Web Design Firm Types

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 23, 2008 8:03:00 PM

    At HubSpot, we get a lot of marketing and web design agencies who fill out demo requests, download our internet marketing kits and use the website grader

    I spoke to a few firms today. I spoke to some firms that are our partners who are very good and I spoke to some firms that are not very good - who aren't.

    I think I've figured out the buckets that they fall under. So, if you're a web design firm or marketing agency and I send you a link to this post, be prepared to tell me which one you fall under. It'll save us both a lot of time.

    Type 1: www.iknoweverythingaboutinternetmarketing.youcantpossiblyteachmeanythingnew.com
    These guys are the most common. Usually, I get people on the phone and ask them a bit about their business. Then, I get into more specific questions to diagnose what they know or don't know. I ask them how they've done keyword research for search engine optimization, whether they use a content management system to update their website; how they manage pay per click campaigns, etc. Most of these guys say "We do all that". So, I then ask a few questions to determine whether they really know how to do that. Something like, "What tools do you use to do keyword research?" These guys don't usually have an answer because they haven't really done it. They know that they can bullshit their clients about SEO because their clients won't know better. These are the same guys that charge $4k to set up a template and load their email list into Constant Contact. 

    If you asked these guys why they requested info from HubSpot, and they were feeling honest that day,  they'd tell you they are doing competitive intelligence. But, their real reason for downloading our white papers is because they want to make themselves feel good about themselves by concluding that "they know all that".

    If this is you and you want to do business with me, your first step is to admit you have a problem. Then, maybe I'll help you. If you don't want to repent, my goal is to put you out of business. You give all internet marketing professionals a bad name.

    Type2: www.ifwecantbuilditourclientsdontneedit.com These guys are generally techies that build websites. Not marketers. They get more excited about writing C# then figuring out what strategies will generate more traffic to your website. These guys are also doing competitive intelligence. But, they don't have the patience or marketing acumen to actually determine how to build something like HubSpot. So, they'll usually just find a "technical" or "feature" reason to prove to themselves why they are better. They'll ask the question like "Does your service have Widget A?" where widget A is pretty trivial and unimportant in the scheme of "attracting more traffic" or "converting more traffic into leads".

    I don't see any reason for us to talk unless you want to come work as a developer at HubSpot.

    Type3: www.itsnotprettyenoughformyclients.com These are usually the women that come from the marketing and ad agency world. They still have to be reminded of the difference between SEM and SEO. They've just gotten around to recommending email marketing over newspaper ads. They usually advertise that they help their clients with SEO, but their site is built entirely in flash and you will never find their website in the search engines unless you type in their company name. Of course, HubSpot websites can be pretty too. But, "pretty" for "pretty's sake" is not our objective. We help our clients achieve results. And to do that, it's about having a decent design and to focus on content creation, link building, social media, and increasing conversion percentages. Anyway, I just lost you if you're a www.itsnotprettyenoughformyclients.com type because you probably don't want to take the time to learn that stuff.  If you do, just admit you need some help on that side. We can help you still achieve "pretty" for your clients, and add a dash of "results" to the mix.

    Type4: www.icharge$50hour.com/whyshouldtheypaymonthlywhenicanbuildthemasitein20hrs
    If you want someone to take your brochure and put it online, by all means, hire one of these guys. They are usually graphic designer or IT professionals that decided to get into the web design business. They are good at setting up computers or designing brochures. They don't know how to identify your business goals or recommend a solution that helps you use the web to grow your business. They probably aren't too good at designing websites to convert traffic into leads either.

    HubSpot charges a monthly fee because we have 15+ developers working to improve our toolset every day. All of our customers get the benefit of the new capabilities that they develop. You're basically getting the benefit of a bunch of amazing developers helping you build a lot of backend intelligence into your site. We also have an online methodology which prescribes best practices in internet marketing, and you have access to our collective internal expertise through your internet marketing consultant and a client only forum. Our clients have a mini-MBA in online marketing after 6 months of working with us.

    I genuinely feel bad for hourly web workers. I think they don't know better. They are usually just scraping by because they don't do that great of work and/or they don't know how to sell properly. OR they are underselling themselves. Either way, we have a lot of work to do if you want to become world class. Your first step is to start to understand how you can add value to your clients by quoting them fixed cost projects and retainers that add long term value to their business.

    Type 5: www.wepartnerwithothers.com/whohaveexpertise/soweredoingtherightthingsforourclients
    These guys are rare. We have a few partners that are smart and seek outside expertise and tools that can help them help their clients. They realize they can't build everything. They don't pretend to know everything. They are usually very good at making things look pretty, but they don't sacrifice performance. And they only bill hourly for extra stuff after they've developed a good working relationship with clients.

    They are always the more successful firms for some reason.  They care about their clients first and foremost. And you know what... that all comes back to them. Clients come back to them. Clients refer them to other prospects who quickly become clients. They know that doing the right thing for clients is also the right thing for their business.

    If you're one of these firms (or aspire to be), I'd like to talk to you. I can probably help you grow your business AND help you help your clients grow their business. And if we can work that out, I am sure that you'll be able to help me grow mine. Here's how you should get in touch with me.

    Topics: web design

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