It goes without saying that to be a good web design agency you have got to have great clients. I have been lucky to work with some amazing clients. I have also worked on some more challenging accounts. So what makes a great client? And why should you care?
I think it is pretty much accepted that a long term, mutually beneficial client/agency relationship is positive for both parties. After living and breathing your brand for a long period of time, an agency has an understanding of how to overcome the challenges that your business faces.
A long term client/agency relationship allows you to work more effectively when you are developing creative concepts and creates efficiencies all the way through the process to execution. An agency that knows you and your brand can offer you an outsider’s view that is invaluable when you wish to generate successful campaigns.
Here are a few pointers to help you to get the best from your web design agency:
1. Take an open mind to new agency ideas and try to encourage them to challenge you on previous norms. Remember, you hired this agency because you liked either what they have done before or how they think. Sit back and let them work their magic.
2. Be as clear and concise as possible about your requirements and concerns. All too often clients don’t make their agency aware of key pieces of information that the client needs actually in the design phase. Market research, brand positioning, message, etc should all be disclosed to the agency before concept development. Your website needs to honestly reflect your proposition and brand. If you are not a high-end product don’t try to position yourself as a high-end product through your website – it just won’t work.
3. Be available. An agency needs to have a regular and open line of communication to garner feedback on your web design project. I’m not suggesting you make yourself available 24-7, but set aside some time on a regular basis during which the agency can contact you or when you check in with them to ensure the smooth running of the project.
4. Offer clear insight into any design changes. Sometimes, clients want to fix the problem themselves without making it clear to the design agency what the actually problem is. If the agency understands the reason behind web design changes the agency will be in a better position to offer a solution that fits with your business.
5. Maximize the agency’s expertise. Don’t be afraid to use the agency’s other services on your project. The more the agency understands about the audience, the message and post launch marketing the better they will be able to serve your requirements. I am a firm believer in getting your web design agency to also develop your web strategy, particularly for elements such as SEO (which will need to be defined during the design planning). You will also benefit from additional advice and suggestions, which will eliminate post launch issues.
6. Offer clear, honest, emotionless feedback. If something is not working it is essential that you let your agency know ASAP and why it is not working. Without clear and honest feedback your agency will not be able to meet your objectives. And remember in the beginning, it’s a learning curve; over time they will come to know what you want before you ask for it but you can’t expect this kind of intuition from the outset.
Being a good client ensures you get what you want with less frustration and costs. Once you establish a strong and happy working relationship with your agency you will start to benefit from a synthesis with a company that understands your commercial objectives and works with these objectives in mind.
It’s worth putting the time in to help your agency understand you, the essence of your brand and your communication requirements. When you do they will help you to better target your key audience online.