News

04 September 2017 Christine

What we mean by ‘full-service’

Over the past few months we’ve used our monthly featured articles to offer tips and advice for membership and third sector organisations on a variety of subjects; from how to measure marketing campaigns, to ensuring you’re encouraging renewals. This month we’re going to take an introspective glance and offer advice from a business stand point. Whether you currently work with an agency who helps you deliver your web projects or you’re undecided on the matter, we want to help you in your search to find the right agency for you.

If you’ve ever worked with or even been contacted by a digital web agency you will have heard the phrase ‘full-service’. It can be a really intriguing, but also quite a confusing phrase, and it’s easy to wonder whether it actually means anything other than a handy marketing catchphrase. Followers of our social media will know that it’s a phrase we ourselves have also used many times. When we do, here’s what we mean.

We have outlined our process on our website to inform our audience exactly what we do to create every project we take on from start to finish. Below is an outline of each step of our process, with the addition of the personal service each step offers.

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Workshops & advice

Each project we take on begins the same way, with a conversation. We can’t stress enough the importance of clear, recorded communication when building a web project. We have worked with hundreds of people over the past 20 years and we know each person is at a different ability level to the last. Find an agency who will offer you advice on your project, instead of expecting you to immediately know what you want. As well as this, seek out an agency who will focus on how you can design your site to reach business objectives and KPIs.

 

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Design & ideas

Again, this step is entrenched in discussion and conversation. Full-service means listening to your ideas, the problems you’ve faced in the past and the needs of your members and put all that information together to create a design that not only fits what you want, but meets the latest trends and uses the best technology. Our designers, for example, understand membership objectives and ensure their work creates a UI that will encourage and support our clients. 

 

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Development & problem solving

Arguably the longest stage, it’s important to find an agency who won’t go quiet on you. You want those lines of communication open at all times so you can ensure you’re happy with how the project is developing. At this point, depending on the scope of your project, there may be a number of people working on your site to ensure it functions perfectly ready for launch. It’s a good idea to get to know those people too. Rigorous testing and QAs will ensure the site is in ship shape before launch. 

 

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Launch & promotion

Launching a new website to a community of members is no mean feat, and it’s in the interests of both your organisation and your chosen full-service agency to celebrate and promote the launch of your site. Find an agency who will guide you through the launch process offering you all the support you need along the way. You should meet with your new account manager and stay in contact regularly to ensure the site is serving your members as it should.

 

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Marketing & aftercare

There are many elements which make a site a success after it has launched, and SEO is a big one. Your chosen agency should have a strong marketing team who are always on hand to ensure your site has a strong online presence and is gaining an audience. Websites take constant maintenance to ensure their success, so your full-service agency should be regularly reporting to you with updates on what’s working well and advice on how to improve.

 

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Training & support

Not only this, but a truly full-service agency would also have its own software that it knows inside and out. Take River for example. River is our enterprise CMS system we have been cultivating for the past 10 years, specifically for the membership and non-profit world. It’s designed in such a way that any member of your team you choose can update content on the site easily and without our help. We offer training on all our software, including River, RiverCRM and RiverCPD, remain on hand at all times.

 

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Print & expertise

Our favourite subject! We’ve created articles (like this one and this one) case studies and videos all about this topic. Our clients have found time and again that it’s easier, faster and just plain better to hire the company who has designed your website branding to carry that through to event and print. Again, our designers have years of experience creating corporate and individual print materials for events, reports, presentations, invitations, even promotional mugs!

 

As you may have guessed, every element we’ve mentioned above is something we offer. If using a truly ‘full-service’ agency for your next membership website, or even if you’re still undecided, feel free to pick up the phone and have a chat with one of the team.