Running a WordPress agency is tough business. You have to manage an entire team and keep the workflow going, you have to manage your clients to ensure they’re satisfied, and you have to manage the day-to-day operations so you’re business doesn’t go under.
But don’t forget, in the midst of all this chaos you have to keep marketing your web development agency to your target audience if you want to grow your business and beat out the competition.
When it comes to marketing your agency to potential clients, you have to have a plan in place. And part of that plan is knowing whether you’re promoting your agency to people as a product or a service.
Though there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the product vs service marketing paradigm, what is important is that you remain consistent with your marketing message. After all, the way you advertise your business is going to have a direct effect on the type of leads you generate.
If you’re looking for a more concise way to brand your WordPress agency, and need help differentiating between web development products and services, keep reading. Because in the end, the way you choose to brand your web development agency will ultimately affect your ability to succeed and helps shape your marketing efforts.
Web Development: A Product or a Service?
The idea that your WordPress agency can be either a product or a service might be kind of confusing. That’s why we’re going to define each term individually before we start comparing the two.
A product is something that can be identified by its physical traits. But in business and online marketing, a product is not always a tangible item.
In fact, a product is anything that can be sold to customers. That’s why many online business owners, and even WordPress agencies, refer to everything they produce and sell as “products.” This includes things like websites, plugins, themes, and proprietary tools.
On the other hand, a service can be defined as “a valuable action, deed, or effort performed to satisfy a need or to fulfill a demand.”
Though a service might include a physical item, it always includes intangible things like management, customization, and maintenance. In addition, it always includes the client experience.
That’s why so many online business owners also market their web development agencies as services.
The problem with assigning a one-size-fits-all definition to WordPress agencies – whether that be the term “product” or “service” – is that so many agencies combine the two into one convenient little package. This is done to increase revenue, nurture client relationships, and build business.
That said, there is a line to be drawn into your marketing efforts if it’s your goal to attract the highest quality leads possible.
Product vs Service and How Web Development Fits In
Let’s take a look at some of the top differences between products and services as they relate to web development.
1. Products are Tangible, Web Development is Not
A product is most often considered a tangible object, even if it’s a piece of software uploaded onto a website. After all, code, files, data, and more are all physically located on servers.
That said, web development is performed according to your client’s needs. This may or may not include a tangible item, such as a piece of software. And the truth is, you cannot create a website without communicating with your client and performing an action according to their needs or demands, which is the definition of a service.
2. Products Are Returnable (Services Are Not)
It’s easy to transfer a website from one web host to another if you’re not satisfied. It’s also easy to shut down a ready-made site and return money to a disappointed client that no longer wants what you built. However, when it comes to true web development that’s customized individually according to a client’s needs, there is no way to return the website and the development services rendered.
3. Satisfying a Need: Immediate (Products) vs Long Term (Services)
When your team sets out to develop a website for a client, the goal is to satisfy a need and create a long-lasting relationship. If there is a ready-made eCommerce shop that someone can pick out of a list and make their own immediately, the whole concept of web development falls apart.
Clients seeking out a WordPress agency have particular needs. They want to discuss branding, layouts, color schemes, and functionality. A cookie cutter website isn’t going to work for them. That’s why web development agencies exist; to create long term relationships with people that want customized websites that differ from everyone else’s.
4. Quality Evaluations
Product quality is easy to measure. You can check the functionality and physical traits of a product because no matter who buys it, it works the same for everyone. There is little room for subjective opinions when it comes to comparing the basic quality of products.
On the other hand, web development is highly subjective. Every WordPress agency will provide a different set of “services” and the quality they provide is hard to measure because of these differences.
In addition, it’s nearly impossible to compare agencies. With web development, it comes down to the team, productivity, availability of resources, budgets, skill level, and much more.
5. Client Involvement
When you sell a product to a client, they are not involved in any part of production. They only participate when it comes to the buying process. After all, someone selling a product hopes to sell that same product to thousands of people (if not more). There is no room for individualized customizations, especially during the planning, building, and launching phases. In other words, customers get whatever is for sale and that’s it.
In web development, the client is directly involved in the entire process from start to finish. You find out what they expect, changes they’d like to see, and even get their final approval before closing a task.
Scaling a business that sells a product is easy. All you have to do is increase production volume, distribution, and reach. Marketing a product to a broader sales audience takes little more than ramping up email campaigns, social presence, blog content, etc.
When it comes to scaling a service-based business, things get tricky. Sure, you can market your agency to a broader audience in the same was product-based businesses do. But once the clients come rolling in, you’re going to need the manpower to meet the demand. If not, your business is going to fail to grow sustainably.
As you can see, when it comes to web development and your WordPress agency, you provide a service more so than a product. You might have some products for sale that clients buy. But in the end, you’re building a long-lasting relationship with someone that needs constant involvement in how you develop their website. Your clients cannot return the work you put into their site. You cannot scale your business with the same ease as a product-based business. And ultimately, what you provide clients cannot be easily evaluated objectively.
When you market your WordPress agency to your target audience, use the fact that you offer a service to your advantage. And whatever you do, stay consistent as your build your brand, so you attract the type of people that want to hire you for your services, not those that want a set-it-and-forget-it product.
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