How To Buy Web Design Cover Scenttrail Marketing

How To Buy Web Design

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Psychology of the Buy

The Buddhist monk Pema Chodron taught me a valuable lesson not long after hearing “cancer” and my name in the same sentence. How you THINK and TREAT yourself is how you ARE in the world. Notice some people only receive PAIN and MISERY from the world while others receive an abundance of love and happiness?

When creating a new website Go EASY on yourself. Use tips shared here to mold a process that works. The web is ORGANIC. Nothing you can ever DO is a mistake no matter how much it feels and seems to be a mistake when it happens (lol). The only mistake you can make that can’t be recovered from is to NOT PLAY.

Even “not playing” in most business verticals remains recoverable since nternet marketing is ever changing. The minute KINGS and QUEENS become too established some revolution reshuffles the deck. If you want to be #1 on “marketing” that ship has probably sailed for our lifetime.

But the COOL thing is chasing rank doesn’t matter as much as when I built my first site in 1999.

If everything is going to change all the time anyway, going EASY is the only way not to jump off the roof. Go EASY and DIVERSIFY young man, diversify. Today’s post is on how to buy web design. Days when one agency could master every Internet marketing service needed to WIN online are gone. Here are just a few areas of expertise needed:

  • User Interface (UI) Design.
  • Graphics Design.
  • Conversion Design and Predictive Analytics.
  • Video marketing.
  • Visual merchandising (of products or content).
  • Social Media Marketing.
  • Mobile & Responsive Design.
  • Content Marketing.
  • Content Curation.
  • Cause Marketing.
  • etc…

Each of those areas, and there are many more like email marketing and Facbook ads, has 1,000 DEEP experts who spend most of their time writing books and speaking at a conference near you. You can’t afford them. Even if you COULD afford them chances of being READY for them are almost zero (you would be writing this post not reading it lol).

Know What You Are Buying & Why

Want to test an idea or five? Grab a WordPress Blog, learn the 3 commands you need to populate a template and go to town. CrowdFunde is a good example. I’m brewing content and ideas on a WP blog that took about 3 hours to create.

Next step, as I discussed with my friend and CEO Eric Garrision at lunch today, is SELL THE THING. ideally sell the concept of “enterprise crowdfunding” BEFORE writing code. Selling AIR is HARD, but not if you are transparent and clear about goals. Eric’s team just finished the IndyWeek Give Guide.

CrowdFunde’s plug and play “enterprise crowdfunding” inside YOUR website is Indy GiveGuide + 20% new work. I might GIVE AWAY the “Use Case” application (or two or three), but $5K + Indy GG + 20% + two months and we are in business.

Buying Web Design Rule One Never Spend In Advance of your Return on Investment (ROI), unless you must.

There is something to be said for going in FAST and HARD. Web scale goes to prime movers. The first company to SCALE an idea WINS. If I had $200K instead of $5K I would be going in much faster and harder (trust me lol).

Buying Web Design Rule Two is Don’t THINK Budget, Think EXIT and SCALE.

Work The MATH

This next part is going to give you a headache and go by FAST. Read it and feel free to email me ( or call me my phone is on LI) questions.

Create a Social & Content Marketing Evaluation Matrix. Here is and example (link goes to a public Google doc spreadsheet):

How To Buy Web Design - Social Matrix Example on Scenttrail

Total – adds up all “social” and “content” numbers from the grid.
Staff – number of staff is important because today’s Internet marketing requires diversity of THINKING and expertise.
PageRank – Google’s modeled value for the site from 0 to 10 with ten best.
PageSpread – how many pages are indexed by Google (has a relationship to PageRank).
In Links – Links INBOUND via Alexa (you can get traffic rank there too, remember lower is better).
LEI (Link Efficiency Index) – Measures speed of inbound link creation.
Facebook LIKES & Talking About – Find these numbers on a company’s Facebook page, they are good “new SEO” indicators.
Twitter Followers & Following – You want to see HEALTHY numbers on both sides of this ratio too few following means snobby and doesn’t really GET how social media marketing works (believes in the old model of perceived exclusivity over connection and communication).

F2F – Ratio of Twitter Following To Followers (like to see at least 20% here).
G+ Followers (NO ONE gets G+ yet, so press them to use it in your evaluation, do a HANGOUT or ask what they are doing to GET G+).
LinkedIn – Few really “GET” LinkedIn yet either, but, especially for B2B agencies this number should be healthy.
YouTube – Few “GET” video marketing yet either, but they better get it fast since the tsunami is HERE.
Pinterest – Next waves is going to be about VISUAL marketing (why I opened a 2,000 world post with a Haiku Deck lol).

Math is REVEALING Always

You need a partner whose marketing is intelligent and balanced. Every agency struggles with creating their marketing, but hold their feet to the fire. The “cobbler’s children” have bare feet doesn’t fly when the only way to know this stuff is to DO IT.

When you see positive imbalance there is usually money involved. When you see balance, struggle and PAIN you are looking at Internet marketing truth.

Facebook likes + pagespread is a good SEO tactic for 123Triad since one covers the other (to some degree) and Google isn’t nearly as smart or punishing about buying Facebook likes as they are with LINKS. 123’s pagespread of 8,750 covers their 11,310 Facebook likes almost like a perfect plan (lol).

