We’re still in lockdown here, providing tasty content for you stay-at-home cats. Today we’re talking about how to get the best out of your agency. All too often, people come to us asking for a new website, or a new this, or a new that, because they think it will solve all their business problems.
The issue with this approach is that the solution they believe they need is not always the solution that will work. They could spend a huge amount of money on something they don’t actually need.
It’s far better to bring a problem or goal to your agency, and trust their expertise to provide you with the best solution for your budget.
If you feel like your business is floundering in these uncertain times, get in your hammock and write down a list of all the problems you face and take it to your agency. They might come up with some really creative answers that you haven’t even thought of.
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What are you reading there Chris?
I’m reading sort of an empty notebook, sadly.
Mine’s slightly better. Mine’s a book my friend sent me actually that he wrote himself. Projection, by Alan Boyce. Thank you very much! I have not read it at all yet, so...
Get on with it!
I’ve been busy! I’ve been busy, Chris. We’ve been busy planning these Monkey Mondays.
Oh yes? Oh well, we have. And the title of today’s one is ‘Don’t Get a New Website, It Could Ruin Your Business’.
Weird thing for a creative agency to say, right?
Yeah, it is a little bit. And the first thing I wanna start off with is that when you’re running a business or running a marketing team or whatever, you don’t need to know all the solutions, you just need to know that there is a problem, right?
Yeah, completely. You used a great analogy, Chris, I loved this one, because it resonated with me. My car is broken at the moment, actually. And when you take your car to the mechanic, you wouldn’t sort of turn up and say, ‘Hey mechanic’ - well, you might do this, but you’d have to have a lot of knowledge about engines I guess - you wouldn’t turn up and say, ‘Hey, my car just keeps cutting out. I want a new fan belt, erm…’ Showing my mechanical knowledge here. ‘Some new spark plugs, and a rocker cover and something else please.’ Because you wouldn’t, it’s ridiculous. You’d go to that mechanic and you’d explain your problems and you’d have the mechanic go away and think about it, and have a look at things for you, and then come back and say, ‘Well, we think it’s this. We think we should replace this, and then everything’s going to be wonderful for you.’
Yeah, and it’s quite a good analogy. You’re the driver, not a mechanic, because they could replace all those bits and really the problem is you haven’t got any wheels. But you don’t know the problem.
And then you get frustrated with that mechanic maybe and take it to another mechanic and ask for some different things from that mechanic - and yet still your car’s not running as you’d expect it to.
Yeah, so, all you need to know is that there’s a problem with your business - in our world anyway, in branding and marketing - so if you know there’s a problem, then you go to a marketing and branding agency, and tell them that there’s a problem, and what it is. And then let them help you come up with a solution. Because we’ve seen many many companies over the years, so we’ve seen many many problems, like the mechanic has. He goes, ‘Ah, that’s, you just need to do a bit more social media and you just need to engage more with your clients,’ and then that problem will go away. It’s quite straightforward for them, but it’s only a one-off problem you’ve got down your end.
Yeah, I think it’s really hard to see as well, and actually most businesses, if you are like a marketing manager or something like that, you’ll have quite a lot of knowledge as well, so it’s difficult with the mechanic analogy as well because you probably know already how to do loads of stuff on your car, but it’s still not working. So we see marketing managers and marketing directors, and they have really great knowledge, they’re really across some stuff - no-one can really be across everything, and that’s why you need a team and you might have a great internal team, but having somebody come in from the outside and understand your problems, offer a different perspective can be really valuable.
Yep, definitely. And I would say beware of like a big web company who just farm out websites because they’ll be happy to take the engine out of your car and fit a new one, even if it doesn’t need changing. They’d be happy to take that money and just go away. So what I would say is look for that good mechanic that-- we can all describe a great mechanic; someone who’s honest, who’s gonna tell you the real problem, who’s gonna give you a decent price. And you can translate that into a good web company. So yes, an honest bunch of people who will be creative with the solutions that they come up with. You know, it’s pretty straightforward stuff, at the end of the day. And it also takes the risk away from you as a marketing manager. So if you’re a marketing manager, it’s obviously going to be better to have ten people think about a problem that you’ve got than you come up with something, you try it, it fails, then what do you do next? Because the risk is now going up and up because you've now got to come up with something else and try and get that past the board, but well that thing last week didn’t work very well. So it’s good to pass on the risk to people like us who’ve also seen stuff before.
