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    28 Replies Latest reply on Jul 17, 2008 3:08 PM by Iwrite

    Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.

    Iwrite Pioneer
      I was talking to an art director I work with on a couple of projects and he asked me, "why don't you have your site up yet?"

      "Don't need one, how many clients or projects have you gotten from your website?" I reply.

      "Well, none yet. But you've got to have a website," he comes back.

      "Why?" I ask, "if you aren't getting any business from your site, why do you 'have" to have one?"

      I thought his head was going to explode, so I let him off the hook.

      "Look, what do you tell clients about designing a website? That they only get one opportunity to make a first impression. Well, as busy as I am I haven't had the time to design a website that I would put my name on. I know what I want it to be and I am not settling for anything less. That's what we tell clients all the time - never settle. Shouldn't we follow our own advice?"

      I have his head nodding, so I continue...

      "What would happen after I have met with a potential client and presented my portfolio of all the beautiful work that I have done, talked to him or her about helping them grow their business with smart and innovative solutions that work, and then I leave them with a business card, some samples, a leave behind gift that is really nice. And after I am gone, they go to a website I have put up that does not reflect or meet the quality that I have just spent time personally conveying to them. What will they think if they see a crappy website? Be honest. What would you think?" I press.

      The light comes on. "I would think something isn't right here. This can't be the website for the person I just met with," he says, "Oh, my God!! I've got to take my website down!"

      We both laugh. Later that day, his website is down. He has a placemat up that explains why there is no site. It conveys a message of pride in the quality of the work he produces, it shares his passion for great design. Any he hasn't lost a client. Imagine that. In fact, he has pick up a couple more.

      He is not too happy with me, he had that bad website up for months before this discussion, but it is hard to tell someone their baby is ugly.

      I have been asked why I don't have up a website, and I tell people - until I can create something that accurately reflects my passion and drive, I don't need one. Clients for advertising agencies do not come through websites, advertising is about relationships. I explain my passion, I communicate my drive and thinking, but most of all I practice what I preach - I do not produce crap, I don't compromise on what I think is best for my clients. My standards are not negotiable.

      The image you put forth is everything. What does the look and feel of your marketing say about your business? High end items should not have cheap looking marketing, that's why jewelry comes in those really nice boxes.

      What does your marketing say?

      I think I have said this before but I felt like it needed to be said again - I needed to hear it anyway.
        • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          I was wondering about that . . .
            • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
              Iwrite Pioneer
              Me too, I can't take time away from projects that I am working on to work on my materials. One of the pitfalls of trying to work full-time while building your business. I am working on a splash page. Also, it is like having a doctor for a patient or a lawyer for a client - I am trying not to but I am a bad client because of what I know.
                • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                  Iwrite Pioneer
                  My apologies, there was a question buried in this rambling:

                  What does your marketing look like?

                  While I am at it:

                  Does it really matter what your marketing looks like for the business you are running, will people buy what you are offering no matter what?

                  Can really nice marketing materials help with funding issues?

                  Yes, they are loaded questions but I am trying to spark a discussion.
                    • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger
                      Iwrite, I don't think my core business (management consulting) is representative of most business operations in this community, but here are my answers to your questions just the same:

                      My marketing usually looks like (and is) a proposal. New business "leads" always arrive in one of two ways: (1) a formal RFP (Request for Proposal) to provide a specific program or service, or (2) an email inquiry that asks something like, "Can you do this for us, and if so, how much would it cost?" So I'm already on someone's "short list" when they first see any "marketing" materials that I have control over -- and sure, a professionally-written and nicely-packaged proposal definitely has a positive influence on the buying decision (and on funding within that context).

                      Being on someone's "short list" means they've already decided that I might be the right person to help them get where they're trying to go before we've ever met. I'm convinced that most business owners and managers make that decision based on credible evidence, not on a consultant's marketing or advertising pieces. So I try to provide a lot of credible evidence in a wide variety of mediums (including participation in communities like this).

                      I very rarely have control over how the final product "looks" in any of those mediums, so my focus has to be on the content. I try to be informative, relevant, and accurate. I do think it matters (I don't believe that people would bother to contact me or consider that I might be able to help their business if all I shared with the world were a bunch of canned responses, recycled blogs, 20-year-old "how-to" articles, or erroneous or misleading advice). That's a point you've made in other posts -- for someone providing professional services, what you actually DO tends to speak a lot louder than what your marketing folks SAY you do.

                      As for my websites, they were designed to enable communication and collaboration (internally and with clients), and to provide a way for people to find me and get in contact. They aren't there to move product out the door.

                      As I said, not the typical model. I wouldn't have posted this, except you're in a professional services field, too -- so it seemed applicable.
                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                          Iwrite Pioneer
                          Lighthouse, thank you.

