How to get more ideas out of your eCommerce agency
When was the last time your eCommerce agency came to you with a new idea for your website?
If you’re reading this post, we’ll hazard a guess it might be longer ago than you’d like. With your agency’s retainer likely being a good chunk of your budget, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little let down by what might look like a lack of ideas or innovation.
However – there is a solution! In this post, we’ll explore what might be causing your agency to not be bringing you as many ideas as you expect, and crucially: exactly what steps you can take to change that.
1. If you want proactive strategies, you have to make that clear to your agency
Ideas are difficult – the most difficult part of an agency’s work. Creativity, innovation and solutions are not easy – they take time, expertise, and technical knowledge to pull off. While most agency retainers will have budgets for security updates, out-of-hours support and bug fixes, few have dedicated time for innovation and strategy.
Saying that, it is common practice for agencies to proactively suggest their own ideas to clients, with the hope that they blossom into additional projects and work, resulting in more success and higher profits for their clients – but here’s the thing: it costs your agency time and money to research and put together those proposals. Teams strapped for time or behind on targets will tend to prioritise pitching to those clients they feel are most likely to green light the projects; those seen as harder to convert might slide to the bottom of the list. A client turning down a handful of previous suggestions could be enough for an account manager to deprioritise pitching new ideas – but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
If you don’t feel your agency has suggested any interesting or game-changing ideas recently, perhaps it’s worth considering if they have a strategic roadmap for your future growth at all. A great agency partner will be constantly refining and adding to roadmaps to ensure that future planned projects, and the results of them, are contributing to their clients’ business goals. This document should be shared with you regularly to ensure the plan is still aligned to your business goals – and if they shift, the roadmap may need to adjust accordingly. For more about roadmaps and what should be included in them, stay tuned for a dedicated post here on the JH blog in the near future.
2. Keep an eye on your agency’s marketing content
Here’s a not-so-well-kept secret: most agencies don’t write content, produce case studies, host events, and send out newsletters for the fun of it. (Shocking, huh?!) They do all of those things in the hope they will win them new work: and to do that, they include some of their best ideas and knowledge directly in that content. So if you aren’t reading, watching or attending at least some of the stuff your agency is putting out there – you’re missing out!
As an example – and probably a shameless plug – we do exactly this here at JH. As well as uploading at least one new post here on the JH blog every week, we send out our Friday Five newsletter packed with the latest learning and trends in eCommerce; host regular virtual workshops and events; and team up with partners to contribute knowledge on webinars, panels and podcasts. While the main goal of most of this activity is to get us in front of new clients, and hopefully sign them – there are very few content pieces or events that wouldn’t be useful to clients already on our roster. In fact, we do invite our current clients to all our events, and often reach out directly to share specific content we think would interest them the most.
If you haven’t subscribed to your agency’s newsletter, followed them on LinkedIn, or visited their website recently – perhaps it’s time to change that. What successes are they talking about in their latest case studies featuring their other clients? Have they covered recent technology trends on their blog? Are they hosting upcoming training or events you’d find useful? Don’t miss out on your agency’s added-value content and expertise – it’s free, but could make you millions!
3. Share your business goals (and setbacks) with your agency team
It’s highly likely that you’ve already shared top-line business goals with your agency – you may even have agreed specific KPIs that feed into them – but what if they can help in areas you might not realise, too? Sharing your day-to-day issues, non-revenue goals and frustrating sticking points could be all it takes for your agency to suggest fixes and solutions.
Your agency should already be proactively booking meetings with you, not only to discuss projects they are working on, but your business as a whole. These meetings are included in the fees you pay to your agency – so make sure you get the most out of them! Staying in regular contact with your agency is not only useful for keeping you abreast of what stage projects are at; they also offer opportunities for your agency to support you in other areas. Solutions come in all shapes and sizes: from quick fixes to months-long projects – but flagging issues early means they can be built into your future roadmap, or fixed in stages over time. All you have to do – is raise them!
Which of these solutions is most helpful for your team?
While each of the above three suggestions will likely have an impact alone, we recommend using all three in unison for the best results! And if that still doesn’t get your agency banging on your door with new ideas? Well… Maybe it’s time to look for an agency that can take you where you want to be. If you’d like to learn what partnering with JH would look like for your business, get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44(0)115 7940060.