3 Reasons Our Clients Are Our Clients

26 May 2016

Only two Fortune 1000 companies call Austin home.

One is Whole Foods Market. The other is the Hormel Foods Corporation—which happens to be headquartered in Austin, Minnesota

Austin-based companies that deliver professional services (e.g., Web design agencies) are often forced to look outside Austin city limits for new clients. Meanwhile, Austin is overflowing with designers, developers, and marketers. Freelancers, tiny shops, medium-sized agencies, and a few big-time heavy hitters are all competing for the biggest and best local businesses—while simultaneously diverting resources to regional and national sales efforts. 

The competition is, as they say, fierce. 

And we love it that way.

For starters, we’ve got a competitive spirit. Our work is so entwined with our personal interests and intellectual passions that we crave interesting, large, complex challenges. We seek out clients who want a partner, not merely a vendor. When we conduct our top-secret internal sales strategy sessions deep in our mahogany-lined bunker, our list of “Ideal Client Qualities” is filled with adjectives like “collaborative” and “forward-thinking” and “savvy.”  

And since TradeMark was founded in 1999, and in the course of launching nearly 600 projects, we’ve identified three reasons our clients knock on our door…

Reason #1: Their Current Website is Old and Ineffective

This is probably the most common reason our clients end up our clients. 

It’s a tale as old as time (or at least as old as the Internet): You probably needed a website a few years ago, so you asked Phil from IT to build it in his free time, or maybe you hired a small local agency to do it for you. 

Time passes. Seasons change. The Internet leaves you in its dust, and your website begins growing mold. It looks more un-hip and dated every day. You worry about all those anonymous Web surfers who end up on your page, only to leave moments later when they realize you can’t help them. (Remember, the average bounce rate—i.e., the percentage of site visitors who land on one of your pages only to leave before visiting a second page—is around 70-80%.)

And so, fed up with all the missed opportunities your prehistoric website is causing, you go looking for someone to fix it -- and this time around, it won’t be Phil from IT.

We get a little giddy when someone with an under-performing website reaches out to us, because we know we can help. 

It’s not simply about making a pretty new site; it’s about digging deep into our client’s ecosystem to recommend and craft digital products (e.g., websites, applications, tools, SEO, content, etc.) that make a difference.

Reason #2: Their Current Website is a Pain to Manage

For far too many companies, deciding to update a page on their website is like staring at a Rube Goldberg machine like the "self-applying napkin":

Staring at their current website’s CMS, many people feel a flutter of anxiety. Do I have to know computer code? Is it possible I could crash the website or accidentally post the wrong thing in the wrong place? Where do I find the right page, anyway? Can I move that thingy from the left side to the right side? 

And the most common worry when dealing with a difficult-to-manage website: Should I even bother?

At TradeMark, we believe that a website shouldn’t be tied to us. You shouldn’t need to call or email us to do the day-to-day management of your site. That’s why we (a) implement easy-to-use content management systems, and (b) train all of our clients on their new CMS before and after launch.

Frankly, a website that’s a pain to administer can be even more damaging to a business than an outdated website lacking in features. 

Reason #3: Their Current Agency is Coming Up Short

Your website isn’t a brochure. It doesn’t sit on a shelf, unchanging and unchanged. 

Your website should be a spokesperson, interacting with customers and members and potential clients. Your website converses with the entire world. 
 
But your website isn’t the entirety of your business. You’ve got plenty of other professional fish to fry. The less time you spend worrying about your website—and the less time you spend scrambling to patch it up when it falls into disrepair—the better.

A great majority of our clients come to us, in part, because whoever’s currently “in charge” of their website is coming up short. Their agency isn’t responsive, isn’t thoughtful, and once a new site is launched or a new app released, their agency suddenly becomes very quiet. Emails go unanswered—and when someone from the agency finally gets on the phone, it’s clear that they haven’t thought much about the client since their check cleared.

Web development firms like TradeMark Media are in the service industry. Too many agencies— which often outsource client work to freelancers and under-invest in a robust project management team—treat clients as transactional customers. They treat websites like hamburgers or car mufflers—i.e., things to be delivered and never thought of again. 

We believe we’re here to partner with our clients—to deliver a world-class website while also crafting detailed strategies for the future. 

If more Web development outfits adopted a service-first mentality, there’d be far fewer companies asking us to give them the strategic expertise and long-term support they need. 

This service-centric mindset is why we give all of our clients six months of free training, technical support, and consulting after their launch. It’s why 50% of our business is repeat engagements. And it’s why a full quarter of our growing staff is dedicated to project management and client satisfaction. 

The Final Word

Maybe I’m naive, but I’ve watched the Web closely since it first appeared in the mid-1990s——and I believe it can still be a better place. 

With a great digital partner at their side, companies can sell more products, nonprofits can raise more money, associations can recruit new members, and governmental agencies can serve more people. 

A wise online strategy coupled with a powerful set of technologies will help every business in the world do better. And we’re honored to be a part of the solution.

Nick Weynand

Founder, President, & Strategy Director

Nick is TradeMark's founder, president, and the Director of Strategy. He's seen everything the Internet has to offer.

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