Having worked for several creative/digital agencies and talked to friends working in other agencies, I’ve come to notice the importance agencies place on the workplace and especially in creating a fun, yet professional and stimulating work environment. At the same time, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of attention that is paid to the websites of these same agencies in comparison to the interior of a studio.
I know it feeds into the old battle between Marketing and the other departments (e.g Sales/Product). The popular believe is that if your product or service is good enough then it does not matter what your online presence or marketing assets in general look like. It is always great to have strong product and service offering and every organisation/agency should aim for this. However, modern buyers are likely to conduct background research on potential suppliers before even engaging in face-to-face and telephone conversations. Your website is now your online brochure, with buyers reviewing your online presence, together with other financial and security checks for large blue-chip buyers, to establish if your agency or company is trust worthy and should be considered as a potential supplier.
You may argue that not all companies/organisations are filled with digital obsessed millennials. Research shows that the gap between older and younger users who use the internet for research is falling each year. In 2011, 86% of 45 to 54 year olds classed themselves recent internet users, this has since increased to 97% in 2018. It is very likely that regardless of whether the key decision maker is a young millennial or a 45 year old they would use the internet to conduct supplier market research.
How to create an engaging online platform
In today’s age it is imperative to have a strong, professional online presence which communicates your company/agency unique selling point(s). Here are 4 key tips on how to create striking and lasting impact online, allowing you to engage your users and achieve real results (if you’re not from an agency this advice can be applied to any website, so hopefully this is useful too.):
- Focus your message: It is great to display all the services and products you offer and all the clients that you have in your portfolio, it is understandable as everyone want to boast about their successes with past clients/products. However, it can very easily confuse the reader, with users for example not being sure of which sector your services/products are suitable for. Focus on a single market if possible and then demonstrate how your agency is best positioned to deliver value for companies/organisations in this market. This can be done through demonstrating your experience, your excellent service or specialist products.
- Tell a story: Users are more engaged when a story is being told. What makes your agency different? Have you done an amazing job on a project and been rewarded with an award? If the answer to these questions is yes, then share this.
- Create a captivating design for your homepage: Great visual design involves the creative use images, colours, shapes and typography to create compelling messages, so utilise these. Don’t be sacred to use engaging content such as video to tell your agency’s story, people are more likely to watch a video which features real people, is witty and utilises animation than read long pages filled with text. You don’t have to be a video production agency to do this. Keep the design short and to the point and navigation be minimal. I recently worked on a creation of the online platform for the PestEx, the UK’s largest trade conference for Pest Control specialists. You can see how the items we have chosen to be included on the homepage strongly demonstrate the benefits of attending the conference.
- Invest in engaging content and search engine optimisation: In today’s crowded online ecosystem marketing agencies are competing with other agencies in their region but also nationally and with online platforms such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly and many other out-of-the-box website suppliers. Engage with an online content and SEO specialist to create engaging content and get your website to rank higher.
Avoid the following:
- Too much text: A long homepage with a lot of text is makes for poor user-experience and should be avoided, bounce rates for homepages which are high in text are likely to be very high. Keep this text for the internal pages.
- Not responsive: More and more internet users are now accessing websites on mobile and this trend will become the norm over the next few years. To create a future-proof online platform which your visitors can access on mobiles, tablets and desktop ensure your website is fully responsive. Google now also prefers fully responsive websites, so this will assist in ranking your website higher on search engines.
- No social media presence: If you do not already have a some sort of social media presence you should be on social media (this includes LinkedIn). Social Media is fantastic for raising awareness of your brand and services and can be good source of referrals. Link your social media accounts to your website, this way you can direct traffic from your Twitter/Facebook accounts to your website where you can encourage potential clients to view your portfolio page or contact your team to discuss a project.
Oliver Agency are a good example of an agency which has achieved a good balance between getting a clean homepage and not missing out on showcasing their work. You can instantly tell that they work with major brands such as BMW and Pepsi. They’ve incorporated high-resolution images into their homepage, as well as social media and the latest updates from their blog. Nonetheless, they could have gone further and explain more about what they by incorporating their unique selling point, as outlined on their Approach page (they embed a part of their team inside the client’s marketing team) onto the homepage. Thus achieving something more along the lines of what Recipe have realised with their homepage.
Apply some of the above advice and let me know if you found it works for you.
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