Quick note: when we refer here to ‘digital agencies’ we mean digital agencies and those providing digital skills (for example an individual web developer or member of a team).
What we analysed
In late 2019, the A1WebStats team went through a process of identifying digital agencies that we wanted to offer an invitation to a free 60 day trial of our A1WebStats white label solution.
We were looking for agencies who wanted to gain more business for themselves, and their clients, through utilising the tools within a white labelled version of our system.
We analysed 542 websites of digital agencies – all based within the UK.
We ended up with just under 10% who we reached out to.
The others failed our test and were also highly likely to have failed the test of potential clients who go to their websites.
What we were looking for
We were looking for websites that weren’t large agencies (from one person up to 20 people in an agency, and who work mostly with small to medium sized businesses).
We also wanted to choose those who clearly demonstrated what they have achieved for clients.
In short, we wanted to get a feel for the types of customers those agencies have, which would tell us whether or not those agencies would be a good match for our white label service.
It’s the same for your potential clients
Put yourselves in the shoes of a potential client who has found your website.
They will be interested in one or more of the services that you can offer.
- Website design & development
- Paid advertising
- Social media
- Content marketing
What do you think is in their head as they go through your website?
Probably two things:
- How much does it cost?
- Prove that you’ve done a good job.
The first thing (how much does it cost?) is not that easy to answer within a website, but there are ways to give potential clients at least a rough guide to what they should expect to pay if they engaged your services.
The second thing (proving that you’ve done a good job) is vital to get right and is the one thing that stops most digital agencies from gaining new business.
Prove that you’ve done a good job
Of the 542 websites we analysed (out of which we made contact with only 52), we were looking for evidence of work done for clients.
We wanted to see case studies and success stories, and we wanted to see those for individual services offered.
Here’s what we discovered …
Examples of work done
59% of the 542 had examples of their work within their website.
That left 41% who referred to services offered but provided zero proof of the positive outcome from those services.
That’s a horrific statistic that will lose the 41% so many potential clients.
But the 59% who did provide examples of work done still didn’t make the grade …
General vs specific
Of the 320 agencies that DID have examples of their work within their website, 78% of them had general case studies of their work, all combined within a case studies section as one mass of case studies related to the different services provided.
So many of the 78% had a case studies section that would have the names of customers/logos, but there was no indication of what service each case study related to.
Therefore, it became a miserable guessing game of clicking on case study links just to find out what service was related to each client.
Here’s something for the 78% of the 320 agencies to consider: if someone is looking for a particular type of agency service, and they’ve got to your case studies section, then WHY are you making it so hard for people to find examples of the work done within each service area?
The potential client will be thinking: “you haven’t got enough good stories about your expertise in the area I’m interested in – that’s why you’re not making it clear within your website case studies section”.
For the other 22% of the 320 agencies that DID divide case studies into service areas (e.g. Website Development, SEO, Google Ads), only 11 of the 70 (16%) had more than two case studies in each service area.
While that’s better than all those agencies who didn’t divide case studies into service areas, lack of evidence of work done in each service area ensures that potential clients are not going to be impressed.
320 (59%) of the analysed 542 websites had a section focused on case studies of work they’ve done.
Only 4% of those 320 (13 websites) did this:
- Have sections of their website focused on each service area AND …
- Within each service area section, show brief excerpts of case studies related to that service, linking to the more detailed case studies.
This is the really crazy part because:
- Potential clients are looking at a page offering a service.
- Those potential clients are waiting to be impressed.
- If they can’t see on-page signposting to case studies/success stories related to the service on offer, they’re going to wonder why.
You may be thinking: Ah, but we have a section for case studies.
To which the answer is: that’s not good enough!
Yes, feel free to have case studies within a section of the website but realise that many website visitors will be focused on the service type page initially, and so would welcome being signposted to relevant case studies from the service page they’re viewing.
They will be thinking: “you say you offer this service but you aren’t showing me examples of the results you’ve achieved”.
A test for you to take
Here’s something that will highlight why you need to view the following ‘How to do it right’ part of this page …
- Write down a list of general industry sectors that you would typically serve (engineering, professional services, education, etc.).
