If you’re looking build a new website or to redesign an existing site for your business, there are a number of good reasons to engage a full-service marketing agency instead of a freelance web developer or an agency that only does website design. Websites are, increasingly, business-critical assets that attract your target audience, qualify and nurture leads, and many cases sell products. They are integral to the marketing strategy of most businesses and require more than great development skills. For more on the many important things that go into building an effective website for sales and marketing, check out the Ultimate Guide to Web Design and Development.
You Need Marketing Strategy
A freelance developer may be able to make a beautiful site, but an agency is more likely to understand the marketing strategies that make for successful business websites, and to have the internal resources to form and execute these strategies. These include:
- Brand strategy–A freelancer is not as likely to be a branding expert. Your site needs to reflect the experience your brand delivers.
- Buyer persona development–It all starts by understanding your ideal customers and their pain points. Building a website without the target audience in mind is like building a house without an owner’s input. It’s not going to be what they were looking for.
- Alignment with the buyer’s journey–You’ll need to structure your website for visitors at the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel, delivering the right content to the right visitor at the right time.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)–SEO is part of how you optimize your site to attract your ideal customers. The developer needs to be current with search engine rankings and algorithms. He or she will also need to understand on-page and off-page SEO best practices. A marketing agency should not only be familiar with these best practices but be able to point to successful website projects that have resulted in measurable growth in traffic, leads and sales.
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO)–Websites need to do more than look good. There are best practices for how to engage visitors that make them more likely to convert to leads and customers.
- Lead nurturing–The best business websites are like a 24/7 salesperson, fielding inquiries, qualifying leads, and routing qualified leads to sales teams.
- Content development–Successful business websites used high-quality, helpful content to engage visitors. Most freelance web developers aren’t writers. Most marketing agencies have content writers and strategist on their teams that can help you get it right.
- Ongoing maintenance–Ideally, whether you work with a freelancer or agency, you’ll be trained on how to make minor updates to your site yourself without the cost and time involved in contacting an external resource. Bigger changes, however–the introduction of new products, acquisitions, adding ecommerce–require more technical support. Will the freelancer still be available to help when this is needed? An agency is much more likely to have the resources to help–even if it isn’t the same exact person working on your site.
A Deep Bench
Related to maintenance, an agency is more likely to have the marketing and web design help that you need when you need it. You might need fresh content, or a new page layout, or a new microsite for a specific application. A freelancer is not likely to be able to offer all of these services. An agency usually has a deep bench of writers, designers, developers, and marketing strategists to support your marketing goals, not just your web project goals. For more information see our article, The Most Important Part of Web Design is Strategy.