Working With Us
We’ve worked with lots of clients in lots of industries since 2007. Along the way, we’ve picked up a few things about managing our clients’ expectations so we can best deliver the results you’re looking for. We’re always going to do our best to fulfill your needs and meet your goals. But it’s important to have a few simple things written down. That way you know what to expect from us and what we’re expecting from you.
Nobody likes surprises – especially when it comes to finances and the finished product. Consider this a “preview” of what to expect when you work with us.
Table of Contents
- Who Owns What?
- Website Development
- Budgets, Expectations & Pricing
- In Summary
Nothing can sabotage your results faster than poor communication. That’s why we put policies in place to assure we’re communicating effectively. Communication is a two-way street.
We’re going to do great things together. Your case-study-worthy project starts with being on the same page. We want to be rowing in the same direction together, if you will.
Open Door Policy
As our client, we encourage you to ask questions, offer feedback and provide constructive criticism when warranted.
We don’t restrict phone calls or emails. If our team is available when you call, we’ll pick up the phone. If you anticipate a call to last more than 10 minutes, we encourage you to email us first so that we can reserve enough time to get the most out of our conversation.
It’s important to note that we don’t typically charge by the hour, but we allocate our resources by the hour. For that reason, we strongly suggest that you forward us your questions or topics via email before calling so that we’re prepared. We don’t want to unnecessarily eat into the time we budgeted for your project.
You can also schedule a meeting at your convenience. Most of our team has a “Book A Meeting With Me” link in their email signature. We set aside lots of time every week to meet with our clients virtually.
If you decide you’d like to connect with a team member, you can use the meeting link to pick a time that works for you. It takes about 2 minutes to book a meeting with a team member.
We offer a support ticketing system as well. When you need something, it’s easiest to quickly email our support service. We’ll triage your request, assign it to the right person on our team, and they’ll let you know they’re working on it with a timeline for completion. One email address, all your needs met.
We use a project management system called Teamwork. Teamwork’s project management tool can be used to send messages and share and collaborate on files, documents, and tasks. Teamwork uses a simple, visual interface to help individuals and teams manage their shared and personal projects and tasks. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. In fact, you will get all notifications via email, and you can just simply reply to us from those emails. Lots of our clients choose not to opt into Teamwork because it’s often just one more software to learn – but we want you to know you’re welcome to follow along in Teamwork anytime.
Many of our meetings are virtual, meaning we use a screen sharing software so that you can see our computer screen from yours as we talk. That means that we each have to “dial in” at the agreed upon time. If one of us is late, or a no-show, that means the other party has to wait on the meeting hoping the other party doesn’t forget.
Most of our meetings are set up with a calendar invite that you accept. We also add meeting reminders to each calendared meeting so that we can all show up on time. We encourage you to ensure our scheduled meetings are in your calendar with a reminder. If you are going to be late or need to reschedule, no problem. Please notify us as soon as you know. We’ll do the same for you.
Do you have an event scheduled? Let us know with as much lead time as you can. We can probably help get the word out, but not if we are informed at the last minute.
Remember… everything has a lead time. At Canopy Media, “we don’t do fast, we do good”. In fact, rushed work often ends up being bad work.
Last minute notifications aren’t fun for anyone. And although some people like to use the saying, getting things done “yesterday” isn’t actually possible.
Change in direction?
Keep us in the loop at the earliest stages. We might have useful business suggestions, and a change in your direction inevitably means a change in our direction. That means that we may have to change our strategies, along with the content we produce. We don’t want to squander your time working on yesterday’s initiatives.
We understand that you might be too busy to respond to us right away. We don’t expect you to sit by the phone or to prioritize our emails over the dozen other things that need your attention at that moment. You’re super busy. If you weren’t, you might not need us. But emails do go into spam folders for unexplained reasons, and voicemails can get buried. The problem is, if we assume that you received our message when you didn’t, we might be holding up your project waiting for a response that will never come.
For that reason, we request that you quickly acknowledge that you received our message even if you can’t do anything about it right away. Simply say something like “Got it! I’ll get back to you when I have the time”. That will allow us to make adjustments to the work we have planned for you while we’re waiting for you to get back to us.
