When designing websites for marketing companies, whether it’s a startup or large corporation, you’re building an asset that has the power to make or break their success. Visitors will interpret the company’s website as a direct reflection of their ability to get them results. In other words, if a marketing company’s website looks bad or is hard to navigate, it will create an unprofessional perception, driving away potential leads.

More often than not, websites are the first experience a lead has with a business, and first impressions matter. As a web designer, it’s your job to build a website that makes your client look amazing, but sometimes that’s easier said than done for marketing agencies. Unlike other industries that can get away with using stock templates, marketing agencies need custom design services that reflect their brand and their ability to get results for clients.

Whether you already design for marketing firms or not, here are some insider tips that will help you create marketing sites that will make your clients proud.

1. Design to their specifications

With few exceptions, marketing companies know their target market extremely well. If they make requests for specific features and layouts that require a certain placement for elements, like web forms, email sign up forms, and ads, design to their specifications. Even if it goes against what you’re used to creating, they’re probably making those decisions based on data obtained from studies.

Always design to your client’s specifications unless there’s a good reason you can’t make it work. In that case, talk to your client about a sufficient alternative.

2. Understand marketing goals and objectives

It’s crucial to understand marketing goals and objectives to design a site that helps your client get results. Even when you’re not being held responsible for conversions, your client needs a solid foundation for getting leads and sales. This can include:

·  Understanding what elements to place above the fold.

·  Knowing the main goal for each page. For example, to get a phone call, email form sign-up, registration, video play, or sale.

·  Designing a layout for the client’s content and objectives rather than trying to fit content into an existing layout.

·  Knowing where to place contact and email newsletter signup form.

·  Having a firm grasp on color schemes.

·  Know which kind of pop-ups get results without hindering the user experience.

·  Programming web forms to automatically segment leads.

·  Strategically naming navigation menu items.

·  Creating a smooth and seamless user experience.

·  Discerning when to use or avoid stock photos.

·  And more.

Each client will have slightly different objectives even when there is overlap, so always get the specifics from your client before beginning a project.

3. Know your client’s market

Just like any other industry, you’ll need to know your client’s target market in order to build an effective website. That information should be easy to extract from a marketer, but don’t expect them to provide it without asking. In some cases, they might not have a target market in mind other than all business owners who need marketing. While that’s not narrow enough for them to create specific messages to be more effective, unless your web design firm is also creating their content, you don’t have to worry about that.

However, let’s face it, anytime you build a basic website for a client, you’ll end up creating at least some content, even if it’s just a placeholder for pricing and services that will get changed later. Some web clients will give you the content to implement, and that can help you design their site.

Based on the target market they describe, you can tailor your design elements to match. For example, consider the differences in the following segments:

·  Small business owners. Typically, small business owners are on a tight budget and need to be selective about which marketing services they’ll use. They might want an all-inclusive option, but many will not. This means your web design client will need at least one page template (possibly the home page) that allows them to showcase a-la-carte options for their potential clients.

Sections designed for promoting affordability are also a good way to reach small business owners. For example, a common marketing tactic is to create three separate packages where the middle package is the one you want most people to buy.


·  Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs with a startup. If they’re still in the initial stages, startups will usually have access to significant capital and they won’t hold back when it comes to building out their website. If this is who your marketing client is targeting, they’ll need page elements that focus on services and benefits more than price. They might even decide not to publish any pricing and require potential leads to contact them first.

·  Large corporations. Similar to startups, large corporations have generous funding available for building their website and with this target market, the focus should be similar to startups where the focus is on elements that highlight services and benefits. However, most large businesses have been around a while and have already experienced the consequences of choosing the wrong marketing partners. The layout you design should support publishing content that speaks to this concern.

There are also segments that reflect how involved the client wants to be in their own marketing.

·  People who want a done-for-you solution. Is your web design client selling services to people and businesses who expect them to do everything? These sites can be built just like any other commercial business website with the client’s specifications kept in mind.

