An Open Letter to Our Potential Clients

Dear Potential New Client, Spade Design is making changes. Today, we thought it was important to share why and how we’re changing – and we think you’ll like it, or maybe you won’t. First, the why: we’re changing because we’re tired of suffocating in a sea of undifferentiated “full service” design agencies. Web design and digital marketing aren’t […]

Written By Matthew Martin

May 4, 2016

Dear Potential New Client,

Spade Design is making changes. Today, we thought it was important to share why and how we’re changing – and we think you’ll like it, or maybe you won’t.

First, the why: we’re changing because we’re tired of suffocating in a sea of undifferentiated “full service” design agencies. Web design and digital marketing aren’t what they used to be. And sadly, your needs as a web design (digital marketing) client aren’t what they used to be, either. That’s where we come in. We’re interested in being more than the web design company who can build you a cool website. 

What matters now is smart digital strategy coupled with a sound business strategy and a major focus on positioning your company in a way that attracts more qualified opportunities from better-paying clients.

Because of this, we’re transforming our entire business, and we want to inspire others to transform theirs. Truthfully, there’s a ridiculous amount of companies doing website design, and if that’s all you’re after then call one of them. 

You’ll find them offering you all the trendy tools – like periscope sessions and apps – even if that’s not the best solution for your business needs. We can offer those things, but only if they fit your business and the strategy we’ve come up with together. 

Now, here’s how we’re changing:

We’re building businesses with strategy, not just fancy websites.

Here’s the problem: an attractive website no longer translates to more online leads. Which means it won’t get you more business. In our experience, a $75k website by itself does not generate any more leads than a $10k website when all other factors are the same. 

Honestly, why are you spending all that money anyway? Because you think spending more on a website equates to it being more effective? Not always true.

That’s why we’re focused on the bigger picture – your total digital marketing strategy. Sure, we still make amazing websites that convert for our clients, but we also know the importance of developing the overarching strategy, because now, they’re all interlinked.

Stand Out

Instead of butting heads with the same competitors, time and time again, we’re helping our clients differentiate themselves from the competition from the start of our partnership with them. We help our clients create their own market categories, and then they dominate them, they just have to trust us.

Yes, it’s scary. And yes, it works.

If we’ve done our job correctly, you’ll have a solid understanding of your current strategy, your end goal (the gaps you’re currently missing out on), and have a plan for reaching that goal. You’ll also have a comprehensive positioning strategy, along with the web design, custom messaging, and the tailored digital marketing methods you need to put that plan into action.

We’re being blunt with our clients.

When it comes to marketing strategies, we believe that building trust with our clients by giving them the truth, regardless of how pretty or ugly, is always the best approach. We know that if we give you bad news now that requires some work and trust, both parties will learn to respect each other more in the long run.

If we were to operate like the typical agency, you might consider us similar to a bad parent, one who gives their client what they want rather than what they need. Also, we wouldn’t be interested in maintaining a lasting business relationship with you. The success of your marketing strategy is important to us. Our reputation as the best depends on it.

We understand that growing pains are hard, and change is inevitable. We also know that you probably need the emotionally unattached perspective we can provide, simply because you’re the expert in your industry, and look at it day-in and day-out. We’ll push you to make hard choices about your old marketing strategies that may not be working for you. We’ll listen to your ideas, and we won’t be afraid to tell you whether they’re a good idea or not. We promise you’ll thank us later.

As you develop a relationship with us and learn to trust our brutally honest approach, we promise, you’ll start demanding it.

We’re turning down some business.

We like to make clients happy, but sometimes we just have to say no. We’ve actually had people get upset with us for turning away their business.  It’s nothing personal, we just know who our target clients are – who we can help the most – and who needs our help the most. It doesn’t matter how much money is on the table, who a client is, or even whether we want to work with them.

The first red flag, for us, is an RFP. We find this process antiquated and grossly inefficient. We do not participate in them. 

Here’s why: we choose not to submit proposals when they are requested, but instead provide a consultation, which is usually more like a conversation. An RFP suggests to us that you picked the first 5 or so names from Google, and want to pit them against each other in a bidding war. That’s not our thing. We’re interested in building a lasting relationship of trust, not having to fight to win your business. We want you to choose us because we’re the best fit for you. 

Here are some other things that suggest we’re not right for each other:

  • You’re not willing to discuss your budget with us. Think of us as your partner, if you’re not up to sharing your budget specifics with us, we are not a good fit.
  • Your marketing strategy is decided by a committee and that’s where the decision making is held up. We have seen committees take months and even years to reach a decision. Digital marketing changes fast, we don’t have this kind of time.  
  • You know exactly what you want and just want us to implement it. We recognize you’re the expert in your industry, we expect the same from our clients. You can trust us to know the most effective tools and methods to solve your marketing problems.
  • You’re looking for a quick fix. There’s no such thing as a shortcut to success with digital marketing. Solving your business challenges is hard – that’s why they call them challenges. We need you to be in it for the long haul, or we’re not interested.
  • You’re looking for the lowest price. Sure, we’re competitive, and often, will be the best price. But not always. We take our job seriously, and creating a custom solution to fit your business shouldn’t come with a nice little (cheap) price tag. You can find TONS of cheap solutions out there, and that may be the route you take, but we provide the premium service you expect.

We only take on a limited number of clients every year, which means we have to be selective about the clients we pick. We’re looking for clients who fit with us, and who are ready and willing to make big changes to see growth in their businesses.

Here’s the great thing about maintaining a small client list: it gives us more time to focus on you. 

Now, let’s talk about a few signs that you may be a good fit:

  • You’re interested in outsourcing 100% of your marketing, and partnering with us to build an effective strategy.  
  • You want to rise to the top of your local market, but find yourself struggling to make that happen.
  • You want to behave more strategically and proactively.
  • You deal well with constructive criticism and are willing to consider other approaches in problem-solving.
  • You’re willing to give your business what it needs to grow to the next level.
  • You’re ready to pay a partnering company to make all this happen.

We’ve spent a lot of time getting this part of our agency right. It’s not easy finding perfect fits, but we believe in our process enough to wait for the right clients.

Because when a fit is right, it’s really right. And one of the results is that our clients are some of the happiest in the industry.

We’re moving super fast.

With the average web agency, projects take too long to get off the ground. Teams spend months and months—sometimes over a year—planning and building and hemming and hawing until they’re finally ready to go live. By that point, they’ve spent countless resources and they’re still looking at an ROI of zilch.

To hell with that.

We move insanely fast, and we expect our clients to be ready to move just as fast. The typical time to launch the project is around 30 days after work commencement for a custom website. This requires a lot of work on our end, and just as much commitment to the project success on your side of the equation. We’ll be pretty hands-on throughout the process and expect you to be open to working with us.

Are you ready to evolve, too?

If you’ve made it this far, you must be liking something about what you’re hearing—which means you might just be the next great fit we’re looking for.

Get in touch with us. We’ll walk you through our process, ask you some honest questions, and help you determine whether we’re the right agency for you.

We’re tired of the standard agency business model, with all its inefficiencies and glaring flaws, and we’re ready to break away. We’re taking our own medicine of bold risks, and that’s why we’re so confident that you can, too. So, if you’re ready to completely transform the way you do business—drop us a line. We’d love to talk to you.


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