Clarity of Communication
From time-to-time we get vague requests from our clients. For example, we may get a document or a link to something with no information, instructions or background. If we are not sure what you have in mind, we will have to contact you to make sure we don’t misinterpret your intentions. This may divert our resources away from something we are already doing for you. We simply ask that whenever you communicate with us, assume that we have no point of reference and give us a short overview of what you are sending us and why. Of course, we’ll do the same for you.
2) Who Owns What?
The short answer is probably you. Our philosophy is that providing you have met your financial obligations to us, you own it, or at least have licensing rights to it. Here are a few examples:
There are exceptions where neither of us technically “own” anything, such as social media accounts. For example, if we help you create a Facebook account, technically neither of us owns it (Facebook does), but you have the administrative rights to it as far as we are concerned. The same thing goes for your Google My Business listing and other digital profiles that may exist for your business.
If we design a website for you, you have permanent rights to the content. You can move it to another hosting environment at your discretion. Note that in some cases we use a “hosted solution” (i.e. Shopify) which means you can’t necessarily move to another hosting environment, but you can have exclusive rights to the account.
Marketing Funnels & Creative Work
One of the advantages of working with us is that we are constantly updating our template libraries. These can include tested and proven content, to-do lists, lead magnets, paid ads, landing pages, email workflow sequences and websites for our clients. This allows us to quickly customize and deploy proven strategies that have worked for other businesses or verticals.
Re-deploying and customizing these for you will minimize the amount of resources (time) we need to invest in your project, thus leaving more time for the many other things we can do to increase your leads and sales. Although we own the intellectual property, you will have a permanent license to use any of the marketing funnel materials that we have created on your behalf. In other words, once we use our creative with you, you will be able to continue to use it with or without us.
Images We Provide
When necessary, we may use licensed stock photography for websites, advertising, premium content, etc. All the images that we use are paid for and properly licensed. Our license allows us to extend the use of those images to our clients as long as we did the original work. That does not mean that you can necessarily use those images for other purposes.
Images You Provide
Real images beat stock photos in almost every situation, providing they are high quality and proper resolution. If you provide us with an image, obviously it is your image and we won’t use it for another purpose without your permission.
3) Website Development
We’ve been creating websites for years and have developed simple systems to keep the project organized and moving forward as efficiently as possible. No one has time or money to waste, so adhering to a few simple rules will shorten the development time and ensure that you are delighted with the results.
Avoid Design by Trial & Error
Nothing gets a website project off to a great start like agreeing on the creative direction upfront. This will typically require a bit of simple homework for you. The simplest way to go about this is for you to make a short list of websites that you like and let us know what it is you like about them (and anything that you don’t). Your website examples don’t even need to be in the same industry. We won’t copy the designs that you show us, we will assemble what we call a “creative brief” for our design team to use as guidance for your original design. We can also provide lots of guidance along the way.
If your business has a logo, we will need the best, most high-resolution version that you have available. If you have different versions (for example, one to go over light backgrounds and a second one to go on top of dark backgrounds) send them both to us. Ideally, these would be in vector format (.ai, .pdf, .eps). We don’t need you to make every version of your logo available to us (unless you already have them ready). Our team can take care of that if you send us the vector-format logo.
Avoid Trickling Changes
We strive to have the basic design solidified within 3 rounds of revisions. A “round” can entail multiple changes; however, we prefer that you batch your feedback and your requested changes rather than trickling them in a few at a time. Because of the preparation work associated with even a single change, we can often do many changes for you with only a slight increase in the time it takes to do one or two.
We’d prefer “real” photos over stock photos. We think you would too.
For example, children wearing school colors with the school logo have a better “feel” than stock photos could ever convey. Images of your employees wearing your company uniforms are better than generic people in the same type of photo. We know that it is not always possible to provide professional quality photography, but keep in mind that we can’t make a poor-quality image better than the original source file. In short, we can’t turn garbage pictures into gold.
When you work with us, we’re going to recommend hiring a professional photographer in your area to take some great images of your business, teams, products and services. If you don’t know a photographer, we can make a few suggestions. If you just want us to take care of the photography we can do that too – but the travel costs incurred and professional fees are the responsibility of the client. These images are useful in a wide variety of marketing contexts and are a great use of your marketing budget.
