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27th March 2018
The answer is simple. Everything.
When an agency asks a client about their budget expectations, it’s not because we’re waiting to feverishly rub our hands together or clock the time and cost we can fool a client into thinking it’ll take for us to action their project.
We ask for a ballpark figure because we need it to understand and manage a client’s expectations when it comes to a scope of work.
As an agency, we often receive a brief from a potential client that’s all singing, all dancing, every bell and whistle imaginable included, and the words are uttered we fear most “We don’t have a budget. Can you quote against the brief we’ve provided?”
Yes we can, but we don’t want to.
The problem with not providing a budget is that it wastes the client’s time as much as it does an agency’s. A lot of time and effort goes into dissecting a brief, understanding the functionality required, the design needed, the audience it’s speaking to, how to tackle the planning stages, and the content and language that’s necessary to drive a consumer to an action.
Hours can be spent breaking down the elements of a request to cost time effectively and fairly, and to create an experience for your end user that works for them. Without a budget, when a quote is presented, it more often than not falls wide of the mark and a client loses confidence in the agency.
When an agency is provided with a budget to work with it benefits everyone.
An agency can appropriately plan and estimate costs, time, deadlines and milestones, as well as advise if a phased approach would be more beneficial to the client. A good agency wants to help their client achieve the best results they can and understanding the budget restrictions is key to accomplishing that.
People often deem agencies expensive and admittedly they’re not cheap, but there is a reason for that. Client’s that choose to use an agency are paying for their expertise and knowledge - a team of individuals that are passionate, professional, and specialists in their craft.
There will always be an agency who will tell you they’ll do the job cheaper too.
Many freelancers and smaller agencies can turn around a website for a few hundred pounds, but it’s more than likely going to be an off the shelf website theme. It’s rare that a client will receive the vital experience of outlining and planning a user journey, that’s based on the personas of their end users needs and motivations, and what does that mean for the client?
The in-depth planning phase of persona development, audience led site mapping and seo planning is all skipped, and by missing that phase, you’ll end up with a website that doesn’t work for your core audiences; and the website won’t be working hard for you either.
Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget with an agency and be transparent with them from the offset. Time won’t be wasted, objectives will be met and you’ll more than likely build a strong, trusted relationship with your agency. They want to create something that gets you results, looks incredible and makes your end users feel great about your business. Being open about budgets is fundamental in helping an agency to help you get the very most out of their skills.
Interesting? There’s plenty more where that came from…