In a podcast we had that chance to talk Lisa and David from their respective agencies. Although this was a loaded question, we did gleam out of them a few top issues that they found clients overlooked when talking to them about a site building job.
Beyond the Cost of the Build
Often clients don’t think beyond just the cost of building the site. They don’t think about the cost of user acceptance testing, QA testing at the end of a project, bug fixes towards the end of the project, the cost of the project and account management, things that often get built into an overall budget. There are times when clients come to you with a bit of experience in building out websites, and you will hear, “I can build that menu. It’s going to take me an hour to do this.”
But when a client hires an agency, they’re not just hiring you for the hours for devs to put code down to make a thing work. They’re hiring your agency to also make sure that best practices are followed and that your website has accessibility answered for.
The fact is, they are hiring you for that quality. Quality not only happens through building the product, but also through testing, performance testing, accessibility testing and numerous other factors. A lot of times you need to educate the clients on why those costs exist and if they don’t want to pay for those, then what that’s saying to you is the client doesn’t want to pay for that quality for that testing for the outcome that we you are promising as experts in your field.
Clients Think of it as a Project
The fact that you can label it as a project does not mean that clients should think of it as a project. They think back to going to get a brochure designed. In the early days, a client gets a brochure site done and it goes live. But if a client is going to be successful online these days, digital is an integral part of their business and it’s an ongoing practice. Sure, you have to have project managers, you have to have experts outside, but they also have to commit to the project on their side as well.
The most successful website builds you will get are where that business really engages at all levels. The website is their organization’s skin. It’s what the outside world sees. It’s how customers experience your client as an organization. I think unless your clients embed that really tightly, that digital experience and with the real business experience, they’re going to lose to a competitor that does. I think clients underestimate how involved it is in every way from writing the homepage copy to the burden of the project management meetings, to the testing, to all the stuff that clients spent days or weeks putting together a website brief and it’s 5% complete.
That’s Going to Be Real Expensive
The entire project is a lot more involved than most people realize and it’s one of the things that I feel is hardest for agencies to navigate because you don’t want to just be saying, “That’s going to be really expensive.”
You don’t want to be saying to your client, “This is going to cost you all the money that you’ve got and more, and you’re going to get a quarter of it done.” You don’t want to be telling them that they’re stupid to have overlooked all this stuff. So it’s a very difficult balance to try to find where you’re being responsible and you practice successfully, performance, security, testing, release management, all of the stuff that doesn’t affect the thing that pops on the screen, how you sell your expertise and how you attract clients that will respect that and how you manage that whole process. It’s not difficult. It’s evolving all the time. Because people go from agency to client-side, clients are getting more and more sophisticated.