How Critical Is The Website To My Ad Agency’s Success?

August 25, 2009


critical website

While the design and usability of your ad agency website is important, it really makes no difference at all if no one is visiting it!

Last week I received an email from the principal of a small agency who is currently in the process of re-branding and re-launching their agency. The purpose of her email was to ask me what other agency websites I could recommend as good examples of best practices. A very reasonable question but, under the circumstances I fear the wrong question altogether.

There is no doubt that most agency websites would benefit from being less complex, easier to navigate, and having less flash among many other things. However, before even getting to the website design and functionality, what about those more important issues like content, message, differentiation, positioning, relevance, targeting etc.

There are so many websites, micro sites, blogs, Interstitials etc. online that the old adage of “if you build it they will come” just does not apply. That’s because they won’t. There seems to be this perspective that borders almost on panic and paranoia, that as an agency you must have a website and it had better be a creative masterpiece. After all, can you really consider yourself an agency if you do not?

The reality is that you will probably be better served spending your time and money working out the best way to deliver value through content and start a dialogue with your target clients through that. Do you have any idea just how many agency websites there are out there that give a laundry list of capabilities, claim to be full service and integrated and have a plethora of client work on show supported by far too much flash? It’s enough to make most clients yawn. In fact, the average number of “real” visitors to an agency website that might have even the most remote possibility of becoming a client is minuscule at best.

My suggestions are:

  • Agencies start thinking about how they could become involved in the environments clients already frequent, versus expecting them to come to theirs.
  • Spend your time and money defining who you are, what you do really well, and targeting those clients who are most likely to be interested in your story.
  • Move your approach away from talking about you and what you have as an agency, to the client and what you know about them and how you can help them succeed like no other agency.
  • Look at providing value through content and starting a dialogue with your target clients, versus creating a self serving online environment that does little else than boost your own self esteem.

Success for ad agencies in the digital world requires more than just having a great website. It requires an informed digital strategy that is well executed. Ultimately the value of your website is determined by how good your marketing communications strategy is.