In this blog post, I am going to go through some helpful tips to help you help us. There will be some open-ended questions, some things to think about, and some general rules, but all of them will help you in the future, whether we’re your agency or you work with another agency or freelancer.
Questions We Are Definitely Going to Ask You
- What is it that you want? When it comes to design, even if it’s a word, a color, a font, a picture, know roughly what you want to achieve. If we’re building a website and all you can provide is “Sophisticated,” at least that’s a starting point. If you want cozy and warm, let us know that and show some pictures that show us what you mean. A picture is worth a thousand words and the more you can show and tell us, the better we’ll be able to execute your vision. Maybe it’s a movie, a song, a series of evocative words – whatever your inspiration is, share it with us.
- What is your budget? First off, it’s probably going to cost more than you think it does. Websites, designs, search engines optimization – they all have a cost associated with them. Whether it’s labor, development, creative elements, photography, custom anything – there is more time and labor being put into your site than you probably think there is. We also have advanced training, certifications, and education that goes above and beyond things like instincts and a decent design eye. We promise you get what you pay for.
- Who are your customers? This will usually be one of my first questions for you when we start onboarding. I want to know everything about them. Where they live, what they watch, who they listen to, what they do in their spare time, how often they shop, products or brands they like, how they spend their weekends, and a lot more. I also want to know who your favorite customers are, who your best customers are, who your most profitable customers are, and who your least favorite customers are. All those answers help me (and my team) determine how to approach them, what types of content to use, and how to design and write for them.
- What is the goal of your project? Anytime we start something we have to have a goal. We must know what you want ultimately and what is a win for you.
- How can we avoid failure? This question is important as a counterpoint to the previous one because it lets me know where your priorities are. It lets me know what your deal-breakers are. It lets me know what you care about most. For some of our clients, it’s using irreverent tones. In some cases, it’s being boring. For other clients, it’s talking about certain types of topics. Fundamentally, every business has a deal-breaker and we want to know how we can avoid disappointing you or failing in our efforts.
Things We Want You to Know
- Put it in writing. We try to do a lot via email exchanges so that we have written documentation of everything you’ve requested with time and date stamps. It keeps us accountable and focused. Phone calls are fine, but when it comes to changes and requests, written notice is often preferable for us.
- No, we really don’t want to make the logo bigger. We know you want it bigger. We know you’re going to ask. But please don’t make us try. It’s bad design.
- We’re putting a significant amount of labor into your project; please don’t expect freebies or favors. We focus on fair pricing, but if we say something is outside the scope of the project, there’s a reason for that. You should always expect your agency to be transparent with pricing, but you should also ask if you have any questions. In some cases, we’re writing custom code or having to take pictures outside of our normal work hours to attend an event or we’re writing something we don’t specialize in. We want to help as much as we can and it can be offensive when people ask us to just throw something in for free or without fair compensation.
- You are the expert in your industry, but we’re the experts in ours. If we say something won’t work or is a bad idea, please be open to the fact that we might be right. Similarly, if we have an idea and you know it won’t resonate with your audience, let us know and we’ll scrap it. We never want to do anything that compromises your values or your business; we also don’t want to do anything that won’t be profitable for your business. Those are lose-lose scenarios and we try to avoid them at all costs.
- We cannot plagiarize from a competitor’s site. Please don’t ask. You wouldn’t think I’d have to say this, but we do (a lot).
- Not everything needs to be in your navigation. Clean and easy to read is always better.
- We really don’t want to overwhelm people, so sometimes we will want some clean whitespace to allow our eyes to visually rest on something. Images, textures, patterns, backgrounds – all are important, but we really want to always ensure your content is legible and easy to understand.
We hope these items have been helpful for you and help inform your next digital marketing project. If you’re interested in getting started on a project, tell us about it in the comments or contact us directly.