Yeah, I think that’s great advice, Chris. And even if it’s not leaning on an agency, just leaning on your team as well. Because lots of SMEs they have those smaller teams and sharing that with those guys, giving them loads of responsibility and value behind this stuff could be useful. And they might know people and… Just don’t try and do everything yourself, I think is one of the key things to take out of this, because if you try and have all knowledge of everything, you’ll end up with small knowledge and not enough to be able to be an expert in what you need to be - which is your company, right? Because while we can offer great advice, or your team might be able to offer great advice, or any external party or consultancy might be able to offer great advice around marketing, or around video production, or around branding, or creative communication, or better systems or automation or any of those things, none of them are going to understand your business as well as you do. So you really want your focus to be on understanding your business, your customers and really try and lean on those people that can bring you real value on the stuff that you don't need to worry about too much. It’s a bit like, you know, if you’re gonna pay an agency, an external company, to look after your paid advertising, what you kind of want from them is an idea of how well those campaigns are running - you kind of want any idea of how the return on investment is going, and engagement is going. You probably don’t wanna sit there and have to analyse every single advert and understand the target demographics and all of the complexity of managing something in Google Ad Manager or Facebook advertising, or whether the pixels are properly installed on your site and the tracking’s in place - you don’t want to be bogged down with the horror show of all that detail, what you want is to look at these top-level things, and have them communicated back to you really well.
Yeah, I mean it would be much easier for you in business just to say, ‘We’re not getting enough enquiries through. Can you help?’ And then we, or a good marketing agency, can come up with a suite of proposals that will fill your order books and help engage with your customers. I mean there’s also a lot of pressure from people inside business to say, ‘Ooh, our website’s really old, and that must be the fix to everything,’ whereas actually some companies benefit from not having a website and they do all their business elsewhere. And for some businesses the website is the answer. So it’s a tricky thing. I would definitely go with just spend more time coming up with the problems you’ve got in your business - you don’t have enough leads, you don’t convert enough leads - rather than trying to come up with all the solutions on your own.
Yeah, exactly. ‘I’m getting too many bad reviews.’ You know, these things are really powerful things to go to your ‘mechanic’ with, and say, ‘Here is the issue I have - how can I improve this?’ Ooh, quick story, actually. Why not. Storytime, Chris.
Yeah, go on then.
I’ll get my book out. I had some - I might have told this story before on a vlog. Who knows? - but I had a customer, potential customer, ring up and say, ‘I want a new website.’ And so I did what we normally do. I said, ‘Why? Why do you want a new website?’ She says, ‘Well I’ve got this three-page thing over here, it’s built in Wix, and it’s not bringing me any business.’ So after asking ‘why’ a few times, I kind of understood what she was trying to do. And she was actually trying to do some thought-leadership. That was basically her service to people, was thought-leadership in business. And I quickly realised that she didn't have a huge amount of budget, and while we could have done that thing you suggested, just been that mechanic and gone, ‘Okay yes, here you go, here’s your new website for £2,000. If that’s what you’ve got, here what we can give you for that.’ Which wouldn’t be very much and probably wouldn't have been a heck of a lot better than what she’d already kinda cobbled together to be fair. I doubt it would have performed any better. So what I encouraged her actually to do is not to have a website at all, because everything she’s trying to do really is selling herself as a person, and actually she could probably do a lot better with that budget through learning how to put some vlogs together, spending some time and money on getting places where she could speak and actually do some thought-leadership, filming them, sharing the content, building her audience, advertising on social media, creating engagement, all through social media. She maybe just didn’t need a website at all. Or keep what she has, it’s fine. She just needs to get the right people to it. So I think that’s a really good case of somebody-- you know, a website could have just ruined her business because it would have taken up all of her budget and achieved absolutely nothing.
Yeah, and it’s amazing how many people are willing to take that money off those kind of clients, and then after they’ve got their pushed-up figure - if she had £2,500, they’d go, ‘Well, you’ll only get a decent website for about £4,000…’ - and then after that’s failed and they go, ‘Well, let’s try another up-sell,’ and they’ll take more and more money. And it’s sort of scammy, I feel.
Yeah, ‘You need some ecommerce on there, that’ll help you. People don’t wanna just fill in… let’s build an ecommerce site.’ ‘No, you need massive amounts of online marketing to get people there.’ It can be nefarious I agree.
Yep, so you need to find an ethical agency. I wonder where those are. Here! Here!
To be honest, there are loads out there. We know some really great agencies. But I think the ones to look out for are the ones that ask you ‘why’. Why you want to do what you want to do, and to try and drill that down and understand your goals. Goals and budgets, guys. Goals and budgets.
Yep, so after the vlog a couple of week ago where we talked about how the best ideas come in hammocks, I would say this week, get in your hammock, and then think about the problems you’ve got in your business, list them out, and then take them to someone good who can help you out.
If you don’t have a hammock, here’s a link below to an Amazon-affiliated hammock. Yeah, why not.
We can make a fortune.
There probably isn’t a link below. I feel really bad for the guys who put our actual vlogs together. They have to sift through everything we say and add all these links. Here’s a link to free bananas!
And with that in mind, here’s some links to some videos that you might like to watch, and a link to subscribe, which may appear over one of our faces. Who knows?
I’m gonna see if they can position it in my mouth.
Is it big enough? Hmm. See you next week guys.