78% of marketing agencies in our most recent Agency New Business survey (conducted by our sister company, RSW/US) stated that their website was either only “somewhat” or “not at all” fully optimized to help them win new business.

You can download that survey here if you’d like. Some other interesting comments/perspective from agencies about the state of their affairs.

So why does an agency’s website matter?  I tell agencies that “how you look today is a reflection of how you’ll operate tomorrow”…so you need to always be on your game!

If an agency is pushing you to consider the value of content, but they have little of it present on their site, just how important is it really?

And if they are so good at creating great work, why do they make it so hard to find your way around their website?

And if positioning and defining your unique reasons-to-be are critical to the long-term success of your brand, why do I have a hard time figuring out what the agency does or even that they are a marketing agency when I go to their site.

They say their really proud of their work, but do they do a decent job of showcasing it on their site?  I’ve seen thumbnails of work and images of work without really knowing the context of what it is.

And if results are such a big part of their sale to you, do you see a vast wasteland of no results tied to any of the work (or only a limited amount of work) that they do?

And there are case studies.  How well organized are those?  Are they easy to read, to digest – or are they “War and Peace” length or so short and absent of substance that there’s nothing to be gleaned from them?

How an agency’s site looks is so important.  Most marketers first step after learning about an agency is to visit their site.

It’s kind of like the old Head & Shoulders tagline: “You only get one chance to make a first impression”.  Holds true here as well.

If the agency’s site looks like it was built with little strategic thought, you’re probably going to turn it off.  We care so much about how agencies need to present themselves, that we have created an e-book to help agencies build better value sites (which might be of help to you as well).

You can download that website e-book here: Driving New Business Through Better Websites.

How that comes into play when I manage a search for you

If I were working with you to help you find a new agency, the first thing we’d do is define the Scope of Search.  What is it you’re looking for in a new firm?  What kind of challenges are you dealing with from a business and brand standpoint.  How is your current agency helping you address those challenges?  Where are they falling down?  I’ll probe these questions, among others, to paint a clear picture of what kind of agencies make sense for your business.

After agreeing to the written Scope of Search, the very first thing I’ll do is search for agencies that appear to meet this criteria.  We have a database of close to 10,000 agencies (of all types/sizes).  I’ll typically identify about 100 and start by reviewing their sites.

If they market themselves as being strong in a particular category, but there’s little-to-no evidence of it on the site, that doesn’t give me a great warm-fuzzy about the agency.

If they fall down on a number of the things I mentioned above, it’s going to be hard for me to recommend to you that they ought to be considered.

And if the site looks dated (and/or copyright in the footer isn’t current year), I’m going to be hard-pressed to move them to the next level.

It’s the website that paints the initial picture of an agency.  It’s the tool I use initially to take a list of about 100 agencies, down to about 30 that I’ll start interviewing and learning more about.

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

Means that if you decide to manage a search on your own…or you’ve been told you should consider an agency, think about how they are presenting themselves on their site.  Ask yourself if how they look and how their site operates functionally is how you’d want your site or your marketing in general, to present itself to your customer/consumer base.  If the answer is “no” or even a “not so sure”…might be time to move on to the next site of the next firm.

How we can help

If you want some perspective on a potential agency partner, happy to do a deep dive for you.  If you want us to help you with a full-on search, we can do that – at no cost to you.  Our model is set up differently and has been successfully helping marketers like you since 2010.