My thoughts on the long-term efficacy of the agency / client model are hardly secret.
To summarise: After an agency builds a site for a client, their respective interests no longer align. The agency needs to move on to the next big paying job but the client needs on-going, low value, ad hoc work.
Relationships become strained.
Clients moan to their peers that their agency isn’t responsive.
Agencies moan amongst themselves and to their peers that clients are a hassle.
The situation is exacerbated when it comes to eCommerce sites, and real ROI is on the table.
Let’s find a solution
Nobody wants to be thought of as a moaner. So how do we fix the problem?
Website owners, especially eCommerce store owners, will always need ongoing investment of time and expertise in their websites.
I’d posit that we’re still a long way off from a time when every business can afford an in-house employee who is an expert in web development, SEO and online marketing.
So perhaps we need a new style of business that can take over where the agencies want to leave off?
Let the agencies co-ordinate the initial site-build for a client, but then give them an avenue to direct the client towards that fulfils the requirements the client will have in the next stage of their business’ development.
The service will need to be dedicated to providing the month-on-month support required to maintain and grow a website or eCommerce store. The tasks that comprise the service will need to be locked down and systematised (and automated where possible) so they can be performed relatively quickly and provided at a cost that meets the expectations of clients.
And clients’ expectations of cost may have to rise a little too. Let’s meet in the middle and ensure you, as the client, get a fantastic service you can rely on every month.
I have co-founded ShopMonster in an attempt to build such a service for WooCommerce store owners.
For a recurring monthly fee (plans start at £275 per month) ShopMonster pro-actively determines the tasks that are required to:
- Optimise your site for the search engines
- Improve the conversion rate of traffic to your site
- Attract new and repeat visitors to your site
Of course, behind each of those umbrella groupings are a mammoth number of possible tasks. We work with clients to establish a plan to action those tasks in a sensible order over an agreed time period.
Hop over to the ShopMonster site for a more detailed listing of the types of tasks we will perform for clients.
If you’re feeling brave, you can sign up for the free email course. It explains in-depth our roadmap for turning a ho-hum WooCommerce store into a roaring sales monster. Use it for tips on tuning your WooCommerce store yourself – don’t pay us a penny.
I’m a DIYer, is ShopMonster a good fit for me?
Here at WP Musketeer I’ve espoused the idea of bootstrapping your online business by DIY building a platform with WordPress and WooCommerce. And I still support this notion. Build yourself a Minimum Viable Audience (MVA) and deliver it a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
However, once your business has achieved a measure of success, you need to be spending time on the parts of your business for which you are uniquely suited. You should be scaling up your back-office or improving your product or service, not performing DIY on the tools you use to deliver your product or service to the world.
This is the point at which ShopMonster can help.
If you’re still not sure if you’re ready or able to divest this responsibility to third party experts, apply for a ShopMonster free audit and we’ll assess the current state of your business and the potential ROI of paying for the monthly service. It’ll cost you nothing and you can do what you like with the (highly actionable) results.
Are you an agency?
If you represent an agency or small dev shop and have stumbled across this article, please get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about taking care of the sites you build for your clients.
If you have any other questions or just want to give your opinion on the ideas put forth in this article, please drop me a line in the comments below. I’d really love to hear from you.