“Web agency”, come i suoi sinonimi “digital agency” e “agenzia di web marketing”, è un termine nato con l’avvento di internet per indicare tutte quelle aziende specializzate nelle varie branche del digital marketing: per esempio, social network, sviluppo dei siti web, ottimizzazione per i motori di ricerca (SEO), email marketing,...
WHAT IS A WEB AGENCY?
Web agency", like its synonyms "digital agency" and "web marketing agency", is a term born with the advent of the Internet to indicate all those companies specializing in various branches of digital marketing: for example, social networking, website development, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing,...
WHAT FUNCTIONS DOES A WEB AGENCY PERFORM?
WHAT PROFESSIONAL FIGURES OPERATE IN A WEB AGENCY?
- Project manager;
- Web designer;
- SEO Specialist;
- SEM Specialist;
- Social Media Manager.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WEB AGENCY?
WHEN SEARCHING AND SELECTING WEB AGENCIES
- Analyze all the services it offers;
- Read the "about us" page of the website;
- Delve into the successes it has achieved over time;
- Read the articles in the company blog;
- Analyze how it is present online (website, social networks, newsletters, ...).
in phase of commercial negotiation with the web agency
- Establish a face-to-face relationship;
- The quote should encapsulate the strategy, not just the pricing;
- The web agency doesn't talk about growth percentages right out of the gate.
Web agency oR professionAL freelance?
It depends. If the company has a limited budget and wants to launch a single strategic action (e.g. copywriting, SEO, social media marketing), then it would be better to opt for the freelancer. If, on the other hand, the company wants to invest in a comprehensive and flexible strategic plan, with the possibility of expanding and optimizing it over time, it can turn to the web agency. A team of competent professionals in different disciplines will be able to start a fruitful exchange of ideas to guide it towards a constant and long-lasting growth.
The Internet has revolutionized the world we know, especially when it comes to searching for and purchasing a product or service. In fact, if at one time it was usual to be inspired by advertisements in newspapers, radio and television, today this is no longer the case: the internet allows us to find what we are looking for in just a few clicks; we simply need to connect to the net. A radical change in the consumer's buying habits coincides with the need for companies to change the strategy and channels through which they promote their brand: in an increasingly connected world, relying solely on traditional marketing methods can cause the loss of many business opportunities. It is precisely to be present in an effective and profitable way on the Web that web agencies are born. What do they do and, above all, what are the elements to take into consideration when selecting a web agency to find a transparent, professional and competent business partner? In this guide, NetStrategy, a web marketing agency based in Milan and Verona, summarizes some lessons learned from its relationships with clients to offer you some suggestions.
What is a web agency?
"Web agency", like its synonyms "digital agency" and "web marketing agency", is a term born with the advent of the internet to indicate all those companies specializing in the various branches of digital marketing: for example, social networking, website development, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing...
The term "web agency" developed as consumers and businesses increasingly sought answers to their needs online. Its objective is therefore to promote client companies on digital channels: by doing so, the company will acquire greater online visibility and can be found by new potential customers. In the medium and long term, a performing web marketing strategy will make digital channels a new source of income for the company.
WHAT FUNCTIONS DOES A WEB AGENCY PERFORM?
Under the hat "web agency" there are 2 types of companies. The first type deals only with developing the technological infrastructure to make the client present on the Web: corporate websites, apps, management systems and so on. A complete web agency, however, allows not only the development of these important platforms, but also the structuring of ad hoc web marketing strategies for the company. The objective, in fact, is not only to be present online, but to be present online effectively, with an all-round strategic vision.
What does a web agency deal with in detail? We can divide the work of a company of this type in 4 different phases, summarized in chronological order in the following bulleted list.
- Analysis. The starting point of the activity of a web marketing agency is always the analysis of the business with which it has to collaborate: its daily routine, the product put on the market and its price, the strengths and weaknesses. All those aspects that can influence its performance on the market are also studied in detail, such as the competition, the socio-economic context in which it is inserted, the characteristics of the target audience. In this way, the web agency is able to find out as much information as possible about the company: data and statistics that will be used to create a targeted planning of the strategy.
- Planning. The second phase of a web agency's work concerns the drafting of a marketing plan in which the objectives to be achieved, the available budget and, above all, the strategy to be undertaken are defined. Through a clear and transparent document, the agency will allow the company to follow a well-defined path both at macro level and at tactical level.
- Execution. Once the planning phase has been completed, the agency's internal team will take charge of the strategic actions to be undertaken and, following a precise timetable, will start the executive phase of the project. In this way, each action will be connected to the other because it will pursue the same objective and the company will not move randomly on the market, avoiding wasting time and money in a strategy destined to fail.
