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Growing your fee income – an agency guide

Guide
by James Holloway Agency Partnership Director

The opportunity to increase your agency fee income from digital services is growing year on year with the top 100 digital agencies in the UK now earning over £2.8bn in 2018*. The main players may be taking this large slice of the pie but how can you capitalise on this without impacting the perception and service levels you may already receive in your core offerings?

This guide offers a series of points to consider on the way to making the most from any web development projects you manage to secure with clients.

1. Consider the skills needed to deliver the project

Depending on the size of the website required and resource needed to deliver this do you have all the necessary skills in-house to support a successful roll out? You’re going to need skilled developers to build the site but will also need to think about the SEO technical structure of the site, the UX and design of this, hosting requirements as well as ongoing maintenance and improvements to make sure it stands out. If web development is not your core focus this can be a pricey shopping list of talent you’d need to bring into the agency.

2. Are you aware of the full specifications needed from the client?

Is it a simple brochure style website with no major functionality? Do they need eCommerce capabilities to take payment online? How will the designs look across multiple device and screen sizes? What is the website’s core purpose for your client? These are only a handful of the many questions that need to be asked when looking to brief in a new web project, the more detail gathered up front the better to ensure the build is carried out to the exact requirements needed by the client. There will always be snags or bugs to review and pick up post build but this will reduce any major changes or issues. Gooey’s guide to successful web briefing can help you with this.

3. Have you priced the job correctly?

If you’re in a competitive tender for a new site build then price will undoubtedly be a strong factor in whether you are chosen or not but pricing too low could mean losing out on the margin made on the project, especially if there are changes that need to be made post build which could incur extra costs. Have you made it clear to the client what they are getting for the investment and provided a strict SLA on the number of amends and changes that can be made post development? Working with a development partner can ensure you price the job correctly and structure it in a way that covers for any ongoing changes once built.

4. Have you considered how to gain ongoing revenue post build from the client?

New web builds or web migration projects can be a nice source of income with good margins built in but have you looked at how you could offer the client ongoing support post build to generate further revenue? Digital fee income does not just have to come from building websites, considering ongoing support such as SEO services (technical, link building, PR), PPC management, lead generation, content creation, social activation or simply further development and maintenance of the site. These services can all be recurring revenue opportunities built around the core build project. As listed above, ensuring you have the necessary resource in place to deliver on any of these services is key though.

5. Choosing the right resource model to support digital services

Depending upon your core focus as an agency, investing in digital talent to build sites, maintain them and improve their performance can be very costly. Working with a range of freelancers to support this could be an option but the best ones are usually very busy so it can be hard to support projects especially at short notice. Utilising outsourced overseas agencies is also an option and although the cost can be low it can be hard to get the quality or communication right to deliver your project successfully. Working with an established white labelled UK based agency such as Gooey means you have the ability to flex your resource as needed and can be assured the standards and communications channels are all well established to support you.

6. Ensure you are aware of the tax benefits of delivering digital services

Working on digital projects also provides you with the opportunity to claim back Research and Development tax credits linked to the investment made on delivering services in this way. Learn more here on how to claim these back and help towards your bottom line.

Summary

Considering all these factors is necessary to ensure that you’re not only winning web development projects as an agency but importantly you’re making good money from them as well. If you aim to make good margin from a web build you need to ensure you have all the necessary resource and processes in place to make the project delivery a success and subsequently profitable. However if you’re key focus is on making money from services around the ongoing optimisation of the site you can maybe make a smaller margin on the build to help generate ongoing revenues.

Either way, working with experienced and successful partners to aide you with this will be vital to ensure you not only make good money but your exceptional service credentials are maintained and your reputation not tarnished by delving offering these services.

Gooey offer a white labelled development function around all WordPress and Magento web development projects and have delivered over 4000 websites for clients over the 10 years we’ve been in business. Operating from the UK and with a strong focus on client service and delivery we can support all your web development needs as and when you need to.

* Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agencies 2018 report.