Work with your Website to Get the Most Value

Posted by Garfield

Introducing the “Getting Real with Garfield Group” Series. We took to our employees - the experts on the frontlines of our agency - to see how they really feel about some pressing issues in our respective lines of work. This series of blog posts offers our readers a deeper look into the minds of the Garfield Group team to understand how we approach our day-to-day work while learning about our overall approach to strategy and company culture.

By Will Tate

Agency tech teams take on some of the most difficult yet rewarding work. We partner with our coworkers to align creative and strategy with online presence. Today, though, simply translating sales materials or thought leadership pieces no longer remains an option. Complex brands and competitive landscapes combined with the daily evolution of the online space - including web design, CRM and building sites - becomes more and more intricate day in and day out.

We write code, implement designs and enhance functionalities for clients of all sizes and in all industries, but the tactics and tools with which we do so morph every day in response to new trends and products. Many of our clients rely on us for guidance and insights about the best languages, tools and tricks to launch their sites, but some also fail to recognize the critical need for them to get involved in their website build - especially in response to the constant evolution taking place in the industry.

This is where we tend to see hesitancy and fear of getting involved in the website build. We always try to counsel and educate our clients so they earn a fantastic website tailored perfectly to their needs but, more importantly, we encourage them to interact and engage with that website to embrace it as a living, breathing platform for their companies. We believe that if you can manage a Facebook page, you can manage your content management system (CMS) to keep your website fresh and functioning. And you can do it without the intimidation or panic.

To achieve such a state, our process typically involves the build of the site on the client’s preferred platform - staging, approving and launching everything from design to content - and then holding an educational session for our client to learn the ins and outs of managing the site. During this meeting, we encounter the long pause, fear in their eyes and gut reactions of, “I’ve never worked on a website” or “I’m not familiar with the platform you used.” This is often completely accurate, but it simply means clients need to dive in head first to expose themselves to their CMS and overcome the fear.

The best way to learn about a CMS is to use it. We set up a staging link for our clients to go in and attempt changes. Points if they break it - then we can show them how to (easily) correct it. Throughout this process, we see our clients becoming more comfortable with making changes like uploading new content, pushing news live and adjusting more basic functionalities. Familiarity becomes key in understanding further the site’s purpose, but more importantly, it allows our clients to truly appreciate and harness the site’s power to market the business.

Every now and then, clients ask us how we keep up with the changes in the industry. The truth is that we’re also still learning. Building websites involves continuous - and often complicated - transformation and innovation. From mobilegeddon to automated marketing to lead generation, there always remains something more for us to learn. And guess how we do it? Going in, breaking things, and (hopefully) fixing them.

In the end, encouraging and allowing our clients to get hands-on with a CMS only benefits both our agency and our clients. Confidence in a website goes a long way from education to impact, and working side-by-side allows our partnerships to flourish and prosper - just like a well-used and built website.