Are you wondering what type of interactive agency will do the best job on your company’s upcoming website design project?
As you evaluate each interactive agency’s flair for design, content, and functionality, also put “fit” high on your list of considerations. Just like people have personalities, so do digital marketing companies. For example, some are more laid back than others. Some crave process and others tend to fly by the seat of their pants. Still, others make top-down decisions, while others prefer consensus.
It’s not a matter of right or wrong; it just comes down to preferences and experience with what works best for your organization.
Creating a Website is Hard Work – Make It Easier
As anyone who’s been through it before knows, working on a website can be intense. If your interactive team rubs you the wrong way, you can easily end up frustrated, make poor decisions, and lose motivation. Even if the site turns out well in the end, you’ve spent months being irritated and worried if the project will successfully come together.
On the other hand, hiring an agency that is well-suited to your company will produce an integrated team that can bring out the best in each other. There will be many fewer stumbling blocks, more productive conversations, and a smoother process from beginning to end. As a result, your new website will more fully express your brand and better achieve your objectives.
Oh, and you’ll have more fun along the way!
Learn What Type of Interactive Agency is the Best for You
The 10 items below represent the type of clients with whom Ladybugz has forged the strongest relationships, creating optimal results while enjoying the process. Read on to see if these areas align with your company’s preferred processes and work style. In the end, you’ll come to some conclusions about the type of agency that will work the best for you.
Consider how these 10 items reflect your organization and website project:
1. You have a definitive time frame and budget.
One of the first steps in developing your website is setting realistic expectations. Once our agency has clearly defined goals, we can use your budget to figure out the simplest, most direct ways to meet your website goals.
Having clear-cut parameters enables us to find solutions that meet your essential needs. This prevents the added time and expense that comes from throwing in extra bells and whistles, unnecessary plugins, plus features that call for custom coding. By focusing on meeting your key objectives, you’ll also avoid having a “bloated” site that slows down page loading speed, increases bounce rates, and decreases conversion rates.
2. You are open to discussing the project’s scope and process.
Hire an agency you trust to create a contractual agreement that accurately reflects your website requirements, time limits, company resources, and budgetary constraints. It’s not all that unusual that project requirements will change over the course of the project. Or, you may start to experience “scope creep”—when the project starts to expand beyond the contractual agreement.
It’s not just the agency’s resources that get eaten up by “scope creep.” It’s also likely that, in addition to increasing our time and budget, changes and “extras” will draw more upon your team’s time and energy. There will inevitably be more experimentation, meetings, decision-making, and testing to make sure all the elements work properly.
That’s not to say that plans are set in stone. While there is always room for flexibility, the contract should contain information about how extra functionality, coding, architectural changes, and other factors may affect time-to-launch, costs, and required resources.
3. You value a flexible, agile process with your interactive agency.
Also called an iterative design process, this flexible approach divides the project into several facets that are developed in parallel with each other. This means that graphic design, content, copywriting, and development are simultaneously planned, tested, modified, and launched on a production site along individual “tracks”—rather than adhering to a linear process. As each part is finished, it stands at the ready to be rolled out live when all aspects are complete and the client has signed off.
The agile process is a highly collaborative approach that requires a full commitment from both the internal and external teams. It’s a high-energy process but, in the long run, it takes less time and enables all participants to provide ample feedback on each part—and how all parts fit together.
4. You accept that website conversion rates improve over time.
There are endless variations for website design, content, interactivity, and functionality. In creating your website, we use our expertise, research, and a wide range of experience-based assumptions to create a high-value site.
Still, one of the premises of an iterative process is that there is a degree of unpredictability in how visitors will act at each point of conversion, whether a sign-up, download, social share, or purchase. Along with adjustments needed to boost conversions, your site may also require updating for a new product launch, content marketing campaign, or other business factors.
By continuously monitoring and analyzing your site’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicator), we can identify relevant challenges and strengths. We can then use that data to inform plans for future refinements. Your agency can help you develop strategies for optimizing conversions at every stage of the user journey.
