With laptops open and a lively discussion underway last week, a client asked me where to look on an agency website for the information she was looking for.
In this instance, the client was looking for a long-list of agencies to put before her Agency Selection Committee and 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 content, navigation was unintuitive, lots of 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 – even investors) has landed on your website, chances are they’re looking for a very high level overview of who you are – not a barrage of television commercials or websites that demonstrate your creativity. (Yes, that may come later!) Typically, first blush, vital statistics will encompass:
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 drilling into creative (yet) in place of a list – it’s just not helpful. In fact it’s distracting.
Why? Typically clients (or search consultants) just need to know if you can service their needs in whatever market or markets (perhaps domestic and international) they’re searching for.
Why? It gives an instant sense of scale as to whether the agency is too small (or perhaps too 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 today, that need is often around digital. So spelling out your broad areas of expertise will only help.
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.
I’m not saying this is all a client (agency search consultant or even investor) 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 and easy to digest.
There are (unfortunately) all too many examples of where this just doesn’t happen. But rather than focus on the negative, I’ll go out on a limb with an example of an agency which (in my view) does it right:
Agencies: Please. And thank you.