·  People who want to implement their own marketing. Is your client selling marketing services to people who want to do their own marketing? This market will have slightly different technical needs. For example, your client might want to sell a live course or one that can be viewed at any time. This will require specific software or at least an integration if they’re using a third-party website.

This particular market will also be heavily interested in downloading files, like images, PDFs, videos, and other documents your client creates. You’ll need some kind of ecommerce option that makes paid digital downloads easy.

It’s crucial to know all of this information in advance so you can make the right structural decisions when designing your client’s website.

4. Communicate and collaborate with your client

As with any other client, communication and collaboration are vital. Don’t take your design too far without input from the client. Always get as much information from them as possible in the beginning so you stay over the target. However, as you start to develop their site, it’s crucial to check in with them periodically to get feedback on where the site is going.

Sometimes website projects end up being a much bigger collaboration than you’d like, and don’t shy away from that. Some clients, especially marketing experts, have specific needs that can’t be compromised. They’re going to want to be part of the project every step of the way. By allowing those people to have more control over the direction of their website, you’ll end up with happier clients who will praise you to others and that will get you even more clients.

5. Learn marketing basics

One of the best things you can ever do for your web design business is learn marketing. You don’t have to dive too deep, but the more you know, the better. When you have a solid grasp on marketing, you’ll understand your client’s needs better and certain things won’t puzzle you, like when you’re asked to update the header by making it 20 pixels shorter or flipping the side navigation to the other side.

There are countless marketing experts out there, but you can never go wrong by learning from the following people:

·  Gary Bencivenga

·  Eugene Schwartz

·  Dan Kennedy

·  Russell Brunson

·  Gary Halbert

·  David Olgivy

·  Perry Marshall

·  Frank Kern

The more you understand your clients’ market, the easier it is to create a website that meets their needs. If you plan to specialize in designing websites for marketers, then you need to learn as much marketing as possible.

6. Make sure your designs are SEO-friendly


While it’s not your job to perform search engine optimization (SEO), it is your job to build websites that can be easily optimized by an SEO professional. Most marketing companies will partner with an SEO specialist long-term to get them higher rankings in the search engines and that will require a certain foundation. If you’re building custom layouts in a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Wix, or Webflow, the CMS will take care of most of those details, provided the client knows what to do. For example, WordPress makes it easy to add alt text to images right at the time of upload. If you’re building sites outside of a CMS, make sure your file upload forms allow the user to create alt text.

The ease of creating alt text is just one example of an SEO-friendly site. If you aren’t caught up to all the details SEO professionals require to optimize a site, go pay for a consultation with someone who will explain what they need on their end so you can start developing your websites with SEO in mind.

Website design is about creating partnerships

The websites you build for clients serve as the foundation for their marketing strategy and it’s crucial that you develop each site to optimize generating leads, sales, and other conversions. When you build websites tailored to reach a marketing agency’s potential clients, it’s important to incorporate the essential elements of design in a way that meets their marketing objectives.

The websites you build for marketing agencies and individual entrepreneurs need to resonate visually with their target audience. While the company will be responsible for creating content that converts, it all begins with a structurally sound website.

Do you need a web development partner?

No matter how much you enjoy development, it’s more convenient to hand the project to a team of developers and manage the project instead of getting your hands dirty. If you don’t have a team and don’t want to hire employees, consider partnering with us at Website.design. As your white label website development partner, we’ll build all of your client’s websites to their exact specifications while you take all the credit.

Professional white label website development is one of the most efficient ways to scale your web development business. At Website.design, we offer full stack development with a fast turnaround time and professional communication. Contact us to learn more about our custom development services and how we can turn your clients’ visions into reality.

Timothy Carter
Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue-generation activities for website design and web development activities. He has helped to scale sales teams with the right mix of hustle and finesse. Based in Seattle, Washington, Tim enjoys spending time in Hawaii with family and playing disc golf.

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