This post is part of a series adapted and abridged from our free marketing eBook: How to Brief a Web Design Agency Part 1 – 17 Common Mistakes Marketers Make When Briefing Web Development Agencies.

Download your copy now for more tips and advice.

If there’s one overarching theme that affects all aspects of your web development project, it’s budgeting.

Budget influences everything – from the look and functionality of your website, to essentials like security and version control.

This is why it’s so important to scope out your budget in your brief to your web development agency.

If your budgetary limits and ROI plans are laid out from the start, there’s less chance of problems like scope creep (when the size and scope of your website increases as the project progresses) – and more chance of securing the budget you need in the first place.

Here, we share two of the most common mistakes marketers make when briefing on budgetary issues – and how to avoid them:

1. Not Creating an ROI Plan

If you’ve managed web development projects before, you’ve almost certainly had to cut back on your ambitions because of a limited budget.

A person holding a sign that reads 'ambition', along with several synonyms.

But the major reason web development budgets are so restricted is because marketing managers find it difficult to demonstrate that the website-to-be will generate a good return on investment (ROI).

This is partly due to perception. As we saw last week, web build projects tend to be guided by design. And while gut reactions to design facelifts are often positive, it’s hard to convince those in charge of finances that a fresh lick of paint could do wonders for your bottom line.

Wouldn’t it be great to sit down in front of your chief financial officer and give them a plan that’s geared towards improving sales/revenue metrics? A plan that takes into account projected traffic increments, conversion improvements and increased sales revenue over the next two to three years?

Undoubtedly, it would be much, much easier to secure the investment you needed to realise your ambitions.

This is precisely why we recommend focussing on metric-led goals for your website. If you focus your mind on your bottom line, the rest will follow. As a marketer, your job is to ensure your new website brings improvements in traffic, visibility and conversions.

This will ensure your web development agency understand your goals and is able to support them. It will make it easier to secure the budget you need for a modern, marketing-led build. And, most importantly, it will give you the security of knowing your website will directly impact sales.

[As well as the above advice, our free eBook also includes a sample ROI plan you can use in your budget planning. Download your copy now.]

2. Demanding an Unfeasible Price

Everybody likes getting a good deal. And it’s easy to feel like you’ve done your business a favour by haggling your web development agency down to a great price.

Two five pound notes and a pile of change.

You know where this is going. You get what you pay for – and if you don’t pay enough, your website won’t be the website you want it to be.

Remember, it’s a commercial agreement. Your agency has commercial concerns just as you do, and will need to cut corners to scrape a profit out of your ‘deal’ .

The less you pay, the more corners get cut. And by pricing yourself out of the market, you might end up working with developers who are, in diplomatic terms, not exactly at the top of their game.

Good agencies, when faced with an unfeasible price, will walk away. They’re not going to compromise on quality or take on a project that will be unprofitable.

But inexperienced or struggling agencies are more likely to say yes, because they need the work – even though they know they may end up making a loss, and may have to cut some corners along the way.

Another problem you might face is ‘scope creep’ . If you present a vague brief that aims for the cheapest possible option, you may find you have to shell out for not-so-optional extras as the project progresses, because these ‘extras’ have been cut to deliver on a tight budget.

Still, you shouldn’t run for the hills if you have to pay more than you first expected – some agencies will charge a higher-than- expected price because they recognise the time and work that goes into creating a successful website that delivers traffic, conversions and sales.

However, by writing a great brief, you can ensure you get great ROI from your website, and reduce the chances of paying more as the project rolls on.

More on Briefing Web Developers

Communication Mistakes to Avoid

Planning and Scoping Mistakes to Avoid

SEO and Content Mistakes to Avoid

Conversion and Design Mistakes to Avoid

Technical Mistakes to Avoid

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.