How to Grow Your Web Design Agency: Choosing the Right Route for You

Growing your web design agency is no easy task. There are so many different parameters to take into account. Not least the technology you’ll use but also systems and processes as well as the typical agency growth requirements too. In this article, I’ll outline the core requirements as well as where the growth routes can differ.

The Absolute Minimum Requirements for Growth

To grow your web design agency there are a few things you need in place. Firstly, you must have a team of designers who are excellent at what they do. Secondly, you’ll need to have established systems and processes for project management as well as billing and invoicing. Thirdly, you’ll need sales and marketing covered so that you can bring in new clients on a regular basis.

Each of these areas is essential for growth and if any one of them is lacking then it will be difficult to grow your agency.

Setting an Agency’s Purpose and Mission Can’t Be Skipped

When you’re growing an agency it’s important to have a clear purpose and mission. This will help you to attract the right clients as well as the right team members. It will also help you make decisions about which growth route to take.

Setting an Agency’s Values is Essential for Growth

Before you can start growing your agency, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what your values are. This might seem like a strange place to start but in order for your team to be aligned and working towards the same goals, they need to know what those goals are.

Your values will also dictate the type of clients you work with as well as the type of work you take on. For example, if one of your values is to only work with clients who are willing to pay what you’re worth, then you’re not going to waste time working with clients who low-ball you.

Your values will also dictate the way you run your business and the systems and processes you put in place. For example, if one of your values is to always deliver projects on time, then you’re going to need systems in place to make sure that happens.

Building The Right Agency Systems and Processes

The next step in growing your web design agency is to put the right systems and processes in place. This includes everything from project management to billing and invoicing.

There are a lot of different options out there but it’s important to find something that works for you and your team. There’s no point in putting systems in place that no one uses because they’re too complicated.

The key here is to find something that’s simple and easy to use but also effective. Once you have the right systems and processes in place, it will be much easier to grow your agency.

Hiring The Right People

As your agency starts to grow, you’re going to need to hire more people. This includes designers, developers, project managers, and so on.

It’s important to take your time when hiring because the wrong person can really hold back your growth. You need to make sure that everyone you hire is a good fit for your agency and that they’re aligned with your values.

When you’re hiring, always keep in mind the type of work you want to be doing and the type of clients you want to work with. This will help you narrow down the pool of candidates and only hire people who are a good fit for your agency.

Bringing In New Clients

The final piece of the fundamentals puzzle is to bring in new clients on a regular basis. This is where sales and marketing come into play.

You need to make sure that you’re constantly generating new leads and that you have a system in place for converting those leads into paying clients.

There are a lot of different ways to generate leads but some of the most effective methods include content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media.

Once you have a system in place for generating new leads, it’s time to focus on converting those leads into clients. The best way to do this is by having a sales process in place.

Your sales process should be designed to help you close more deals and increase your conversion rate. There are a lot of different sales processes out there but the key is to find one that works for you and your team.

Picking the Right Growth Route for Your Agency

Now that you understand the fundamentals of growing a web design agency, it’s time to focus on the different growth routes you can take. The three main options are to build using proprietary tech, work across all platforms, or pick a CMS that’s tailored to agencies like Duda or similar.

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Proprietary Routes

Building using proprietary tech is a great option if you’re looking to specialize in a certain area. For example, if you want to build eCommerce websites, then you can create a proprietary platform that’s specifically designed for that. You can charge higher prices for smaller jobs and pick up some decent brands with this route.

The downside of this option is that it can be quite costly and inflexible to changes in the industry or technology. I’ve seen with this route that some agencies have stagnated where the codebase or ethos is stuck behind other, more flexible teams. However, if you’re able to grow your agency and scale it successfully, then the benefits will far outweigh the costs.

Multi-Platform Routes

Working across all platforms is a great option if you’re looking to be flexible and work with a variety of clients. The downside of this option is that it can be quite messy and hard to focus on. There are too many ways each platform or codebase is different which means many similar processes need to be put in place, lending itself to things being missed or dropped which is costly to an agency.

However, if you’re able to grow your agency and hire the right people, then this option can be very successful. If you’re working on small scale clients, with smaller websites this is easier to do than in larger markets because the opportunity for scope creep is smaller, which makes it less risky than for larger clients.

CMS Routes

Picking an agency focused CMS platform like Duda allows you to build flexibly, fast, and charge accordingly. It means that you can work within a community that focused heavily on supporting agencies too. Oftentimes, like with Duda, Wix or WordPress, there is a community of people to offer support to each other. In some cases, like with Duda, there are entire offerings dedicated to agencies that want to create good looking, performant websites for their clients at scale! In my experience, Duda lives and breathes agencies, and it shows. Not only does Duda offer a special plan just for agencies, but it also provides agencies with scalable team collaboration and client management tools, as well as automation options for optimal efficiency. In short, for agencies that build and manage multiple sites, Duda is one to consider.

The downside of this option is that it can limit the types of clients you can work with. The larger, more technical clients may still see this route as lower value than bespoke or proprietary platforms due to past history and experiences. Oftentimes this is all in the sales pitch for handling these objections and changing mindsets is hard, especially in larger businesses.

However, if you’re able to expand your business and find the appropriate clients, this may be a very successful route to take.

Regardless of The Route

The key to success with any of these growth routes is to make sure that you stick to your mission and purpose and that you’re constantly generating new leads and converting them into paying clients. If you can do that, then you’ll be well on your way to growing your web design agency.

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    Chris Simmance, Marketing Consultant and International Keynote Speaker

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