Clients and customers, we all need them. They’re the thing that allows business and commerce to exist. Without them, the world may well actually stop spinning. I was having a conversation with one of my best friends, mentors and sounding boards recently (Rachel, you know who you are) and she asked me, “what does your perfect client look like?”. Straight away, I started thinking of who spends the most, who pays on time, etc — all the standard stuff you would automatically start bleating out when thinking about ‘dream clients’.
But dream clients goes so much further than money. That’s not to say I would work with someone who’s really bad at paying bills — but who would, right?
Here are four things I look for in the perfect client:
Marketing and the optimisation process is just that, a process. It’s not “because I say it, it will be”. It never fails to amaze me when a client gets p**sed off with me feeding back the results of an experiment that perhaps hasn’t yielded the results we wanted it to.
Sure, I’m never happy when things don’t work out, but wouldn’t you rather me be honest with you so we can agree on how to move forward?
I’m straight talking, honest and upfront. If something has tanked, I’ll say it’s tanked and suggest the best way forward. If you never want to hear bad news, we’re probably not a great fit. If you’re happy to work with me (through good times and the bad), then let’s talk.
The process of developing and optimising a website should be just as data-driven and as logical as the code that sits underneath the surface. All too often, business managers and leaders will have opinions and sometimes want to make changes a website. This could be editing the items in the navigation, how the header sections look, swapping out call-to-action buttons — anything at all really. Normally the answer (from many web agencies) will be, “Okay! No problem, we’ll let you know when it’s done.”
My reply would go something like this… “Okay, but what we need to do is look at what you’re looking to achieve by making the change. We can then test this outcome before the change, and after the change and see if it’s had the desired result”.
Just because you’ve asked for something and ‘you think’ it might work better, doesn’t mean that it will, does or should be implemented permanently.
Test, test and then test some more. Making changes based on opinion is reckless when data is so easy to come by.
My dream client understands and buys into this process.
I’ve already touched on the fact that optimisation is a process. Results don’t happen overnight. Depending on what you’re looking to achieve (how much traffic you have to your website, conversions, bounce rate, etc.), we need to be clear from the off that it will take time.
Setting up experiments and reviewing the data is just the first part of a bigger picture. We need to make sure that the results are statistically valid and likely to succeed long term. We might want to repeat the same experiment on a different part of your website to truly validate that those changes are resonating with your audience. It’s certainly not as simple as putting a test live on the 1st of the month and deciding which way to go on the 31st.
Badly executed and winning variations declared on poorly justified data is pointless and potentially damaging. I always set out a realistic timescale when launching a new experiment and need to work with people that understand the timescales I’m quoting are for their own good. It’s not something that can be rushed.
We’re dealing with more than the amount of man-hours that can be thrown at a project here. We’re dealing with people — regular, human people. Game to get on board? I’d love to work with you. Want to implement stuff too quickly? We probably won’t get on.
Sometimes, it’s the small things in life that make the biggest difference. The same is true in the world of website optimisation. Not every experiment involves re-developing landing pages or swapping out your homepage for something totally different and seeing which works best.
Sometimes, we need to look at the finer details: headlines, button text, supporting copy, etc. My dream clients understand this and recognise that a simple test isn’t me simply looking for an easy buck. It’s me trying to save you money by avoiding more drastic recommendations.
There you have it! The common things that, if we can get right working with each other, will help us achieve success. If not, things (including our working relationship) might not be as rosey as we’d both like.
Hopefully, this hasn’t left you thinking I’m a pretentious arse. I just like to be honest and open with the people I work with, so figured we might as well start now!
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