- Monitoring. A phase too often underestimated concerns the constant study of the results deriving from the activated campaigns. This is an essential step for a web agency, which can then decide whether to continue along the road taken or modify the strategy to make it more efficient and, therefore, profitable for the company.
WHICH PROFESSIONAL FIGURES OPERATE IN A WEB AGENCY?
When it comes to web marketing, dozens and dozens of variables come into play, depending on the objectives and characteristics of the company. There are, in fact, companies that want to improve the knowledge and popularity of the brand on the market: in these situations, most of the budget can be invested in a social media marketing strategy. Other companies, on the other hand, need to acquire new potential customers already in the short term; in these cases, you can proceed with the implementation of paid campaigns on search engines, aimed at having the company's website found at the moment when the user searches for the solution to a related need. In short, there are so many branches of digital marketing. That's why, generally, a web agency is composed of several professionals specialized in each field. Here are the main ones.
- Project manager. A professional accustomed to building profitable business relationships, the project manager is the one who interfaces directly with the client. This figure acts as the glue between the company and the rest of the web agency team, making sure that each strategy is carried out effectively and that deadlines are met. Periodically, he may propose meetings or videocalls during which he presents to the client the results achieved, suggesting any changes or new actions to optimize the strategy.
- Web designer. This professional is in fact the "graphic designer" of the company, the one who goes to make the templates of websites, posts on social profiles, newsletters and everything related to the company. The web designer plays with pixels and colors looking for the perfect balance between the palette, the logotype and corporate values, the User Experience and the modern aesthetic canons of the Web.
- SEO Specialist. Analyzing the meaning of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), we understand that this is the strategy that allows a site to acquire organic positioning, that is natural, on search engines. Here, then, the figure of the SEO Specialist is born: this professional analyzes the website and identifies all those technical and content frictions that could negatively affect the algorithms of the search engine. Once these issues have been resolved, his task will become that of proposing proactive actions to ensure that the website gains credibility in the eyes of Google and its pages are ranked high for certain searches.
- Creativity and persuasion are the keywords that characterize the copywriter, the figure who is responsible for creating texts and blog articles functional to entice the user to purchase or contact the company. The copywriter must necessarily possess SEO skills in order to ensure that the content he proposes to the company are first indexed and then positioned on the search engine.
- SEM Specialist. Next to the term SEO, we find that of SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which presupposes the creation of paid ad campaigns to obtain in the short term the #1 position on search engines. Its goal is to bring to the site as many visitors and qualified potential customers, i.e. perfectly in line with the target audience of the company.
- Social Media Manager. More and more often, the social profiles of companies become not only the cradle of new potential customers, but also the engine triggering the increase in brand visibility, which is then recognized and appreciated in the market. This is the objective of the social media marketer, the figure who is responsible for planning and executing a marketing strategy that sees its focus in the use of social media.
HOW TO CHOOSE A WEB AGENCY?
The planned strategy, the critical spirit, the analytical nature and the professionalism of a web agency will affect the company's turnover and performance in the market. To avoid investing unnecessary time and money, it is therefore essential that every company, whether small, medium or large, B2C or B2B, carefully selects the right agency. In the following we will analyze some of the precautions that, according to the experience of NetStrategy and its clients, it is necessary to have both in the research phase and in the commercial negotiation phase.
In the process of searching and selecting web agencies
#1 COMPLETENESS: DOES THE WEB AGENCY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED?
- Before you get in touch with the web agency, analyze all the services they offer.
The first selection parameter should be the type of web agency you want to entrust your business to. If you want to start a project for the online growth of your business, it is good to choose a marketing agency that deals not only with the creation of the website, but also with planning and executing a complete strategy. Choosing 2 separate agencies for these activities is often counterproductive: it's confusing because the business team has to interface with multiple different people and it lengthens the time it takes to start the strategy. Wasted days, weeks and months that could have brought new revenue to the business.
#2 TRANSPARENCY: IS THE WEB AGENCY REALLY PUTTING THEIR FACE ON?
- Before getting in touch with the web agency, read the "about us" page of the website.
Even online, where distances are shortened and people from different continents can stay in touch, to engage in a relationship of trust it is necessary for both parties to "put their face": a face, a story, an experience says much more than you might think. So, how do we evaluate the transparency of a web agency in the research phase? Let's ask ourselves: are the names and surnames, the faces and experiences that make up the team present on the website? This is a starting point for understanding who you are dealing with and, above all, what skills they have already acquired.
#3 EXPERIENCE: WHAT RESULTS HAS THE WEB AGENCY ALREADY ACHIEVED?
- Before you get in touch with the web agency, delve into the successes it has achieved over time.