                          You make some great points. I really believe your comment about being on someone's short list applies to every business - we should all want to be one the short list when it comes to a customers buying decisions, no matter what we are selling.

                          Your point about being credible and a source of helpful information is dead on also. Even if you are not in a professional service business, being this source can help any business. For you and I, it is the foundation of our businesses, but for someone making puzzles or selling pizzas or creating jewelry it is about establishing a relationship with customers by providing more than a physical product. That is a great insight that a lot of us can use.

                          Thanks!
                  • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                    snipperred Scout
                    Hi there Iwrite and Lighthouse. Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

                    I agree you should do what is appropriate and what works for your market. Showing your ability by taking exception to conventions is one way to set yourself apart. I can tell from your post I already like your style! I happen to be a bit outside the box, so let me offer some counterpoints for the discussion.

                    If you can do an incredible website that shows your quality, then you should. Saying that you choose not to do something will not impress everyone. I share many of your standards and hold to a maxim of "Those who can...do." I assume you are in a position to want more business because you have some clients and work full-time.

                    I imagine you intend to be a creative/ functional director to your site but will require specialist help for the quality application you require. Hopefully you can find that specialist to work with you to the same standard of excellence you provide to your own clients. A RFP placed into a handful of strategic forums might yield quotes, work samples, and reference to ...websites!

                    Perhaps you are stuck in one of those closed loops like you need credit to make credit. However, if you are already amassing clientelle and results that speak for themselves, then you have got the lifeblood of your business down. So the questions are:

                    How much will it cost you to get the specialized service you probably need and/or take the time to produce your site? What ROI can you project with a site that sets you apart from the competitive online market?

                    I think the question that brought you to your reaffirmation (you are bettter of without a run of the mill site) is worth scrutinization in itself. It represents a market sample and hints at just how close the internet markets are to your business. The great things about internet advertising have to be niche distinction, local social/ geographic limitation bypass, and connection to clients who are proactive with/ believe in the medium.

                    So...I guess we wonder if we are special enough, can we do business online, and can we do more business whether locally or remotely by engaging an internet audience- i.e. how much business is going to services such as yours through web traffic?

                    Personally speaking, the risks/ rewards make sense for me. I have done some extensive research to find services comparable to my own "in development". Dissappointingly, what I usually find out there is run of the mill and easily disqualifiable in my opinion- like I think you are saying. The good news is that represents an opportunity- for the time being at least! What sets people apart to me so far is anything that actually convinces me they are actually doing the work to the satisfaction of real clients, demonstrate their expertise by way of their site design and engagement with the online community, and are successful enough at what they do to be able to afford to do so.

                    Based on your involvement in this forum, your intelligent commentary, and accepting a premise your business is being conducted and is that good...sounds like a good website could only improve upon your success. Your current way of doing business will be a major compliment to any website you produce and should be incorporated in the design whenever you decide you can move forward on it. I look forward to taking a look at who you are and what you can do.

                    Thanks again for the intriguing discussion. Your approaches validates some of my own shared views.

                     


                    1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                        Iwrite Pioneer
                        Welcome to the conversation. Wow. Let's see if I can get this response right:

                        First , I believe in interactive advertising, like I believe in all other forms of advertising - it is what I do. I will have a site up, but it will not compromise my standards for what I think a site should be. However, I recognize that for the clients I am trying to go after, a website is not the deciding factor. The same is true for most advertising agencies - they get clients through contacts, invitations to pitch (RFP's), and creative reputation. There are other factors but these are some of the big ones. To me, a site that sets me apart really serves as validation that the skill level of the agency is what we claim it is.

                        I try to be honest in my advice to my clients - the internet is not always the solution for every business. 30 years ago, everyone needed to be in the yellow pages, but that really wasn't true. I recently worked on a freelance project where an agency was pitching a 100+ million dollar account. Do you really believe the client found the agencies they were considering by looking at their websites? No. I want to play in that arena.

                        Second, I am a lot more selective about who I will work with. Client/agency relationships tend to be long-termed and heavily engaged, it has to be a good match for both parties. I am not looking for huge budgets as much as I am looking for great clients, the two are not the same.

                        I have been blessed to have a career where I worked for some great advertising agencies where it was all about the quality of the work they produced for the clients. I learned from professionals who were proud and passionate about the art of advertising and how it can grow a business. They taught me to get wrapped up in the client's success, to really beleive in the accounts we are working on. I learned to that there is a skill and an art to what I do. they showed me that you can be passionate about your gift and make a living doing it. I love advertising. I can do a lot of things but this is what I love doing. Clients need to understand and appreciate that this is the type of agency they will be working with.

