Introverts, extroverts, CEO’s and interns. Everyone has their own communicating style. When it’s time to redesign your website, start up a new Google Ads campaign or take on a plethora of new initiatives, they all require asking the right questions to be successful. We’ve seen our share of different companies and non-profit organizations come to us to help them reach their goals. So much so, I can spot with pretty high accuracy which projects are going to lead to success and which are doomed from the beginning. It doesn’t necessarily come to down to how big the budget or organization is. Any idea what makes the difference?
It’s in the questions.
Conversations that last a few minutes and typically revolve around the point of, “you’re the expert so we’ll let you figure it out” are the red flagged ones. It actually sounds like a gift doesn’t it? We’ve all worked on grueling projects where it felt as if they would never end because of the endless rules and stipulations (many of which didn’t make sense). Compare to that, “you figure it out” and it does sound like a gift. However, it all comes to down moderation as do most things in life. Think of the single meal question. If you had to choose one food that you would eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Some jump to favorites like pizza.
After a couple weeks of that, the mistake that it was will emerge.
Too much of one thing is simply too much. Here’s how to start your project off right:
Evaluate Your Needs
Let’s say you and your team has come to the conclusion that you need to redesign your website. Before you begin your search or go to your web developer/agency, you should take the time to discuss internally. Truly develop an understanding of what it is that you need and want. Do you want a new website because your competition redesigned theirs (psst, that’s not a good reason) or do you want to try AdWords because a lot of industry experts talk about the benefits of a well-run campaign? The problem with both of these is that they are reactionary and not coming out of a need you have. Are sales flat recently and you’re not sure why? Is a new product launch planned and you want to build awareness? Think of the “why” for the project.
Build An Understanding
Depending on your role, you should have an understanding of your business, industry and generally what is going on. No one expects you to know the in’s and outs of the latest Google Ads interface changes or the latest details for every social media platform (Ad Updates from Instagram, Facebook, & Pinterest) but you should have a general idea of what is out there. Having an understanding doesn’t mean you become an expert and try to do everything yourself. What it does mean is that you can bring ideas to your team and agency, hold your own and on a very important note, know if who you are interviewing is blowing smoke.
Have a Conversion. Not A Speech.
You have an idea of what you need why you need it. You’ve gained an understanding of what areas you may need to invest in. Now is the time to get going. When you sit down to talk with your agency, whether you’ve worked with them before or are looking for a new one (ahem contact us) you don’t want to give a speech dictating what you want to happen. You need to trust who you hire is capable of contributing to the strategy and executing it. They will provide suggestions and you will benefit from their experience and knowledge.
Don’t give a speech, have a conversation. Discuss the reason for the new project. Discuss your needs and concerns. Share information about that new product coming out soon and be honest about your expectations. Share what you know and ask questions to fill in what you don’t. A great partner will educate you and a great project starts with a conversion. Had you hired an agency saying, “here build a website and you figure it out” leaves both of you at a disadvantage. Starting out sharing the situation your business is in, how your industry is changing and what you need has a much better chance of success.
We as an agency love sharing what we know with our clients. We love when clients ask us questions because it shows they are engaged, they want to learn and it’s a great way to build a strong and trustworthy relationship for both sides. When it’s a fresh start, you know your business and your agency knows how to reach goals through different strategies. Have a discussion and work together.