By: Dave Devitt on August 9th, 2018
5 Mistakes Marketing Agencies Make When Outsourcing Web Development
For marketing agencies, offering web development services to your clients is one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded field. If you don’t have the in-house expertise to develop websites yourself, however, then you’ll most likely be looking to outsource the bulk of the work.
If you don’t have experience working with a development partner, however, it’s easy to fall prey to some common outsourcing mistakes. Below, we’ll go over 5 issues that you should avoid when partnering with a web development company.
1. Picking the Cheapest Option
From the tiniest startup to the most massive multinational firms, every company needs a website in order for their customers to find them and do business with them. This means, of course, that web development services are a highly sought after skill these days.
While it might seem like a nice surprise to receive a bid lower than you expected, you should also be a little bit wary. Offering a low bid may be a sign that your potential partner is inexperienced or isn’t familiar with the market. It might also be a clue that they use developers overseas in an effort to cut costs, which can produce work of variable or shoddy quality.
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2. Using Freelancers
Using freelancers isn’t necessarily a bad thing; many of them are quite talented and produce quality work. However, it’s also fair to say that you’ll be taking a much bigger risk by going with a freelancer, especially one without a robust portfolio and references.
For one, freelancers sometimes have a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver in terms of their skill set and capabilities. If your freelancer doesn’t meet your expectations, then you aren’t able to meet your clients’ expectations—and that’s what matters for the bottom line. In other words, going with the wrong freelancers could harm your own company’s reputation.
Outsourcing development to freelancers is also a risk, because there’s usually only a single person at the other end of the line. If your freelancer goes on vacation or gets sick, then you’re left without options for the time being.
3. Not Doing Research
Choosing a custom web development partner is a major business decision, so you need to do your research well in advance. Start by looking into each firm under consideration:
- What do they do? What technologies do they use, and what kind of clients do they usually work for in terms of industry, size, etc.?
- How do previous clients feel about their work? Do they have reviews, testimonials, or case studies that can demonstrate their success with similar projects?
- Are they able to scale to meet growing levels of demand as necessary? Can they provide ongoing support and maintenance after the project is complete?
By asking the right questions beforehand, you can get a clear idea of how each potential partner operates and how trustworthy and reliable they are. Be sure to ask them for references for similar projects, if possible.
4. Partners with No Agency Experience
Working with a marketing agency and helping them execute campaigns is an entirely different experience than projects such as creating an e-commerce website. During your search, it’s important to prioritize partners that have already worked with marketing agencies in the past, for the following reasons:
- If your partner isn’t aware that working with a marketing agency will be different than usual, they’ll likely have a harder time adapting to the changes. You need an outsourcing partner who can seamlessly fit into your organization.
- From PPC to ROI, there’s a lot of marketing jargon and terminology that can pass over an outsider’s head. Choosing an experienced marketing partner helps avoid these issues.
- Marketing agencies often have faster turnaround times—they need a campaign finished ASAP in order to capitalize on a recent event. Your partner needs to be aware of these needs and willing to help you meet these tight deadlines.
- As a corollary, it’s common for marketing agencies to have a number of “fires” that they need to put out and projects that need rescuing. Development partners need to be comfortable with a certain degree of spontaneity and unpredictability.
5. Partners Who Don’t Ask Questions
One major red flag is a web development company that asks very few questions during the negotiation process. This is usually due to one of two causes: they’re inexperienced and don’t know the right questions to ask, or they simply don’t care about what you need from the partnership.
If a partner accepts your offer right off the bat, you might not get an opportunity to share what your clients’ expectations are for the final product. Without understanding your requirements during the sales process, how can you hope for your partner to deliver a satisfactory final product?
While the 5 issues above are all too common when it comes to finding a web development partner, the good news is that they’re largely avoidable. By taking the time to do your research and thoroughly vet the development companies on your list, you’ll be much more likely to find a partner that fits well with your business needs and objectives.