We’ve stopped doing pitches and spec work – and here’s why.

3 min read
Jonny Pathan
An empty chair at a desk

We recently decided to stop pitching for work and we want to explain why.

Pitching is bad for business. Ours, yours and everyone else’s.

Taking the decision to stop pitching is quite a large one. We are regularly asked to pitch for work and it requires us to spend lots of time doing free work for a company that may or may not choose us in the end.

It’s usually some form of competition against multiple agencies and more often than not, the agency offering the lowest prices wins the pitch.

That’s the thing with spec work, tenders and pitching, it’s usually a decision decided by money, which, for both parties is surely not a good thing?

Creating a website requires a huge amount work being done if you are serious about building excellent websites.

The information and planning required before building a site are crucial and often a lengthy process.

How is it possible that some agencies pitching already know what a site will look like before truly understanding the main objectives of the website? They don’t. That’s the truth, it’s a bit of an easy way to win a job. Show someone something pretty and hope they don’t think about the true objective of having a website.

We could do that all day long if we wanted to, but here’s why we don’t.

“Clients risk compromised quality. Little time, energy and thought can go into speculative work, which precludes the most important element of most design projects—the research, thoughtful consideration of alternatives, and development and testing of prototype designs.”– AIGA, The professional association for design

Project briefs that you receive for pitch work are often quite limited. Understandably, companies may not want to give everything away until they are working with their chosen agency.

This is the biggest problem though, how can we pitch for a project without truly knowing your objectives. If we did pitch, it would be 50% guesswork, we wouldn’t truly know your company, your audience or your industry. We’d be pitching an idea based on limited knowledge.

Would we have created personas, studied data, looked at competitor sites to see what works and what doesn’t? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Imagine you planned to get an extension built on to your property. You invite five builders around to build a small wall each, you then commission the builder who’s wall you like the most to finish the job. They’re the only one that gets paid.

Is that not a bit odd?

It’s not that we’re anti-pitching, we love to meet new clients and get to know them. We’re just not convinced that pitching gives a true reflection of the job at hand.

Any agency worth their salt probably won’t pitch. It’s a worrying signal that the project is not being taken seriously.

Decisions should be made off of things such as: Do we all get along? What’s our previous work like? What sort of information have we given you?

I hope this gives some insight into why we’ve stopped pitching, this is something all agencies should consider.

Value what you do and value the customers who appreciate what you do.

If would like a to speak to a team about creating a website that achieves a purpose, we’d love to speak to you.

Pitching is bad for business. Ours, yours and everyone else’s.

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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