When we first launched FATFREE, we dreamed of delivering quality work that drives client success without the typical big agency fat that maxes out budgets and delays timelines. We started by cutting out what doesn’t work, but in time we found our own lean approach to solving complex problems for some of today’s leading global brands—all of whom we’ve met through referrals.
Fifteen years later, we’ve managed to build a talented global team and a roster of clients who are leaders in a broad range of categories, including highly regulated industries like healthcare and legal services. We’re able to replicate our success because we’ve followed the learnings that have shaped our signature, strategy-first approach.
In fifteen years of FATFREE, here are the learnings that have driven the best results for us and our clients.
#1 Start with Strategy
Whenever we start a project, we begin with the end result in mind. What do you want to achieve, and how will you recognize success? Before investing your time and money, it’s imperative to get buy-in on your objective and how it fits into your business as a whole.
From there, we set goals and identify metrics associated with each. That way at the end of the project you’ll have quantifiable success…or maybe not! But the numbers will tell the story of where to optimize.
You started out wanting a product demo video for your website, but maybe you can achieve better results with a series of emails detailing what sets you apart? We often find that when we push hard enough against the assumption that certain problems require certain tactics we can find more efficient paths to success. For example, you may think the way to increase online sales is spending a lot on Facebook ads, but maybe you just need to streamline your checkout process to increase order completions.
As your partner, we try to create freedom around these conversations so that the best solution can emerge. As a full service agency, we’re prepared to pivot with you and we have skilled team members who can tackle whatever the solution turns out to be.
#2 Up Your Brand’s Power
Brands matter because people matter. Every branded communication is a bridge between you and your customers. In each touchpoint, your brand is telling a story and when that story effectively connects your values to your customers’ needs, that’s where trust begins.
Take a holistic view of your business. How many ways does a person interact with your brand before becoming a customer or client? Consistency across each of those touchpoints is critical to cementing your customers’ understanding of who you are. Healthy relationships are built on trust, and trust is built on consistency.
Be rigorous. You made the investment to build a brand and establish guidelines. Follow them! There is a big difference between thoughtfully evolving a brand and making decisions on the fly.
#3 Build for Scale
In our experience, website and ecommerce projects are almost never “one-and-done.” We want to build you sites and systems that meet your immediate needs but also take growth and change into account.
We often have clients come to us with sites that worked for a while but are struggling to scale up. From platform migrations to full blown code overhauls, we’ve done it all, and our biggest takeaway is to plan for scale from the beginning whenever possible.
That means thinking about the flexibility of the platforms you choose and how they will handle future growth. We always encourage clients to ask “What if?” What if you have more SKUs to display? What if you need to handle a surge of orders? These questions will help you anticipate issues before they arise.
#4 Measure & Report
We measure and report back on the goals we set for every project so that you (and your boss) can have visibility into how the work performed. For websites, apps, ecommerce platforms, and campaigns, we plan for measurement and reporting from the beginning.
Often clients come to us with beautiful websites that haven’t been properly developed with tagging for the analytics the business needs. This is one of the big advantages we bring to clients: we think about the business objective and we bring cross-functional thinking to support solutions, not just individual services.
#5 Support Long Term
People wonder how a small agency like ours works with some of the biggest healthcare, law and insurance brands in the world—and keeps those relationships strong for decades.
The secret is the perfect balance of detailed planning, disciplined work, and long term support for projects that need to be maintained. Plus, we have fun along the way.
It’s not enough to have the best and brightest writers, developers, authors and engineers on our team if our clients don’t love working with us. That’s why we value building relationships with our clients, and we live to find opportunity and creativity in even the most regulated spaces. When you work with FATFREE, you will work with people who love what they do and are personally gratified by a job well done. After an experience like this, we’ll never go back to big agency, big-ego environments, and we hope you won’t either.