Content Marketing, Mobile and Tablet Marketing, Search Marketing, , WordPress

10 Things Your Agency Missed That Continue to Hurt Your Business

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing a workshop with the regional National Speakers Association, led by Karl Ahlrichs. For public speakers, it’s critical to have a great web presence and the majority of the attendees were surprised to find some huge gaps in their strategy.

Most of this is because the industry has changed considerably… and most agencies haven’t kept up. If you simply put up a website, it’s like opening a store in the middle of nowhere. It may be beautiful, but it’s not going to get you any customers. Here are 10 features your agency must include when developing your site:

  1. Content Management System – it’s ridiculous for agencies to hold their clients hostage anymore for updates and edits when so many fantastic content management systems are around. Content management systems allow you to add to and edit your site as you wish, when you wish. Your agency should be able to apply your design around virtually any robust content management systems’ theming engine.
  2. Search Engine Optimization – if your agency doesn’t understand the basics of search engine optimization, you need to find a new agency. It’s like building a site with no foundation. Search engines are the new phone book… if you’re not in it, don’t expect anyone to find you. I’d push that they should even be able to help you with identifying some targeted keywords.
  3. Analytics – you should have a basic understanding of analytics and how to see what pages and what content your visitors are concentrating on so you can improve your site over time.
  4. Blogging and Video – blogging will provide your company with a means of communicating news, answer frequently asked questions and share successes with your prospects and clients as well as provide them with a means of following, via subscriptions, and communicating in return. Your feed should be publicized on every page. Video will add a ton to your site – it makes explanations of difficult concepts much easier as well as provides a great introduction to the people behind your company.
  5. Contact Form – Not everyone is going to want to pick up the phone and call you, but they will often write you through your contact form. It’s safe and it’s simple. They don’t even need to program it… they can simply get you an account with online form builder,Formstack , and you’ll be up and running!
  6. Mobile Optimization – Your site should look great on a mobile device. It’s simple to develop a mobile CSS (stylesheet) that enables mobile visitors to browse your site, find your location, or click a link to make a phone call.
  7. Twitter – Your agency should build a compelling background for your Twitter page that matches the branding of your site. They should also integrate your blog using a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically tweet your blog updates. Your agency should also integrate twitter to your site, either through a simple social icon or by displaying your latest activity on your site.
  8. Facebook – Your agency should also apply your brand to a custom Facebook page and integrate your blog through the use of notes or Twitterfeed.
  9. Landing Pages – Well-designed Calls-To-Action on your site will provide a path to engagement for your visitors and a landing page will convert them into customers. Your agency should discuss options with you on how to drive leads through every page of your website – through demos, whitepapers, more information forms, ebooks, downloads, trials, etc. that collect contact information in return.
  10. Email Marketing – Visitors of your website are not always ready to buy… some of them may want to stick around for a while before they decide to purchase. A weekly or monthly newsletter that discusses relevant and timely information can be just the trick. Your agency should have you up and running with a branded email with a solid email service provider, like CircuPress. Your blog content can even drive automated daily emails through their system so you don’t even have to login!

Some agencies may push back on doing all this work both on and off-site… I don’t care. It’s about time they stepped up with their clients and understood that simply pushing a pretty website is not enough. Nowadays, your strategy needs to beyond your site and include social media, search engine optimization, and inbound marketing strategies.

Attention agencies: If you’re not preparing your clients to fully leverage the web, you’re just taking money for a half-ass job. Your clients are relying on you to build them a web presence and strategy that gets them business.

5 Comments

  1. 1

    I kind of thought all this was standard by now. It’s especially unfortunate that some organizations are still not using a real content management system!

  2. 2

    Agree Michael! Unfortunately we still have both Agencies that only work in their niche and don’t understand the business requirements nor the opportunities since they don’t keep up with online trends, search and social media. As well, some of the businesses are to blame – some businesses don’t realize the potential that a great strategy has to offer, so they go shopping for the cheapest site they can buy.

  3. 3

    In a vacuum all of these attributes make sense, and as a web dev company we offer them to our customers, and even more, such as a mobile application if it fits their business model. Unfortunately some businesses look up a blog or having to manage their site as a burden, so many will opt not to go this route. Their point of view is, why stumble around trying to add a new image to our website and get it right for a couple of hours, when I can pay my developer for 15 minutes.

    Recently a friend of mine produced his own website, and when I asked him how long it took, he was not sure but it was over 100 hours of research, training on WordPress and implementation, and re-implementation—okay, if you translate that into his hourly rate as a personal trainer (about $90), that adds up to real money.

    So, while all these aspects do make sense, many business owners, including one I spoke to today, look at blogging etc. as another job, and one they simply don’t have the time to execute on a daily basis. So, if they have their developer do the work and clear it off their to-do list, I don’t call that being held hostage–I call that an intelligent use of time management.

  4. 4

    Totally agree, Preston. My issue is that Agencies don’t even discuss the opportunity for their clients to blog and evaluate whether or not it’s a viable strategy. That’s unfortunate.

  5. 5

    Yeah, well each one of these points should be discussed and reviewed–to omit offering them is an enormous mistake. Sometimes it seems like I want to beg customers to go down the SMM road, but most businesses I encounter still don’t want to touch it–only when someone who is not ‘selling’ implementation of the services shows them what can result, say a friend, do they then show interest.

    I think to find an edge in this economy, each of these points is a must for ANY business, but unfortunately there are still companies out there that have first generation websites that cry out for landing pages, calls to action, and a blog–yet the business owners say “I don’t get business from the Internet.” Well, lol, no wonder… 😉

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