5. You are committed to continuous improvement to optimize conversion rates.
As an adjunct to the item above, no site is ever truly “perfect.” And even if your site is ideal now, it will eventually need updating based on new digital marketing efforts and shifting priorities.
Conversions aren’t confined to making purchases. They happen any time a visitor on your site takes a desirable action that meets your objectives. This could be signing up for a newsletter, clicking on a CTA, landing on high-value pages, sharing content on social media, or other activity.
There is no question that your website must continuously evolve, including optimizing existing and future conversion points. We build flexible websites that can easily be modified to address performance issues, marketing updates, and changes to your business.
We turn “problems” into opportunities that can be addressed in the next “iteration,” commonly known as “Phase 2.”
6. You enjoy an open exchange of ideas.
Our agency is confident in our capabilities and expertise. At the same time, ongoing client feedback is essential to the process—we can’t do a great job without some give and take. You are an expert on your brand and your customers, and together we create a team that’s got all the bases covered.
When the agency and client truly communicate and listen to each other, great things happen. When there are conflicts or questions about what to do, it doesn’t have to be a tug-of-war. Rather, we enjoy good-natured, genuine discussions that lead to the best possible merging of ideas.
7. You want to work with an interactive agency that has an integrated client-agency team.
It’s clear from the previous sections that you’ll want to find an agency that will be a trusted partner. Our team consists of dedicated experts who enjoy working with clients who are equally dedicated to the project.
The bottom line is that an integrated, committed team generates higher motivation, more innovative ideas, greater support among team members, and more satisfied clients. Most importantly, an integrated client-agency team provides the best opportunity for excellence.
8. Full participation with an interactive agency includes the following:
- Client and agency each share their perspectives on what type of process will be most effective
- The client provides necessary internal resources, including the marketing team, subject matter experts, plus relevant company and industry information.
- The client expresses opinions about what they like and what they want to avoid.
- The agency guides the client toward solutions that will lead to the best results.
- Internal and external team members are responsive to and respectful of all other team members.
- Client and agency communicate clearly and are transparent about the process.
9. You include the final decision-maker in the process.
Including the final decision-maker throughout the process will undeniably create a smoother process and save time. All too often, the client-agency team thinks design or copy is “final,” only to send it up the ladder and have it shot down. This creates a stressful “rush” situation, sometimes requiring that the team has to go back to the drawing board and wasting a lot of precious time.
When final decision–makers are actively involved, their voices are heard through the process. There are no surprises. They have had full input and understand how the site developed over time. As a result, this pushes things along and will speed up and make the process more successful.
10. You are willing to follow the data.
You can’t adequately improve website results without defining, monitoring, and analyzing objective measurements. It’s tempting to simply guess, but it’s not effective.
An interactive agency helps you determine which metrics are important, set baselines, and monitor trends. Analyzing UX (User Experience) signals such as session durations, bounce rate, exit pages, high-traffic pages, and will help improve conversions. Understanding these KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will enable you and your agency to identify both pain points and areas of success. In turn, this data will enable you to make continuous refinements to your website.
You want to have fun with your interactive agency
Building a great website is vital to your business’s growth and success—but it’s not easy. For many companies, launching a new site can be a nail-biting experience. In a worst-case scenario, it can be downright painful.
We believe that creating a website can and should be an exciting and rewarding learning experience. And it can be downright fun when you select the agency that is right for you!
What kind of interactive agency is best for you?
So how did you respond to the “interactive agency checklist” 10 items above?
If they reflect your company’s style and personality, you’ll want to bring on an interactive agency like Ladybugz Interactive (Boston, MA + San Diego).
List requirements and look for a company that is better suited if these don’t suit you.
There is no “one right” way to design a website. So it’s important that you and your agency act in a concerted manner. Our advice: aligned your goals, and embrace and enjoy the process.