The Most Common Mistake Web Agencies Make When Marketing Web Development Services

by Ronik Patel

The Most Common Mistake Web Agencies Make When Marketing Web Development Services

Web agencies occupy a unique space when it comes to marketing web development services. Simply putting a contact form on your web page isn’t enough – you have to attract clients to your services and spend time communicating with them to seal the deal.

One of the ways successful web agencies do this is through inbound marketing. Often, the written content is the primary marketing vehicle in question – but increasing numbers of agencies are turning to video and other, more sophisticated forms of content marketing.

As with any technical profession, great communication is critical to achieving the results customers expect. And like many technical professions, marketers and content writers tend to have a technical edge themselves.

But if the customer doesn’t have the same amount of technical know-how, communication can quickly fall apart. Failure to effectively communicate in non-technical terms is easily one of the top mistakes web agencies make when marketing web development services.

How to Engage Your Biggest Clients: Non-Technical Decision-Makers

All web agency owners want to get the biggest clients. Many cater exclusively to large enterprises with deep pockets, while others are looking for creative startups flush with freshly invested funds.

Even web agency owners who cater to small businesses look for the ones that are growth-oriented. Long-term growth means more work, bigger projects, and better cash flow overall.

Yet marketing-savvy web agency owners know that the main decision-makers at small businesses and large enterprises alike often share one thing in common – a significant lack of tech experience.

Neither small business owners nor enterprise executives have the luxury of learning the ins and outs of every aspect of their business. This is especially true when it comes to web development.

More often than not, it’s non-technical decision-makers who have the final say on whether your client chooses you to build its new website or implement a new web application. These are the people who sign off on the budgets – the people you are really selling your services to.

So how can you address their concerns while still pointing out how your web development experience is better suited to their needs than anyone else’s? Here are five key things to keep in mind when dealing with a non-technical audience.

1. Use the Feynman Technique

Author, philosopher, bongo player, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman is more famous for his mastery of communication than for pioneering the field of quantum electrodynamics. The Feynman Technique is a proven model both for learning and teaching complex concepts effectively.

The technique is all about simplicity: explain your services as if you’re teaching them to a child. If you can simplify the subject to that level, your clients will hang on every word.

This means being brief, using plain terms, and avoiding all but the most well-known acronyms. When you need to use an acronym (HTTP is infinitely preferable to hypertext transfer protocol, for example), make sure to explain what it refers to in equally brief and plain language.

2. Use Analogies and Examples

Analogies and examples are powerful, persuasive rhetoric devices. You don’t need to describe a complex API resource path if you can find a meaningful analogy to use instead. Timothy Choi compares APIs to bank tellers – everyone is familiar with banks – and perfectly describes what APIs are all about using that analogy, even to the point of saying that enterprise APIs “talk in SOAP.”

Analogies and examples enjoy extra effectiveness if you can map them to the fields of interest you know your clients have. A banking or financial company executive will appreciate the bank analogy far more than a plastics manufacturer would.

3. Focus On the Problem

If your client doesn’t have a background in software engineering or web development, they probably don’t know the difference between HTML, CSS, and XML. Most of the time they also don’t care.

Instead, your clients are looking for valuable expertise that solves problems. Forget features and specifications – focus on the problem and identify how your particular insight will solve that problem. If you have to use industry jargon and technical terms, offer definitions for anything your clients may not be familiar with.

4. Use the Pyramid Principle

Whether you are writing an email or presenting your services to an executive board, you should start with the most critical concepts first and then be broader later on. This to-the-point introduction covers the material that most people are likely to be familiar with and establishes a starting point for you to dive into what makes your particular solution special.

Many successful business owners and salespeople swear by the Minto Pyramid. It allows them to convey the most important information first, and then fill in the details afterward. Non-technical web development customers who have problems that need solving are a similarly impatient audience.

5. Break Everything Up into Easily Manageable Chunks

Again, this applies whether speaking in person or writing to a general audience. Jumping rapidly from subject to subject is as bad as dwelling interminably on minor features. All of your communications should be separated into brief, manageable categories.

For web developers dealing with clients, this means talking about APIs separately from front-end functionality. It means focusing on the why of your solution as much as the how of your solution without offering more detail than is necessary.

If you’re writing, try to dedicate no more than 100 words to a single subject. Often you can do well with much less. If you are speaking, spend no more than two minutes introducing subjects in as concise a manner as possible.

Reserve Technical Content for Technical Audiences

Web agency owners who are marketing web development services need to categorize their audiences into technical and non-technical groups.

When you are communicating with an enterprise IT specialist who is interested in proposing your agency as the company’s web developer, feel free to go deep into technical detail. When you actually send a proposal to the company for an executive to sign off on, use this non-technical communication guide to make sure everyone is on the same page.

UnlimitedWP is a white label web development agency that specializes in delivering beautiful experiences to busy web agency owners. Talk to us about your project and our team will get it done for you.


Have questions? Leave us a comment, we’re here to help.

Ronik Patel – Co-Founder, UnlimitedWP

Ronik Patel

After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

So we took our team of highly qualified website developers and web designers and launched UnlimitedWP, a white-label WordPress partner for growing agencies.

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