Revise Your Ad Agency’s Website for New Business

a website for ad agency new business

Your website’s key role is to generate business for the firm

Research shows websites influence 97% of clients’ purchasing decisions. 

I’ve often said that agencies are in a perpetual state of re-branding and re-designing their websites. Neither should be so difficult.

A website is an important online platform to showcase your agency’s credentials, capabilities and case studies. It is the primary platform to display your creative work. But for most agencies, redesigning their websites has become a difficult process.

Creatives want to showcase their creativity but often forget that one of the primary objects of their website is a tool for obtaining more new business. When designing or revising your website, keep this objective and your prospective client audience in mind.

There has to be a balance of the creative design and the strategic purpose of your agency’s website. To much emphasis on the design is useless if prospects can’t find what they’re looking for.

Your agency’s website is the place for:

  • Showcasing your agency’s creative capabilities
  • Press releases – Announcements about new hires, new client acquisitions, awards and other agency news.
  • A directory of current clients.
  • Staff profiles or at least profiles of the agency’s leadership.
  • Highlight case studies, testimonials, advertising and marketing campaigns.
  • Resources such as articles, white papers, research findings and presentations.
  • Agency services. Provide a clear understanding of what services your agency provides..
  • Job postings, staff recruitment highlighting your agency’s culture.
  • Highlight your agency’s associations such as with the 4A’s, MAGNET, TAAN or other agency affiliations.
  • Links to your agency’s social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Facts about your agency. Provide a link to an easy to print, downloadable PDF Agency Fact Sheet on your agency.
  • A call-to-action. Provide a path to engagement for your visitors. Include information about first steps for a prospect, such as a brand or market audit.
  • Contact information. Make sure that prospects know who to contact for new business other than info@.

Usability is a critical success factor for websites. If yours isn’t easy to use it is a very poor reflection of your agency and prospects will simply leave it.

Web design expert, Jakob Nielsen states that,

“Web design is not a matter of taste or aesthetics — it’s a matter of science … what we actually know from our studies is that the average user experience on the Web is that of failure.”

According to Nielsen, there are two primary reasons website designers neglect usability:

  1. They don’t understand the need for usability testing. They neglect it because they think their own website is easy to use but it’s because they designed it.
  2. If they recognize the need for usability, they think they have to build a special laboratory with one way mirrors and test fifty users. But that isn’t the case.

Just get some real users and run a very simple user test.

Mark O’Brien is the president of, a web development company with offices in Chapel Hill, NC and Providence, RI that specializes in working with creative agencies to build marketing sites for themselves and their clients. He has written an excellent book that I highly recommend, A Website That Works: How Marketing Agencies Can Create Business Generating Sites. Every agency owner should read it to make their website development process easier.  

Mark provides practical help to oversee the functionality and design process for an agency’s site from a prospective client’s perspective. He writes in every day language that most readers will understand as he shares his philosophy and insights for developing a website that works well as a new business tool.

Here’s Mark’s assessment of the typical agency’s website design:

Many agencies believe that their site’s central function is to show their visitors how creative they are. I disagree … The site’s key role is to generate business for the firm, and demonstrating creativity is only part of what converts a visitor into a prospect.

You will not lose a site visitor because the home page is not splashy enough, but you will lose plenty if the site is so “creative” that the visitor cannot figure out how to get to your portfolio section within the first five seconds of landing on the site. Inspire your visitors by the work in your portfolio, but not necessarily by the creativity of the portfolio itself.

Here are some of the highlights from A Website That Works:

  • Your site can be yet another brochure for your agency, or it can be the sole source of twenty percent of your closed new business each year.
  • The site’s key role is to generate business for the firm, and demonstrating creativity is only part of what converts a visitor into a prospect.
  • People constantly evaluate your firm based on your website.
  • Inspire your visitors by the work in your portfolio, but not necessarily by the creativity of the portfolio itself.
  • The main problem we all encounter when approaching a web development project is that a common-sense approach to web development does not work.
  • Getting creative with navigation is the next most common print to web misstep I see agencies make.
  • There are two absolutely necessary ingredients for creating a modern marketing website for your firm: a commitment to specialization and a commitment to writing.
  • Your specialization is defined by your focused expertise, which is defined by your positioning statement, which is prominently placed on your home page.
  • Once your site attracts the right people and informs and inspires them through your work and expertise, it should then bring those people into some sort of relationship with you.
  • If the only call to action you have on your website is a link to your “contact us” page, then you have a website without any calls to action.

The book  provides a 9 Step Process for creating website to attract qualified prospects and generate new business leads.

Click on the following links for a full description and review of Mark’s book: A Website That Works: How Marketing Agencies Can Create Business Generating Sites or if you prefer, the Kindle Version.

Additional articles that may be of interest:

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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