How to Pick the Right Design Agency
There’s a litany of agencies with varying abilities out there and it must be an incredibly daunting, if not frustrating task to pick the one that’s right for you and your business.
To help narrow you’re focus a little, we thought it might be useful to state the criteria that we think you should look for, and how to avoid the agencies that might cause disappointment.
Look at their work
It sounds obvious but actually take the time to look at the work they’ve done for their clients. It’s easy to create a beautiful agency website, but a good design team should be creating beautiful websites for clients even when working with possible design limitations.
Instead of just looking through their portfolio, actually go and look at the websites that they’ve produced. Are they still online and looking good or have they been replaced with something better? Make sure that everything works properly on their clients websites.
The people at an agency
Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call a few agencies. Explain your project and see if they take the time to understand what you’re saying and provide knowledgeable answers. You need to know that you can communicate well with your digital partner so it’s vital that you get on with them and feel comfortable conversing. If they’re rude or don't have the time for you - move on. If you passed around numerous people or have to wait a week for a callback that’s most likely a sign of things to come! You want to know that if you have a problem or want to discuss something that you can get quick, reliable help.
Ask for references
Ask for a couple of references and speak to their previous clients. It sounds obvious but this can be incredibly illuminating. If an agency isn’t willing to supply one, that may mean that they are not comfortable their clients will have good things to say about them - Run!
Is the price right?
Price does not always equal quality. There’s a lot of variables that affect cost, primarily the agencies overhead costs. If you’re talking to a central London agency that employ 50+ people you'd better be ready to pay for their coffee and toilet roll consumption. If you’ve got less than a couple of thousand pounds in all honesty, most agencies worth their weight won’t be able to work with you to create a custom website as there is simply no margin in it.
Be upfront about your budget. We always ask people and can feel the hesitation to disclose the number in their mind. People think that if they disclose their budget is £20,000 for example, they’ll receive a proposal for £19,999. That’s simply not the case, with most agencies anyway. We ask because if you’re budget is £500, then we're simply not aligned and don't want to waste each others time. If you let an agency know you’re budget, we will tailor a solution to get you the most bang for your buck. Perhaps by compromising less important aspects of the project to focus more attention the parts that count or by suggesting an alternate platform for instance that requires less development resource. For us and many other agencies, providing a fair cost simply means that you’re more likely to build long-term working relationships with clients and perhaps future recommendations.
Take your time
Consider your projects timeline and be open to discussion with your preferred agencies suggestions. Most businesses approach us wanting their new website as soon possible, which is expected generally, but our final piece of advice would be to spend time finding the right agency for your project, not the one that agrees to do it the quickest. Read every word on their website and study their case studies. It's a huge decision to make and not giving it the attention it requires often means you'll have to do it again.