Choosing The Best Web Design Agency
So you’ve finally decided to go with a web design agency. You’re ready to hand off the work to someone else, kick back, and put your feet up, right? Not so fast. We all know nothing good comes quite that easy.
While your agency will do the actual web designing, your job is to be an active participant. If you’ve never worked with an agency or only had mediocre relationships with previous agencies, figuring out how to establish a productive relationship can be tricky. Looking to partner with an agency to design your website? Download this all-inclusive RFP guide on how to write an effective request for proposal and tips to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Here are 8 strategies to help make your next agency relationship a success.
1. Ask questions first
Ask your design agency to clarify how they’re meeting your brief. According to an ANA study, only 27 percent of agencies find client briefs effective, while 58 percent of clients believe their briefs are effective.
Instead of assuming it should be obvious, ask your web agency questions to establish an open environment. You’ll keep your agency thinking constructively and analytically about their own work and how each component addresses your goals. The questions you ask also give a clearer picture of where you’re coming from and your primary concerns.
2. Be honest as early as possible.
If something strays from the direction you intended, let your agency know earlier rather than later. The further along they get in the process, the more difficult it becomes to make changes, so early feedback is crucial to a smooth relationship. Your agency is there to help meet your goals, but they only know what you tell them.
3. Let the experts do their jobs.
Many people give feedback that locks their agency into concrete solutions. For example, you might request that your agency move two components on your site closer together. But your agency can function most effectively if they know the issue, rather than one possible solution.
If you’re considering the “why,” you might say instead, “I’m concerned people aren’t going to see my content when it’s so spread out.” This comment is useful because it places your feedback into the context of your goals. Your agency can then explore multiple solutions that still adhere to design and UX best practices while meeting your goal.
4. Approach feedback as a conversation.
Designing your website or crafting a digital strategy is a collaboration. Both sides bring something valuable to the table. You have extensive knowledge about your business, goals, and industry, while your digital agency’s expertise lies in UX and digital strategy. Rather than sending out directives, work out problems alongside your agency to create the most effective solutions.
5. Be constructive.
Feedback is much harder to apply when it’s written like a negative review. You can give constructive feedback by explaining why you don’t like a component, rather than expressing general dislike. Treat your web design agency relationship as a partnership and it becomes easier to give cordial, helpful feedback.
Don’t forget to give feedback on the positives. Feedback about a job well-done isn’t about making your agency feel good. It’s about helping them understand what works so they can replicate that success in other areas. Only a small percentage of agencies report that clients inspire them to produce their best work. Giving balanced feedback can encourage and direct agencies to produce stronger work.
6. Be objective.
Consider your website from the perspective of customer relationship management. Your website is often the first interaction visitors have with your business. How your target audience experiences your site is always the most important consideration that also influences reputation management. Beyond an aesthetically pleasing design, will your site achieve what it needs to do? Be careful not to let your personal preferences cloud your judgment and lead to ineffective design practices.
7. Be cautious about copies.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But copying or heavily referencing another person’s work has several problems in web design. Clearly, you don’t want to simply copy another website, but providing links to sites that you want your agency to emulate is tricky too.
Instead of just providing examples of sites you like, explain what those sites are doing effectively. Imitating those sites might not produce the same results, so be ready to discuss how your site can strive to meet your own goals.
8. Prepare your thoughts before walking into the room.
Come prepared for any review meetings. As we’ve seen, it can take a little effort to frame your feedback in an effective and constructive way. Your gut reaction isn’t helpful feedback, but connecting your gut to your overall goals is. Review the piece beforehand, so you come ready with productive ideas and can make the most of your agency’s expertise.
Communicate With Your Design Agency
Working with an website design agency can be a wonderful experience, but it requires work from both parties. Let open communication and transparency guide feedback for your agency, and you’ll both see improvements.
Currently looking for a digital marketing agency? Contact our team at Creative MMS to find out if we’re a good fit.