Selecting a Website Design and Marketing Agency Partner in the Vancouver/Portland Metro

Selecting a Website Design and Marketing Agency Partner in the Vancouver/Portland Metro

Maybe you’re starting a new business. Perhaps you’ve been around a while and you’re looking for some website and marketing help. It can be difficult to understand where to start or whom to look for. My hope is that this guide helps you find a suitable long-term partner.

Building a business is stressful and time-consuming. It’s what you think about day and night of every week of every year. Trust me, I know.

So when it comes to expanding and growing portions of your business, you rely on partners to help you through various stages of growth.

Let’s get into it. After 16-plus years in the agency world, here’s my no-bullsh*t take on what you should look for in an agency.

NOTE: These opinions are my own, and let’s chop it up on Twitter or LinkedIn 😅

The Guide to Selecting a Suitable Website Design and Marketing Agency

Not everything in this guide is about the agency; some of it is about you, too, because, after all, this is a partnership.

Educate Yourself and Know What You Want

Before you get too deep into the weeds with an agency search, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Do you need a website, a logo, branding, search engine optimization, etc.? You won’t have all the answers. But be mindful that diving in without a clearer idea (just clearer, not a complete idea) of what you’re looking for might lead you to a range of estimates, upsells, etc.

Know Your Budget

Have an idea of the investment you can put towards marketing and website design services. Pricing from agencies will vary drastically in the metro area — from extremely low-cost to extremely expensive. The answer is somewhere in between.

Knowing what your budget is empowers you to have better conversations. This will potentially save you time and avoid situations where you receive estimates 300% above your available budget. Perhaps you don’t have more than $10,000 available for both a new website and marketing.

Are They Going for The Sale or the Relationship?

This is hard to ascertain, but when you meet with an agency, ask yourself: Are they learning about me, my business, and my goals? Are they aligning themselves with you in a way that feels supportive and legitimately interested? How much pressure are they applying? Are their messages rushed and full of typos? Do they respond quickly? Are you feeling good?

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself throughout the process.

Trust and Past Experiences

Sometimes we can get mystified by presentations, logos, and accolades. Those things are important because they tell you a bit about the agency. But logos without context don’t tell you a whole lot.

For example, Taco Bell might have been a past client, but did the agency manage a full marketing campaign or did they design a sticker? Both are valuable, although it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of where the agency performs best.

For example, we’ve won several awards for marketing and design work. That’s super cool. But what’s even better is knowing exactly why and/or how we won an AMA Max Award for a search engine optimization campaign.

The Value Exchange

Make sure what you’re getting has a reasonable amount of value built in. A $50,000 website project that has five pages is basically highway robbery. The site itself has value, but for the cost of two Ford cars, you can probably find a better fit for you elsewhere.

Websites are expensive, but pricing depends on what you’re looking to achieve and where you are today. A baseline five-page website designed and developed by an experienced team will run about $6,000 or more. A larger, more complex, 1,000-page site could be anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000 and more.

A site done right — and not reliant on dozens of plugins, third-party themes, etc. — gives you something you can build on top of for the long term.

The Process and Scheduling

Projects are complicated, and every single one is different. However, the process should be very clear and very concise. Our website projects, for example, break down into four primary phases: strategy, design, build, and release.

Agencies take ownership of projects and their flow through their internal systems. Things aren’t always perfect, so prepare for risk and some sliding schedules, since agencies are businesses, too. However, if you see a slew of reviews online referring to “timeline,” then there might be a pattern, and it’s good to get some understanding from your potential agency partner as to how the project might go.

Klout Chasing or Legitimate Support

Some of the best agencies and business development professionals know how to help you grow, and they’ll look for options that best fit your needs. They won’t push products you don’t need; oftentimes, they’ll convince you not to purchase certain services because they won’t drive as much impact.

Wrapping Up

I hope you found this guide helpful. It can be overwhelming to dive into the digital world by building out a new online presence and marketing campaign. The right partner can reduce your stress and help you grow in healthy ways for years on end.

As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you again next time.