WOOF! Newsletter

October 13, 2022

7 Keys to Getting the Best Results Out of Your Web Design Agency

Contracting an agency to assist with your company’s web design and branding makes a lot of sense. It helps you get the professional results you need to rank in today’s competitive online environment. How do you make sure you get the best results from your agency partner? Follow these 7 tips!


When it's time to redesign your website, you have a lot of factors to consider. Budget, look/feel, messaging, marketing strategy, promotion...not to mention the agency who helps you create it!

The good news is:  a qualified and experienced agency can make everything much easier on you. All it takes is a little planning & coordination.

PlanetMagpie’s Creative Lab has completed hundreds of web design and branding projects over the years. These projects have run the gamut from fresh starts to rebuilds, repeat customers to rescuing a floundering project.

In that time, we’ve taken note of the practices that have led to our most successful projects.  Today we share them with you!


The 7 Keys to Getting the Best Results


Key 1

Be Open to a New Story of You.

A good branding / web design agency will seek to discover what is unique about your company so they can position you to best advantage in your industry.  They may refresh your company’s personality in their web designs, write authentic-feeling and customer-focused copy, update your tagline, and even update your logo.  It can be a little uncomfortable for companies to embrace the idea of a new digital representation of themselves.  Be open and a little daring.  You need to stand out from your competitors, not blend in. Don’t settle for run of the mill . . . aim for Best in Show!  The new digital YOU will be a big boost to your employees, too. They will take more pride in where they work, and even try to reflect the company values reflected in the new digital story of you!


Key 2

Meet in Person for the Kick-off Meeting, Even If It Requires a Flight.

It's hard to discover game-changing ideas via phone calls or video conferencing. With your decision-makers and the agency's creative professionals in the same room together, it's much easier. In a project launch meeting, writers and designers don't just hope to learn objectives and technical requirements. They get to know your company’s personality and hidden values. Without getting to know you, they can’t persuasively tell your story.  Include your key decision-makers and influential company staff in the project launch meeting.  Having the meeting at your office is the easiest way to accomplish this and can even allow for a facility tour for your agency!  Another benefit—positive personal relationships will develop between your staff and your new agency, and your agency will feel more of a stake in your success because now they know you personally.


Key 3

After the Kick-Off Meeting, Assign a Single Qualified Team Member to be the Agency’s Primary Contact.

Once the project is underway, who's in charge of communicating with the agency?  This makes a huge difference. Having a single "primary contact" keeps communication steady and will keep your team from communicating conflicting information to the agency, thus saving you time, money, and frustration. Ideally, the primary contact should be someone who has been with the company for several years, has experience in previous marketing efforts, and has a good rapport with all key decision makers.  That person can stay on top of your company’s needed deliverables and make sure the project doesn’t grind to a halt waiting on feedback or content.


Key 4

When Giving Design Feedback, Provide Goals Not Explicit Instructions.

Senior creative professionals have years of experience as high-level problem solvers. When creating material for the website, they can provide solutions in two ways:  targeting the customer's end goals, or following the customer's explicit instructions.  Unfortunately, explicit instructions don't always convey the reason behind the change. They can disrupt other design elements throughout the website if followed blindly.  Working from expressed client goals allows designers to use their problem-solving skills, often leading to more effective results.  For example, "we would like the logo to be more prominent" vs. "please increase the size of the logo 25%." The “goal” approach is ideal for all of the creative work involved in building a website—navigation choices, user interface style, illustration, photography, typography, and copywriting.


Key 5

Provide Requested Assets as Early as Possible.

Your agency will likely request assets right at the start. From logo images and style guides to high-resolution photos of your team, facility or products, all of these can be essential for progress.  They may also need access to website hosting accounts, analytics accounts, third-party applications, etc.  Provide these as soon as possible to enable the agency to move the project forward.  Stalls can be dangerous on web design projects, since good agencies are busy places and they may need to jump on another project while awaiting your assets, resulting in project delays.


Key 6

Remember, Content is Still King.

Unless you have an excellent copywriter on staff, avoid trying to write your own copy.  Most agencies have professional copywriters on staff who know how to write copy that persuades, keeps the focus on the reader, and contains the SEO keywords you need to rank in the search engines. Your new site can be beautiful, easy to navigate, mobile friendly, and have a great UX . . . but if the content isn't as polished as the rest of the site, it may fail to convert visitors to customers.  While websites don’t need as much content as they used to in order to rank in the search engines, it pays to hire professionals for content writing. They understand what it takes to rank in search engines, without disrupting the readers' ability to understand what you offer.


Key 7

Aim for Visual Authenticity.

The availability of stock photography has helped businesses save money on custom photography and videos in a big way.  Everyone now has access to professional high-res, well-lit images that can represent them on their website.  However, how many times have you looked at images on a website and thought…these people do not work there.  Those are stock photos.  On the other hand, how many times have you visited a website and felt more comfortable with a company by seeing images of the actual team who runs the show?  Exactly.  Using actual images of your team and your company shows visitors that the company has real people invested in its success and that conveys trust.  Often you don’t even need a professional photographer to create authentic images of your company. An employee adept at digital photography, even with an iPhone, can take some very effective photos.  Work with your agency to facilitate the best approach for the project and your budget.  The point is, now more than ever, people want personal connection.  Aim for presenting your company's best authentic self on your website, and you will beat the generic stock photography competitor every time.

Get More Value out of Your Digital Marketing, By Getting the Most from Your Design Agency

Have a new branding or web design project coming up?  Give PlanetMagpie's award-winning Creative Lab team a call at (510) 344-1200!

Doreyne Douglas, Creative Lab Team Lead