Sort Out Your Website for Agency New Business

Why is it that so many agency websites are as bad as they are? I’m not saying they’re all bad and I’m not saying that our own is perfect, but some are really, VERY poor indeed, with almost as many still ‘under construction’ due to being ‘so busy with client business’ or some other feeble excuse.

When will these agencies get it? Do they honestly not think it important? Do they believe (as many have told me) that the less they show the better because that way clients will have to ask them in to find out more? In the words of my ten year-old …

Really? No, REALLY??

Ponder the following scenarios.

1) Client has agreed to meet with a new agency to find out more about them. The client is considering reviewing the incumbent but has not let on yet because she wants to meet with half a dozen or so before deciding whether to definitely review and if so then who to include in the process. Now, what would YOU do, if you were HER, fifteen minutes before the meeting is due to commence? I know what I do when checking out potential new suppliers. I go to their website to remind myself of why I agreed to meet them and to see if there is anything there that I will need further clarification on. She finds a landing page. Not a good start really is it?

2) Client (or Intermediary) has met with various agencies and now want to whittle that list of six down to three to pitch. To refresh their memories they go to the agency website – ditto. holding page. What do you expect them to do? Call you up and ask you to re-send over some more case studies? It won’t happen …

3) Client is unhappy with their incumbent, they do their desk research, look through Campaign Top 300 list, ask their peers and then pull together a list of twelve agencies to do some due diligence on before inviting six in for chemistry meetings before deciding which three to invite to pitch. Your agency is one of the twelve. She goes to your website and finds that same holding page. Do you think she will give you the benefit of the doubt or do you think she will now choose her six from the eleven who have made her life easier?

So, if you have a holding page. Take it down – replace it with a blog if necessary. Just get some content online.

If you have a website, take a look at those of your competitors and ask yourself whether you come up to scratch. If the answer is no, do something about it. The agency website is now first port of call for most reviews; if you fail here, you make life very hard for yourself.

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Sound Familiar?

Okay, here’s a story, let me know if it sounds familiar.

There is this man who is not at all well, feels terrible, with other problems we won’t even go into. But essentially, if his body were a bucket it would be leaky and there would be no water coming into it to replace that which is leaking away. So he goes to see a specialist.

The specialist, who has hundreds of thousands of hours experience within his practice and who has seen it all before sits down with the man talks through his symptoms, does a thorough examination and spots what the problem is pretty much straight away. He therefore tells the patient what the problem is, tells him how much it will cost to cure the problem (sorry, the story takes place outside of the wonderful NHS!) and provides a timescale by which the patient should be all better again.

So far so good.

But the patient isn’t happy. He accuses the doctor of being ‘prescriptive’ and decides to use a man he heard about in the pub who has recently completed a home study degree is didgereeopethy and agrees with the patients own suggested course of treatment (which is far easier for the patient to stomach).

I do hope he gets better, but I doubt it.

Sorry, just HAD to get that off my chest!!

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Who would YOU choose?

We have just concluded our part of a search for a £200k PA PR client in the cosmetics industry. We asked about half a dozen agencies to put together creds to be sent through as part of the first round elimination process. Some of the agencies had obviously gone to an awful lot of trouble and had really thought it through; one was going to buy everyone at the agency a selection of the clients products to get them all “on brand” and another had produced a beautifully put together personalised book.

A couple of the others had not really done too much work. One sent over creds with mistakes in it and another sent through 50 odd slides of coverage but didn’t really address the brief that the client had given them.

Guess what; the agencies who had made a lot of effort and had ANSWERED THE CLIENTS QUESTIONS! got through to the next round. The rest were knocked out. Not surprising I know, but what IS surprising is that any agency, in this market, would be so complacent.

When we initially spoke to one of these agencies, the person we spoke to asked us how many agencies the client was considering (considering, not asking to pitch!) and when we said six, the response was “Oh for God’s sake …”. Yes you’re right. This agency was one of those who DIDN’T get through. One thing really hit home though – the agencies who took the effort and really thought this through were the agencies the client wasn’t too keen on to start with; she thought they were too big and wouldn’t be interested in her budget.

I think this exercise confirmed something to me. Sometimes the bigger agencies are better at this stuff than the smaller agencies; maybe that’s why they’re bigger? Clients shouldn’t dismiss larger agencies, the teams operate JUST like smaller agencies and you’ll get just as good a quality of service and sometimes better.

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What’s a pitch?

I got an email yesterday from some highfalutin principal of a design agency, telling me that 1) they couldn’t cope with any more business (good for them!) and that 2) they never pitch for business anyway.

This brings me to the point I want to make. What people mean by pitch. I have two definitions that are, I think, the most relevant to our (and your) business, one a noun and another a verb (but there are plenty more HERE).

Noun: promotion by means of an argument and demonstration [syn: sales talk]

Verb: to attempt to sell or win approval for something or someone by advertising, promotion, etc.: politicians pitching on TV.

Now surely this design firm must do these things when asked? surely at SOME point, a prospective client has asked to meet with them and SURELY when that happens they meet with the client. What then? do they make NO ATTEMPT to win the business?

Now, what I THINK the person meant was that they do not provide free creative work as part of the pitch process. That’s fine, but not quite the same thing. Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe they are SO good that work just walks through the door, in which case I apologise.

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Are You Sure?

Just got an email from an agency new business person, very nice person, good agency, glad to have them registered with us and all that. But something DID concern me.

Apparently, “our CEO and MD respectively, aren’t involved in any way in new business …”. Wow, really? Are you sure about that? I really really hope that is not the case, because if it IS then there are going to be a couple of dozen people looking for new jobs shortly!

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