The Client Said: ‘Agency Websites Are Terrible’! (Unfortunately, We Agreed).

 

With laptops open and a lively discussion underway recently, a client asked us where to look on an agency website for the information she was looking for.

In that particular instance, the client was looking for support for the long-list of agencies she wanted to put before her Agency Selection Committee. With multiple choices in-hand, said client was trawling through an array of irrelevant content in an effort to find the detail she needed to provide context and verification for her choices.

In one instance, the agency home page was so confusing, the client asked how the agency could even be a realistic consideration if their own site was virtually unintelligible. There were no clear links to relevant content, navigation was ‘creative’ but unintuitive, way too much focus on describing how smart they were and no obvious connection to the content that a potential client might be looking for.

Agencies, take note!

If a client – or perhaps search consultant – has landed on your website, chances are they’re looking for a very high level overview of who you are – not a barrage of video content, television commercials and client websites that demonstrate your creativity. Yes, that may come later, but typically, first blush, vital statistics should encompass the following:

 

1. A list of major clients

Why? At this stage a long-list selection is likely around clients that may be a conflict and perhaps a search for relevant industry expertise. It’s not about a drilling into creative (yet) in place of a list – it’s just not helpful. In fact it’s distracting.

 

2. Offices

Why? Typically clients (or search consultants) just need to know if you can service their needs in whatever market they’re searching for.

 

3. Size

Why? It gives an instant sense of scale as to whether the agency is too small (or perhaps to big) for a client’s needs. Criteria around size comes up more often than one might suspect. Some clients have minimum revenue criteria, others cannot represent more than a certain percentage of an agency’s billing, while others want to make sure they’ll be a big fish in a smaller pond. Size matters!

 

4. Areas of expertise

Why? A search is typically prompted by a specific need. In many cases that today that need is often around digital. So spelling out your broad areas of expertise will only help.

 

5. Contact

Why? Well, hopefully this needs no explanation. But you’d be surprised how many agencies make this difficult. A specific name, Email and a phone number is typically what’s needed at this stage.

 

We’re not saying this is all a client might be looking for – of course not. But in doing an initial pass (particularly if no agency search consultant is involved and the client is unfamiliar with the market), then agencies need to make their clients, offices, size, expertise and yes, who to talk to, easy to find.

For clients not wanting to leave their selection process to trawling through websites, we maintain a database on most full service, digital, PR, content and media agencies across Canada.  Any agencies not included are welcome to register here.

 

Stephan Argent is a founding partner of LE RICHE ARGENT, Canada’s leading Agency Search and Media Management consultancy. Read more like this on our blog ‘Marketing Unscrewed’. Follow me on Twitter @StephanArgent

Photo: Tim Green