If 123 ONLY had those big Facebook numbers Google would toss them as sticking out like a sore thumb. I don’t know how 123’s business model is sustainable. They sell web dev at the low end. Why pay 123 $500 to give you a WordPress template site you could create with a few hours of reading and 1/5th the money?

Buying Web Design Rule Three: Put Social & Content Marketing Numbers Into a spreadsheet.

Even if all of this IM Language is NEW and your mind is BLOWN you see how having these numbers together helps SEE patterns (LINK to Google Doc with my spreadsheet)?

Buying Web Design Rule Four: He Who talks MONEY First LOSES!

You are dealing with people skilled at sticking a label on your project and assigning it to STARS or LOSERS path. That call is almost always based on money. Money is STUPID and meaningless in website projects. There was a time you could create a winning website for $5K. Yeah, that time would be GONE (see my note at the end for more on the real cost of today’s web design poker).

Viget Brothers Picture on Scenttrail marketing


Look for COOL STUFF and creative people. Don’t worry about tenure. Web design and marketing skills are in such demand people jump around. Key executives such as CEO & Pres should have longer tenures. Web design attracts different kinds of people:

  • Scientist / Nerds.
  • Artists / Nerds.
  • Rule The World Sales (true for all salespeople everywhere).
  • Project Managers (remember the HALL MONITORS when you were in school?).
  • Creatives & Entrepreneurs (have to have passion and creativity to survive in this space for any amount of time).

One company may be brilliant strategists ( would fit this definition in the Triangle), design led shops, programming shops (Atlantic BT would be and example of a “programming led” shop) and moms and pops (smaller shops that may have one area of cool expertise like with their very cool mobile/local URL I don’t understand but want too).

Meet At Your Place FIRST
& Start The TAPE and The VIDEO ASAP

In the Haiku Deck above I suggest have THEM come to YOU first. Web design agencies are like VEGAS. Their environments are seductive and mesmerizing. Before you get hypnotized have a “flash meeting” of exactly an hour at your place. Stick to an hour.

The longer a web design meeting goes on the more compliant you become (lol).

Be sure to treat everyone invited to pitch as close to equal as possible. We humans are JUDGEMENT machines. SLOW judgement down, control the agenda and be clear about your business goals, requirements and timeline (or as clear as you can be NOW, you WANT your requirements to be changed by THEM.

Atlantic BT Office How To Buy Web Design Scenttrail Marketing

Buying Process Outline In Haiku Deck

Buying Web Design Rules Five: On The Internet You Are NEVER Alone!

The sooner you get used to sharing everything all the time the more successful your website will be. There was a time when your site’s design or cool features could win traffic, social shares, SEO and MONEY. Not so much anymore. Everyone has everything except clear Calls To Action, easy to understand information architecture and an infinite number of ways to SHARE content (lol).

Buying Web Design Rule Six: Website Design Isn’t About WHAT you THINK it is about (not even close).

Now we have 6 Buying Web Design “Rules”:

  • One: Never Spend In Advance of your ROI (unless you must).
  • Two: Don’t THINK Budget, Think EXIT and SCALE.
  • Three: Put Social & Content Marketing Follows & Numbers Into A Spreadsheet. Look for patterns.
  • Four: He Who Talks MONEY First LOSES!
  • Five: On The Internet You are NEVER Alone.
  • Six: Website design isn’t about what you think it is about (not even close).

Price of web design poker is around $50K dev and $50K initial marketing, so $100K.

Don’t FREAK (lol). Remember Buying Web Design Rule One: Never Spend In Advance of your ROI. Start with $10K, make $100K, spend another $10K, make another $50K, spend another…. Use profits from you last investment to pay for the next one.

You need a partner you can LOVE for several years. If a potential partner demands $50K to do the first segment tell them NO (unless you’ve already made several hundred thousand). If they insist find another vendor. Every web design company will probe, test and find how much you have to spend and then spend every dime (lol). He who mentions money FIRST loses.

Having 80 people as Atlantic BT does is expensive (figure $4M to $5M easy). You MUST learn HOW an agency’s expense can benefit you, your company and project. Wish I had a MASTER BLASTER way to answer that question. Your project is your project. Only you can determine “fit” with a web development company.

Your project might be a perfect fit for Viget or TheeDesign or GenerateDesign or (if you KNOW TECH and are organized). Unless you know how to write an airtight Funcational Spec (and no one does), going overseas is more headache than benefit. 123Triad is sort of going overseas since they sell here and work there. Same rule applies. Eric, a much more technical person than I will ever be, told me HE doesn’t do work overseas anymore (too much work, too little benefit).

Sitting here in my loft writing I can’t know what Raleigh web design group is a perfect fit your project. I’m GLAD to help. There are several ways you can meeting with me:

* Buy me a warm beverage on a cold day and do so in downtown Durham and I’m yours for an hour (lol).
* Join me for lunch most Saturdays at Saladelia Cafe in Durham (on University) from 11 – 2 and we can discuss your project.
* Pay my brilliant friend Phil Buckley and New Media Leaders to help you as I am proud to be a HELLFIGHTER.
* Offer to contribute to my Story of Cancer Foundation and I will follow you into the gates of HELL itself (lol)., phone is on LinkedIn. Good luck and remember to have fun. Marty

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