Partnering with the right creative agency can launch you to the top of your industry. But it can also be difficult to discern which agencies will be effective...and which ones will leave you with empty pockets and poor results.
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The internet allows greater, faster, and more targeted business growth than ever before, and having a creative agency on your payroll that can match your vision and execute it effectively is essential to making the most of these opportunities.
Demand for digital marketing and web development is extremely high--every single organization in every industry can benefit from a validating web presence--so it comes as no surprise that digital marketing and web development is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.
There’s lots of competition out there, and partnering with the right creative agency can launch you to the top of your industry. But it can also be difficult to discern which agencies will be effective...and which ones will leave you with empty pockets and poor results. Here are some things to look out for when searching for a partner.
As industry shapers, creative agencies should know better than anyone that a website is a validation tool: Does this company seem reputable?; Do they seem qualified?; Do they seem professional? These are the impressions people are gleaning from websites, and those of creative agencies are no different. In fact, they should be held to an even higher standard because they reflect the ability of that agency to perform effectively in their field.
Go into your search knowing what level of results you're looking for. Not all creative agencies are created anywhere near equal, and red flags for someone looking for high level results might only be yellow flags to someone looking for a basic, inexpensive web presence. If an agency's website says powered by godaddy or wix in the footer, this would be an indication of a company that is not coding their own sites and therefore lacks expertise in their field. Depending on what you're looking for, this is okay for some in the market, but it would leave others frustrated with a lack of return on investment and inferior product.
Many agencies have highly technical and creatively designed websites, and you can generally take this as a good sign as it demonstrates ability to design and execute complex vision. It also demonstrates whether an agency can create a targeted, cohesive message and user experience with a website. If they can’t do it for themselves, chances are they can’t do it for you.
If you’re really doing your due diligence on an agency, you’ll take a look at the code for their website. “Control-Click” will allow you to view the page source for any website, and there are a few things to look for here that don’t require a trained eye.
First, examine the complexity of the website itself. If you’re seeing things like 3D models, unique scrolling experiences, and animation, you’re looking at a pretty complex website in terms of coding. When you open the page source, do you see pages upon pages of code, or is it a concise, well-organized page? If you can estimate code length to website complexity ratio--with high complexity to low code length as the premium--you’ll be able to get an idea of how technically proficient an agency is.
In short, concise coding--especially on a complex website--is an indication of high technical expertise.
If you’re interested in building search engine optimization (SEO) for your company, find an agency that does this well for their own website. Agencies that appear at or near the top of search results (without paying for advertisement) have dominated SEO for the keyword you searched, validating their SEO expertise.
Keywords like “web development,” “website design,” and “web design companies” are highly competitive; companies with the largest budgets are the most likely to dominate these types of keywords, so it can be difficult to get a feel for the skills of smaller agencies.
A simple trick for verifying an agency’s SEO prowess is to see what they’ve been able to do with their own company name. Generally, keywords for business names are much less competitive than keywords with higher search rates; therefore, if an agency hasn’t been able to optimize search engine results for their own company name, it’s a sign they might not know what they’re doing when it comes to SEO.
Most creative agencies have a page on their website dedicated to showcasing their work and clients. Looking through previous projects is a good place to determine whether you resonate with the creative vision of an agency.
Bonus points if their website includes testimonials from satisfied clients; the work of a creative agency is no small feat and requires an intimate partnership between agency and client. If clients are saying good things about an agency, you can often assume they display professionalism and deliver results.
Given the rising popularity of mobile browsing, many agencies have transitioned to mobile-first design. This emphasizes the usability and design of the mobile version of the website before adding extra features to its desktop/tablet version, which wouldn’t be compatible with mobile browsing.
A few quick mobile searches of the creative agency’s website and a few of their clients will give a good feel for their mobile design skills. If the websites are glitchy, unloadable, or formatted incompatible, the agency probably lacks the proper knowledge and expertise to design intuitive mobile websites. Improper mobile formatting is a major barrier to conversion for organizations in all industries. You’ll want to prioritize your mobile web presence with whichever agency you choose. If you’re really smart, you’ll check an agency’s work on different types of phones to ensure it translates across platforms.
Getting a feel for an agency’s communication standards will help you discern whether the agency is a good fit for you. Collecting bids from multiple agencies will show you what communication style works for you and what agencies are focused on building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Those with generic seeming short-term objectives and deliverables might not be as focused on the long-term relationship with your company. You’ll find that agencies that provide a tailored response with a detailed plan for growth are better equipped to create solutions that are right for your company and your industry.
Creating the right partnership with a creative agency can help you fully capitalize on the opportunities of business in the digital age. Using these research tips will help you find reliable, trustworthy, skillful agencies that can help you execute your vision and launch you to sustainable growth and success. Our team at goHere is filled with experts in technology, strategy, trends, and business development, and we develop creative partnerships with brands we can be passionate about. Reach out today for a custom growth plan that fits your company’s needs.
Businesses, nonprofits, restaurants--organizations of every type--are rightfully emphasizing their mobile web presence to capitalize on the ever increasing flow of mobile web traffic.
Augmented reality continues to revolutionize the way we shop online.