcase evidence from past success stories of what worked and what didn’t to allow you to make a decision on exactly what you want to do going forward.
- 7. Acknowledge the fact that your agency needs to make money
You need your web design agency to work hard on your website to don’t expect them to do it for nothing. You have chosen a passionate creative because of the great results that they achieve. They are going to invest a whole lot of emotional energy into your website and in order for them to do this effectively, they have to make money. Think win-win scenario where you both prosper.
The main reason for this is due to something called “scope creep” which makes the biggest of agencies shudder!
Most agencies are flexible and will know things will need tweaking at points, but it is best to be clear on the exact requirements you will be getting – We sign this off in an SRS document – And expect that anything outside this scope will usually be an additional cost.
- 8. Don’t fall into the trap of haggling
Whilst your website is being built, this is a great time for you to review your products or services. By providing your web design agency with good raw material, they can take it and run with it. You both need your business to do well so during the pitch process – or afterwards – don’t spoil things by haggling. Once you agree a figure to go forward, set regular time slots for reviews. You will only make yourself look bad by haggling, wasting time and resources and killing off what could have been a great relationship.
- 9. Be straightforward and candid
Your relationship needs to be strong but it doesn’t have to be sunshine and roses all the way. Do allow for some mistakes to be made and misunderstandings to occur. When this does happen, be upfront and speak honestly. You don’t have to lose your cool, just let them know what the problem is. Don’t leave them hanging in mid-air and guessing. Candour between you will encourage reciprocal behaviour, the production of work that is bang on target and great results when you need them. Your relationship needs to survive during the great times and the not so good. Give accurate and timely feedback on what you think and don’t pass on someone else’s feedback as your own as they are not part of this. Play mind games at your peril, take the emotion out of the situation and work together to find the most effective solutions.
- 10. Don’t be afraid to set high standards
You are passionate about your business so don’t hold back. Clearly convey your goals and stay committed. Don’t get lost in the small tasks but focus on the results of the bigger projects. Provide your web design agency with detailed briefs that set tough targets, knowing that they can achieve the best. You need to have full confidence in them as a passionate and motivated creator. Maintain a balance, be critical but be fair. This way, only the best results will materialise. When things are done well, give praise freely. If WordPress isn’t the right platform for you and you prefer something more custom, then talk to your agency about it. WordPress design isn’t the be all and end all to all projects and there are many alternative CMS systems available.
Your web design agency can create amazing things if you work together closely and make a point of celebrating when things go well. Follow our 10 essential tips and you can look forward to terrific results.