                        It is so hard to develop a site that conveys this passion. I see sites every day that really fall short. For some reason, we try to remove the emotions from a site, when we should be trying to cram as much emotion and passion in them as possible.

                        Truth be told, I am ready. I have access to some really good art directors and writers. I could do open my agency tomorrow - I have all the resources I need. All but one - a client or two. I don't want to start this and then have to go back to freelancing. I'm in it to win it. Once I start down this path, I will never go back. I'm patient. I owe it to the people that will be working with me to have my stuff together. And I will.

                        My website will be more than a display of my work or the stating of my philosophy, it will be an advertising resource. I don't plan to make money off of it, but I do want to do more than other agencies are doing with their sites. It will be nice.

                        I hope that helps.
                      • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                        salakot Newbie
                        I have a new business i need marketing . how do i contact you. by e mail.
                        • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                          literaryagent Newbie
                          Interesting points. I have a hard time getting excited about bells and whistles on my site, which is very plain. It is personal contacts that matter, especially for me. Perhaps not conveying my unusual services well enough is a reason for simply giving up the web page.
                            • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              You bring up a great point!

                              About those bells and whistles, that's where I think we all get a little confused. I am talking about accurately conveying my brand (the personality of my agency) through the website. I want folks to have a good idea of who we are and what we are about after visiting the website, and I just haven't captured that yet. If done right, I can do this with or without "bells and whistles."

                              I always tell clients to have a concept behind their advertising. A concept is an insight that speaks to the target on an emotional level, it connects with them, it cuts through all the business speak, and translate the product benefit into a human being's need. I don't have that yet for my agency. I may be too close to see it.

                              Literary, what is the one thing you want visitors to your site to know, what makes you special? Find that and you will be excited about your site. It's finding your song and playing it for the world. There are plenty of other tunes but there is only one that is you. Then not only will you be excited but visitors to your site will be too.

                              Don't give up, just stop trying to force it - let it come to you.
                                • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                  snipperred Scout
                                  Hi Iwrite,

                                  I just wanted to remind you I am impressed with your style!

                                  I like to use the term "exceptional" in my own business. The competitve environment is changing the way people do business with people. Sounds to me like you are already tuned into the cutting-edge. I would be happy to share my work with you in private as my concept is still in research and development. I bet what you would find would reinforce your inspiration much like some of your comments on this thread have done for me. I believe I am setting an example for precisely what you are stating.
                                    • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                      Iwrite Pioneer
                                      Snipperred,

                                      Thank you.

                                      Drop me a line: dereklw@mail.com
                                        • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                          snipperred Scout
                                          Cooool,

                                          So I just sent you the link and some notes.
                                            • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                              Iwrite Pioneer
                                              To all,

                                              I don't mind taking a conversation off forum. Feel free to email me but please don't email me about trying to buy something or adding me to a list. I am trying to get my agency going - I'm broke. LOL

                                              I actively block and report spam.

                                              Consider this a public service announcement.
                                                • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                  snipperred Scout
                                                  Thanks. I agree.

                                                  Hope my e-mail didn't get SPAMMED! There is one natural disadvantage to using a custom domain as your e-mail extension.

                                                  I recall there is a site you can go to see if you have been spammed. A lot of companies who rely on e-mail run into the problem when customers with unique domain extensions cannot send them e-mail. Customers may call as a courtesy to let you know "you" have a problem receiving their e-mail. It is tough to resolve the issue sometimes because clearing a name with respective e-mail hosts can be time consuming. Each one has to be contacted directly. I think the convention is to pass the buck back to them and tell them it is their responsibility to make sure they are not on any e-mail server blacklists.

                                                  From my own experience and customer service standpoint, the least I could do was check their e-mail against our own hosting filter. I would have liked to offer more, but you have to manage your time with priorities such as...clearing out all your unsolicited advertisements.
                                                    • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                      Iwrite Pioneer
                                                      Try again. I haven't recieved anything as of yet. It might help if I gave oyu the right email address: dereklw@mail.com
                                                        • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                          snipperred Scout
                                                          Thanks for letting me know. Just resent. Thanks for checking out my work. Hope you see all the ties in to what you have been sharing from your advertising/ marketing philosophies. Maybe some day we could work together.
                                                            • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                              snipperred Scout

                                                              Okee Dokee then Iwrite....

                                                              Did you get my message and get a chance to look in to what I'm doing? Or am I so extreme as to earn a no comment!

                                                              Regardless of what you think about my site. I think your marketing philosophy is spot on. This is the kind of transparency and documentary I am looking to build into my own concepts- that is thinking out loud about how you want to set up your site. "Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet." Is a perfect theme. And you are literally up close and personal with where you are coming from. You say maybe you are too close to see it. However, anyone who looks into this post is going to see it.