- Write another list of the services that you offer.
- Print each list.
- Take a pen, and, eyes closed, randomly stab it down on each of the lists.
- You will have two pieces of paper, with a mark on each (for example, you may have marked ‘SEO’ and ‘Engineering’).
- Now look at your relevant service page (e.g. SEO) and see how impressive that is to someone from the industry sector you’ve randomly selected (e.g. Engineering), who could easily be on your website at any time.
If your website makes the grade then it’s very much in the minority (and we’d like to see it, as such examples are rare).
How to do it right
So, what’s the definitive way for digital agencies to gain more business from website visitors?
In short: for each service you provide, show plenty of examples of case studies/success stories, in a way that is easy for the potential customer to access.
This was done correctly by only 13 out of the 542 analysed websites (2.4%).
Here it is, step by step …
List every service that you offer, and that has an individual website page dedicated to that service.
List the names of all the customers who have benefited from that service.
Roughly draft the following bare bones of a case study for each customer who has benefited from that service:
- What their challenge was
- How you helped them.
- What they had to say/what the outcome was.
Just a sentence or two for each of the above three areas.
Don’t go into any more detail than that – keep it really brief.
The purpose is to see whether you have impressed customers enough to consider fleshing them out to full case studies/success stories.
Keep going until you reach at least 6-10 examples.
Here you need to be thinking about your potential customer who is looking at a particular service page of your website.
They are thinking: “I am ready to be impressed”.
If you have, for example, one or two case studies related to your website development work, then that’s better than nothing.
If you have three or four case studies, that’s better than one or two.
If you have five of six case studies, that’s better than three or four.
You get the point – your potential clients want to see a choice of case study excerpts on the page of the service itself (very important), so that they can choose which ones they will click on to then see the full case study.
Anything less than 6-10 case studies related to each service offered is shouting out that you don’t have much pedigree in that area.
When you have at least 6-10 bare bones of case studies for each service you offer, then it’s time to flesh them out and create them as individual case study/success story pages within your website.
Ideally, you would create them as sub-divided within the case studies part of your website (e.g. /case-studies/seo/seo-case-study-1).
When you have the case studies live within your website, you can then create excerpts from service pages, linking people to the full case studies.
Here’s an example of a page that shows a service within the ‘What we do’ part of their website – https://www.heronbros.com/what-we-do/construction-projects/commercial-retail/
You will see within that page that there is the opportunity to click on the examples of their work within that service offering:
And each of those work example introductions clicks through to a full case study page (for example: https://www.heronbros.com/project/porsche-centre/).
Here’s another example, but this time of a page that focuses on a sector where the service is provided, showing excerpts of each case study: http://www.dsearriskassessments.co.uk/sectors/chemical/.
Within that page there are links to view the full case study of each (for example: http://www.dsearriskassessments.co.uk/case-studies/icon-polymer-group-limited/).
This is an optional step if you have enough case studies.
This step involves allowing your service page and case studies page viewers to filter case studies by sector types.
Many A1WebStats customers can see the names of companies that visited their websites, and what they viewed page by page.
This is useful because it allows the opportunity to think: “did a company from that industry sector find enough evidence of our work within their sector?”
When you allow your visitors to filter case studies by service type AND the sector they work within, then you are nearing website conversion nirvana.
Use this to benefit your clients
Although this page is focused on helping digital agencies gain more business from website visitors, the principles can be then applied to your own customers.
If you white label A1WebStats, then you can even use the system to prove to your customers that they’re not getting enough enquiries about visitors to certain parts of their websites. That data, in combination with the strategy on this page, will lead to your customers getting more enquiries from their website visitors.
This is a win-win-win for you and your customers:
- You win because you get the paid work to strengthen their websites.
- They win because they get more business as a result of the work you’ve done with them.
- You win again when they give you even more paid work and also happily refer you onto their own contacts.
Any questions or feedback?
A1WebStats exists to help businesses gain more success from their website visitors (either direct customers or via agencies who white label our product).
We thrive on our readers and customers providing feedback on what we write so please do let us have your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org