As one of the few, truly full service marketing and advertising firms devoted to small business, there are times we often run up against situations where we’re asked:
“Why should we work with you rather than work with a graphic design firm, website company or SEO company?”
There are many bonuses to working with a full service firm that “one trick ponies” don’t offer. Here are a few of the more quantifiable ones:
It Saves Time
A great example is how we begin working with a client. We start generating traffic to their website via search engine optimization (SEO). We go through all the normal steps to develop the beginning of a normal SEO campaign: run the keyword analysis, compare current search results against those key terms and develop our plan.
Now the first thing we do when we start on a new SEO campaign is take a look at the page titles, meta tags and all the other “top level” elements of the website in an effort to shake the “SEO tree” and collect the low hanging fruit. Well when I have gone into several of the proprietary content management systems (CMS) that these design firms use to create their sites, it’s been a real mess. One example can be a client whose design firm developed the site using another guy’s CMS and simply tacked on their design with no real attention being paid to the usability, navigability or future marketing.
The really frustrating part of this whole story is that it’s not really anyone’s fault. It’s just something that happened through the development of the site because they didn’t have anyone really guiding the development process or thinking about the big picture. There was no quarterback.
The design firm did their job: they designed the site.
The CMS developer did his job: they provided the CMS on which the website resides.
The problem is that now, when it comes to the point that it’s ready to market, there’s a lot of time and money wasted in repair of the site so that it can be properly optimized.
It Saves Money
Let’s look at another company who was interested in developing a new website. For whatever reason they decided to go with another group to develop the site itself and wanted to have us just focus on driving traffic to it. So we experimented with email marketing, social media and SEO. Eventually they came to us and asked why the leads they were pulling from the site had decreased so much so we also went in and did a conversion rate analysis on the site.
Eventually we came to the conclusion, after an extensive analysis of traffic and conversion patterns that there were certain things that needed to be done to the site itself to improve conversion (we came up with tasks that included anything from adding contact forms and calls to action to editing the wording of the links to make them more engaging).
Since this particular company had hired another company to build their website, not only did they end up paying us for our analysis and findings, but they also had to pay for the changes and corrections that needed to be made. Had they worked with a full service group, assuming it’s a good company, the changes that needed to be made would have been incorporated into their overall hosting program in some way.
It Increases Revenue
The long term purpose of any marketing campaign is to increase revenue. Whether the road is made up of developing or increasing awareness, driving web traffic or creating a new reseller program, the goal is to increase your company’s revenue.
Recently we were working with an ecommerce website to drive traffic in an effort to increase sales. When it comes to an ecommerce site, it needs to be able to do two things: draw traffic and make sales. So if the site’s drawing thousands of visitors per month, but only converting one percent of those visitors, you need to find out how you can increase the conversion rate of your current visitors before devoting more of your marketing dollars to increasing traffic. This way when you DO increase your traffic, you know your site will be ready to handle it, generate more sales and increase revenue.
The problem that we ran into, however, is that the designer who put together this ecommerce site didn’t design it with conversion mind. It was a fantastic looking site but there was no natural progression from entry to purchase. A good ecommerce site would always be developed with that in mind.
There should be a strategy to everything we do in our businesses, especially in small businesses where the marketing dollars are so precious and hard to come by. A competent full service marketing firm can work with you to develop the strategies that are going to make sense to your business, implement the tactics that will have the highest impact, but refine the results to provide the engagements you’re targeting.
Remember that (to paraphrase General Patton) bad tactics can destroy even the best strategies. Anybody can develop a website, in the long run, it’s worth putting more resources behind developing appropriate strategies and refining the tactics your using to create the best results.