                                                              I assume most marketing firms intend to impress upon visitors the quality of end product. However, sometimes the underlying drawings and sketches that went into that final work are more interesting and revealing. Companies put out their vision and mission statements sometimes to connect with people. However, what of these things as they are just forming, are adapting and reflecting on the industry environment around them, and then customizing to align with the visions of potential clients and so on.

                                                              So what was that commercial..for Sprint I guess. The guy is walking down the street like any other guy and says in an intimate conversational tone- he's the new CEO for Sprint/ imagine a better world of services/ so i just did it/ pretty nice, huh? and then the commercial ends with his e-mail. I'm so tempted to try the e-mail. I just don't want to be dissapointed when the response I get is indirect. Rather, I'm kind of doing the same thing but am suggesting you really can get through to my personal e-mail- or the least a real person who represents me and who can forward to me if interesting enough.

                                                              I'm not suggesting self-glamorization like some sort of Zoolander, but finding a way to incorporate modern personal insight that genuinely connects rather than insults intelligence is so hot right now!
                                                                • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                                  Iwrite Pioneer
                                                                  snipperred,

                                                                  Don't take it personal!! I have been slammed trying to finish up a project. Look for a response a little later I hope.

                                                                  Great observation and suggestion! I am not trying to impress as much as educate to what to expect when meeting and working with us. I am trying to capture and convey the "brand" for my agency. I in the research phase of the process, trying to discover what it is the brand stands for and how it relates to clients.

                                                                  Let's see if I can explain it: Imagine being single (if you aren't), and standing in front of a full body mirror and you are looking at yourself trying to figure out who you are and what you are about because you are going to create a website to attract a future spouse. How easy would that be? And you only have 30 - 60 seconds to do it in, a the most. You only get one shot - what will you say? Who are you talking about? What does the person want to hear?

                                                                  I do this all day, everyday for other people but to do it for myself is different - like a doctor treating himself/herself. Does this make sense?
                                                                    • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                                      snipperred Scout
                                                                      O.K. Thanks. So my message got through. I think you'll find I'm right there with you on this.

                                                                      Conversely, I suppose my perspective from being happily married is that I would enjoy being able to look in that mirror, be myself, and communicate the best intimate message with "the one" so as to make the most of the moment. In my site, I'm focussed on a target market of people who are like me. I say it right from the beginning...this is not for everyone. It is for anyone who shares my personal ambitions and challenges. If you are fine living a boring life and not accomplishing anything amazing, then I've really not got much to say to you. So for relating to a target market- that is essentially a mirror image of me- I'm cutting through the animosity and engaging them directly.

                                                                      No worries about commenting back if you don't have the time. I do welcome any news on what you think if you do look into it. I just wanted to make sure you could see my application of what I gather is your emerging vision for your firm. You may not be my intended audience, but I think you will find my marketing approach is right on line with what you are expressing. Should be inspirational.

                                                                      I just added a home page draft. So select Intro Videos ALPHA if you look into the site.

                                                                      Thanks!
                                                • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                  rontowns25 Adventurer
                                                  There are a couple things at play in regards to the question "Will people buy your product without any marketing effort"

                                                  The answer is Yes. Marketing merely increases the visibility of the product. Creative and strategic marketing also can pyschologically influence the consumer to thinking that a product can servce a void in somebody's life. Not to sound cliche, but apple does a great job with this. There commercials always show people dancing and having fun. After watching the commercial, you want to purchase an iPod so that you also can have fun and dance around your living room.

                                                  Marketing is a very powerful tool. The best form of marketing if word-of-mouth or free viral marketing via the internet. More solutions here... www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2
                                                    • Re: Why my advertising agency does not have a website - yet.
                                                      Iwrite Pioneer
                                                      I might have missed something but I don't think I asked the question: "Will people buy your product without any marketing effort?"

                                                      But since you did, here we go. I disagree, people will not buy your product - marketing includes package design and branding. Without those your product is in a simple container with a simple name, and the only way people might buy it is out of curiosity but the numbers will be low. We sometimes view marketing as advertising, they are not the same. Marketing is everything, including advertising, used to draw attention to a product, goods or services that are offered by a company.

                                                      Although word-of-mouth and viral is powerful, the numbers are not there to show that they can deliver like a fully integrated campaign. Because you have to reach people where they are and that is hard if they aren't on the site you want them on or they are watching tv or driving in their car or walking down the street. The internet is a great tool but it is still only one tool of many tools that a business should employ to reach potential customers.

                                                      Let the conversation begin anew!!