The UK is a breeding ground for forward-thinking digital marketing and web design agencies. With so many UK agencies offering digital services, it might be tempting to jump in with the first eager approach. However, you need to be careful that you are short-listing and selecting agencies carefully if you want to get the most out of your budget.
Here are 3 tips to help you on your way:
1. Get case studies not just portfolio pieces
Most agencies have nice portfolios: If they don’t you should either run a mile or get a very low quote given that you’ll essentially be rolling the dice. However, the mere existence of a decent portfolio in such a competitive market doesn’t quite cut the mustard on its own.
A website can look beautiful but not achieve goals. Conversely, a website can be as ugly as sin but work miracles. Since aesthetic beauty is in the eye of the beholder, every designer needs to create designs that please the intended audience. The only way to ensure that an agency can achieve that is to look at case studies: Regardless of your personal opinion on a website’s design, the thing you should be worrying about is the results and the return-on-investment.
a) Did the web design achieve pre-defined goals laid out by the client?
b) Was the work bespoke or was it sheer luck that their standard ‘package’ worked in this instance?
2. Length of time in business
In a competitive environment, it can be tempting (more so than normal) for entrepreneurial go-getters to make a quick buck from a ‘pop-up shop’ agency. All they need is one formula that works and some help getting the word out. The problem is their solution won’t work for everyone.
It can sometimes be hard to assess this from case studies as described above because you’ll only see examples of good results. The best thing you can do is look for a range of solutions across case studies. But it’s important to note that in such a competitive market, no agency is likely to survive for very long if they are not delivering bespoke, tailored solutions, so the length of time they’ve been around should be considered too.
3. Go to their offices and meet the team
If you’re a buyer, you’ve probably got a good eye for BS; and it’s easier to spot when you’re face-to-face with someone. Go meet the agencies on your short-list. Do they have too few staff to realistically service their clients? If so they probably outsource everything. Do they work in a back bedroom? If so they probably don’t have long-term plans for their business.
You’ll only get the best results from a partnership when there is trust and rapport, so start building that early (and, to be fair, remember that it’s a two-way street) and put the relationship to the test before handing over your hard-earned cash. The kind of agency you want to work with will relish the challenges you throw at them!