Why Web Design Just Flipped

Everything about web design is constantly changing… except the web agency business model.

There is a new model for web agencies that generates far more leads and is at least 3x more profitable. The few that have adopted this shift in web design are crushing it. Everyone else is really struggling right now.

The old pattern used to be to get clients and then meet with them to find out what they wanted so that you could develop a custom solution that served their businesses. Let’s unpack that because we just brushed over a lot of assumptions that are no longer true.

The Irony of Web Design

Everyone knows that literally, everything about the internet changes so fast. The tech stack for building websites is constantly evolving. The hardware we use to browse the internet has gone from desktops to laptops to mostly mobile now. Even WordPress itself is radically different as Gutenberg develops toward full-site editing.

Everything is rapidly changing except one thing – web agencies. Web agencies have stayed stuck in the same old Solution Last mindset. Most agencies are still stuck with the outdated client workflow of:

  • Discovery meeting
  • Develop custom strategy
  • Deploy solution

Unfortunately, most web agencies, especially smaller agencies, aren’t getting leads anymore. Once you see it, the reason is obvious.

Why Web Agencies Used To Get Clients

Having been in the industry for over 20 years, it is easy to remember when all business owners began to realize that having a website was not optional. If your business isn’t online you’re missing an enormous opportunity to reach your customers.

The newness of the internet created a strong demand for websites. In other words, web designers didn’t have to do anything to create demand for their skills. The demand was baked in. Everyone needs a website. All we needed to do was fill in the artistic details.

Where The Web Agency Business Model Came From

That’s where the old-school business model came from:

Discovery
Figure out what the clients wants

Strategy
Develop a strategy to achieve those goals

Solution
Build a solution that implements the strategy

But, do you see what’s missing? There is no lead generation component to the old-school web agency business model. The business model simply assumes you’ll get leads because the demand for websites is simply assumed. Of course, everyone needs a website. Just put up a sign, and you’ll get leads.

Why Custom Solutions Used To Be Better

It used to be the case that all websites were essentially the same static brochure website. E-commerce was prohibitively expensive. Online video was slow and awful – essentially unusable – so there were no live webinars. We’re just now getting to the place where we have good online course platforms. So, up until fairly recently, a brochure website was basically all you could get. That’s why developing a “custom” website was so important. Design was the only differentiator.

Cookie-cutter bad.
Custom good.

Today Everything Is Totally Different

Both of the core concepts supporting the old-school web agency have completely flipped. It’s not just that the old ideas are no longer effective. The old ideas actually break your business.

  • Demand is not baked in. You need to get your own leads.
  • Clients want proven results, not “custom/guinea pig” solutions

What Happened To Your Leads?

Yes, it is still true that virtually all business owners want to reach their customers online. But the demand has fractured. Today, some people are happy just having a business Facebook page. Or maybe all they care about is the Google Business Profile.

In addition to fractured demand, there is also insane competition from giant corporations spending millions of dollars in marketing to capture the attention of business owners who want a website.

The conversation among business owners has shifted away from:

  • Do you know anyone who can build a website for me?”

Today, if you want to build your own website, you can with drag-and-drop tools. Or, if you’d prefer to have someone else do it, just go to Upwork or one of the other enormous freelance communities.

In other words, the demand for reaching customers online is obviously still strong. The difference is the demand for your local web agency has evaporated.

Why Custom Solutions Stopped Working

To the average person, there are two types of websites. Websites that look professional and websites that look ridiculous. As long as you are in the “professional” category, most business owners don’t really care what their website looks like. They just want results.

Custom Solutions Are Too Risky

Suppose you’re sick. Would you rather take the medication that has been proven to be safe and effective for thousands of people? Or, would you rather experiment with a new solution that nobody has ever tried before?

When results are critical, you want a proven solution.

This is the exact reason why web designers that talk about custom solutions on their websites don’t get leads. The risk is too high, which makes the likelihood of success too low.

Flip The Script

If you need more leads for your web agency, the fix is to flip the script by making one fundamental shift to your business model. Once you make this change, you will solve both of the problems with the old-school web agency business model. You’ll get far more leads at much higher price points without having to compete against ravenous crowds of web designers starving for low-budget gigs.

Develop The Solution First

All you have to do to flip the script is develop your solution first. We call this a Solution First Agency and it’s at least 3x more profitable than the old-school, Solution Last, web agency model. It’s also far easier to attract clients because you’re offering something old-school “web designers” can’t offer – results!

It is impossible for old-school web designers to offer results because they don’t even know what the solution is until after they meet with the client. If you don’t even know the solution, there is no possible way for you to know what the results would be from the unknown solution.

Why Solution First Agencies Work

With a Solution First Agency you…

  • Create demand by offering a result people want
  • Lower the risk with a proven solution

If you would like to start getting more leads at higher prices and you’re serious about building a reliable business for yourself, check this out and discover how to build a Solution First Agency right now for free.

The Authority Framework

Discover the counterintuitive strategies I’ve developed over the last 20 years for landing serious, growth-oriented web design clients.

This is a modern approach to solving the most frustrating problems of running your own web design business.