Facts, not words, as they say. When researching, it's a good idea to also evaluate the web agency's experience in general, with particular reference to your industry. Is there a section on the website or social channels dedicated to the results achieved? Are there graphs and statistical data presented that can corroborate these professional experiences? Choosing a web agency that already has technical knowledge in the sector of our company and that has already collaborated, with brilliant results, with companies with similar characteristics to ours can be a significant added value. In fact, the team will already be in possession of basic information and will already have a clear overview of the strategies that can perform well in that particular market.
#4. COMPETENCE: HOW MUCH DOES THE WEB AGENCY TEAM KNOW?
- Before you get in touch with the web agency, read the articles on the company blog.
The company blog is a useful tool not only to improve the organic positioning of the site on search engines, but also to provide information and suggestions to potential clients. In the case of a company that needs to select a web agency, reading the blog articles can be a great way to assess the competence and professionalism of the team that makes up the company.
#5 STRATEGY: DOES THE WEB AGENCY ALSO PLAN FOR ITSELF?
- Before you get in touch with the web agency, analyze how the web agency has an online presence.
Just as you would expect quality furniture in a carpenter's home, you should also expect a web marketing agency to be effective and persuasive online. In fact, a web agency should first analyze and plan a high-performance strategy for itself and, second, for its clients. In this way, it will gain the experience to grow businesses in sectors far removed from its own. It is important to monitor the web agency's presence on Google, typing in keywords related to web marketing. For example, NetStrategy is in #1 position - after some academic articles suggested by Google - for the keyword "marketing strategy examples".
Similarly, we look for the company's social profiles, to understand if it publishes posts regularly and if the content conveys the tone of voice and values pursued by the web agency. All of this information will allow us to select one more or agencies to contact, with whom we will enter into business negotiations with a view to making the final choice.
In phase of commercial negotiation with the web agency
The moment we get in touch with the web agency, we start a relationship that can take months to reach its climax, the final choice. It's important that you don't make a hasty or impatient decision, but that you cultivate the relationship to the best of your ability to make the right decision for the good of your business.
What should be considered during business negotiations? First of all, pay attention to the creation of a face-to-face relationship, where the parties meet (if the geographical distance is too far, this can also be done by video call) and get to know each other. Even though it may seem premature, getting in touch right away with the whole team or even just several members, and not just the one who will be the project manager later, allows you to get a broader view of the agency and those who are part of it. It also allows you to exchange more ideas from the outset.
Secondly, a serious web agency does not talk about prices right from the start, i.e. it is not aimed solely at sales, but at a lasting collaboration that leads to the growth of both parties. In this perspective, the quote should not be a mere table indicating the rates for each service, but should represent the essence of a strategy designed specifically for that type of company. The project must be well outlined in the strategic actions to be taken and in the reasons why they will be effective and have been chosen at the expense of other activities; in addition, deadlines and timelines must be made explicit, so that it will be clear from the beginning when the company will be able to touch the results of the strategy.
A serious web agency, finally, does not make false promises. Marketing is not an absolute dogma and there are only so many circumstances, external or internal to the company, that can compromise the performance of the strategy. Therefore, we should be wary of those web marketing agencies that immediately talk about growth percentages: only once the business has been analyzed and the strategy has been launched will it be possible to monitor its progress and establish indicative values of year-on-year growth.
Web agency or freelance professional?
It can also happen to have to choose between a web agency and a freelancer. The latter figure offers consultancy and online marketing services while remaining independent. Which solution is more congenial to the company? Generally, it all depends on the strategic vision of the company and the budget it has available.
A freelancer requires less investment costs for the strategy. However, as a freelancer is unique, he or she cannot possess all the skills and experience of an entire team, such as those of a web agency: they may have the creativity of a web designer, but not the precision and persuasion of a copywriter; or, they may have enough programming knowledge to build a website, but not to grow it on search engines. In addition, the freelancer also acts as a project manager, a delicate figure, as he or she must not only know how to relate to the company, but also manage the project as best as possible in terms of performance and meeting deadlines.
For this reason, to the question "is it better to rely on a web agency or a freelancer?", we answer: it depends. If the company has a limited budget and wants to launch a single strategic action (for example, copywriting, SEO, social media marketing), then it would be better to opt for the freelancer. If, on the other hand, the company wants to invest in a comprehensive and flexible strategic plan, with the possibility of expanding and optimizing it over time, it can turn to the web agency. A team of competent professionals in different disciplines will be able to start a fruitful exchange of ideas to guide it towards a constant and long-lasting growth.
Choosing a web agency should not be a hasty step: the relationship established between the parties and the strategy applied and then optimized will depend not only on the turnover of the company, but also on an improvement of its online credibility, with the spread of the brand on the market. Therefore, making a first selection in the research phase, based on the information found on the Web, can be effective in view of the start of a real business negotiation.
Are you looking for the right web agency for your business project?