In the face of what only can be characterized as constant change, agencies everywhere are implementing their own contingency plans. One way to navigate this new landscape is to enhance your agency’s new business development readiness for the eventual economic recovery. A key aspect of that readiness is to ensure that your agency’s website is prospect friendly.
LET’S REVISIT THE BASICS
The agency prospect – like all B2B buyers – has changed in recent years. 90% of prospects start their buying journey with an online search, and 70% of the B2B buying journey happens before a prospect ever identifies themselves. If your website is not prospect friendly, you can exclude yourself from the decision set without ever knowing you were being considered.
WHAT IS A PROSPECT FRIENDLY WEBSITE?
We have evaluated hundreds of agency websites and worked with hundreds of clients to better understand what they are looking for when they evaluate an agency. We have learned that there are three overall principles that characterize a prospect friendly agency website:
- The agency’s positioning is clear and differentiating
- The website is highly functional
- The website is content rich
Let’s define what we mean by each of these principles.
PRINCIPLE 1: THE AGENCY POSITIONING IS CLEAR AND DIFFERENTIATING
What does your agency do, and how is your agency unique?
A differentiating position is critical to your agency and to your website. We have found that strong agency positionings clearly address the following key areas:
- Frame of reference: what kind of agency?
- Philosophy: a definition of how the agency’s work is unique and compelling.
- Process: a repeatable strategic agency process that delivers consistent success.
- Interaction Philosophy: a clear stance on what it is like to work with the agency.
A clearly defined agency frame of reference is the starting point. Nearly 50% of prospects leave a company’s website when it’s not clear what kind of work the firm does. A clear frame of reference identifies:
- The target audience of your clients (i.e. Hispanic, retailers, multicultural, etc.)
- The type of agency you are (i.e. full-service, media, retail, events, etc.)
- The type of work you do (i.e. full-service advertising, digital, social, content, etc.)
For example, DirecToHispanic is a Hispanic retail marketing agency and Harmelin is a media planning and buying agency. It’s clear who they are and what they do.
Once your frame of reference is clear, a strong agency positioning also takes the additional step of defining how your agency is different in ways that are important to your prospects.
A compelling positioning includes:
- Agency Philosophy: This is a guiding philosophy that inspires confidence that the agency’s solutions will be aligned with the client’s expectations. Catalyst Marketing’s Smart Work That Counts does this wonderfully for their Tribal Casino audience.
- Agency Process: The process provides a reason to believe that the agency’s approach will work. DirecToHispanic has the DTH Way: Define, transform, honor.
- Interaction Philosophy: A differentiating philosophy of how the agency works with clients. mcgarrybowen’s Clients Deserve Better is a compelling notion that speaks to what clients are looking for in a relationship.
PRINCIPLE 2: THE WEBSITE IS HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL
Prospect friendly websites are highly functional. After reviewing hundreds of agency websites, we found that addressing the following will make your website much more functional and prospect friendly:
Navigation: Prospect friendly websites have easy to find and easy to navigate menus.
Great Experience: Your site also must be engaging. It needs to be user friendly: readable, viewable and understandable.
Mobile Friendly: It is essential for your websites to be mobile friendly. 80% of B2B buyers use mobile at work.
Search Friendly: Marketers begin their agency research with search. It is imperative that your site is built and maintained with SEO in mind.
PRINCIPLE 3: THE WEBSITE IS CONTENT RICH
Prospect friendly websites provide the critical information that prospects need in order to make informed decisions. The agency website needs to provide the information noted below in easy to find and clear manner.
- Capabilities: Give users confidence that you are experts in each area (balance brevity and clarity).
- Experience: Provide an easily sortable list so prospects can easily find experience that’s relevant to them.
- Case Studies: Demonstrate how you have solved similar challenges for other clients.
- News & Awards: Provide confidence and credibility through independent third-party recognition.
- Contact Information: Make it easy for prospects to find and contact you directly.
- Thought Leadership: Provides prospects insight into your thinking while demonstrating your expertise.
- Fact Sheet: Make it easy for prospects to find and share key information they need.
ENHANCED AGENCY READINESS – THE PROSPECT FRIENDLY WEBSITE
Prospects start their search and buying journey well before you interact with them. A prospect friendly website is a key element of a successful business development program. If your agency has under-utilized resources during this downturn, we recommend that you review the prospect friendliness of your website and put plans in place to enhance the prospect’s experience.