In the event that we’re not using “real” photos, we may use stock photos as a placeholder, or in many cases as an appropriate permanent photo to use.
We’re good at picking and formatting stock photos to create a professional look for your website, but nothing beats a high-quality, high-resolution “real” photo that accurately represents your business.
That being said, you don’t want us spending too much time selecting photos. There’s literally millions of stock photos that might be a good fit for your business so it’s hard for us to narrow them down to a few on your behalf. If you don’t like the first batch of photos we’ve selected, you’re welcome to choose photos yourself from our preferred stock photography sites and send us the links. We’ll still download and pay for them, but the selection of the photos will be up to you.
If needed, we will create a sitemap for your website. It will outline the pages on the website and the menu structure of those pages. We will use the approved sitemap to identify the content that needs to be created.
There are 3 ways we can get the textual content completed.
Option 1: You write it and send it to us. We can provide basic copy editing for you at no charge.
Option 2: We write basic content and bill for the service.
Option 3: We interview any applicable members of your team, write the content, and bill for it.
Organizing images and any text that you supply to us will help speed up the production process. Here’s how we get textual content for your website done.
No matter which content creation option you select for your content, we find the following process to be the most effective:
1. We will create a folder for the website content in Google Drive for you.
2. Within that folder, we will create a sub-folder for each individual page of the website according to the approved sitemap.
3. In each individual page folder, you can easily upload the text document along with any images you have selected for that specific page.
This makes it easy for us to identify what text and which images go on what pages. Very simple and efficient. This is the same process we use internally if we are writing your text and selecting your images.
Nothing will move your web development project along faster than timely feedback. If you take 3 or 4 days to get back to us each time we are waiting on feedback, that can cumulatively represent several weeks of delays. Conversely, quick feedback will get your project right back in our rotation. When our design team is “in the groove” the results can be spectacular. Help them stay in the groove.
4) Budgets, Expectations & Pricing
Nobody likes surprises. This includes when spending money on marketing. We want you to know what to expect in terms of your investment with us, and our performance for you.
Just a few final things…
Paid Advertising Budgets
Setting the right budget for your search and social advertising programs is critical. If done right and properly managed, these platforms can offer the best ROI. A common mistake is under budgeting to “test” first. Testing with the wrong budget will yield false results and discourage you from doing things right. These platforms are designed to function optimally with a proper budget.
We will conduct a budget analysis and make recommendations. You are free to accept or reject our recommendations, but understand that if you reject our suggestions, the results will most likely be sub-optimal.
Our goal is for your project to be worthy of a case study. We request that you share with us the business results that you are getting from our relationship so that we know what is working for you and what isn’t. This is at your discretion.
Keep in mind that some of the strategies we employ may have a residual positive effect on overall performance. For example, running Facebook ads, or display advertising are designed to result in direct leads and sales, but they are also designed to increase brand awareness. Often the positive impact from the branding and exposure manifests itself indirectly. When we stop one strategy, it may indirectly affect another strategy.
Our Pricing Philosophy
We do things a little differently than everyone else. We are retainer based, not hourly based. That means that we generally do not charge by the hour; however, we budget our resources by the hour.
If you have a healthy budget, we can do many things simultaneously for faster results.
If you have a minimal budget, we will help you prioritize what should be done in which order.
To state the obvious, minimal budgets do not yield the same result as healthy budgets.
If we go over our budgeted time occasionally, you won’t hear about it. If we go over consistently, we’ll talk about it.
In general, we ask for 30 days notice to make strategic changes to your marketing program with us.
Summing It Up…
This isn’t a contract. It’s a sort of an agreement for working with us. It’s some of the things that years of experience have taught us about the most efficient ways to interact with our clients so you get the most out of our services. It’s not all encompassing, so if we missed anything, let us know.
CONGRATULATIONS, you made it all the way through!
That shows a pretty serious degree of commitment… and if you’re serious enough about your project to read through this entire overview, we’d love to hear from you! Let’s do something AMAZING together!