WSJ Says Digital Agencies Are Dying

A couple of days after Christmas I happened to see this article in The Wall Street Journal titled Will 2024 Mark the End of the ‘Digital Agency’?

I wasn’t actually planning to talk about this right now. I was planning to talk about a new approach for how to use your website to pull in leads. That’s going to be next week’s video, so be sure to subscribe before you leave so you won’t miss that one because we’re getting awesome results – like 25% conversion rates from contacts to calls.

But it is actually good that this WSJ article caught my eye because it explains why the stuff we’re going to talk about next week is working so well.

The article mentions a variety of things, but this is the sentence that stood out the most.

Now, the arrival of generative artificial intelligence threatens to put a period on the generalist digital agencies the industry has known…

My Prediction Confirmed

It didn’t stand out because I was surprised by the prediction. Are you surprised by this? It stood out because I made this exact same prediction in a video I published on April 27, 2022. I was just surprised to see The Wall Street Journal agreeing with me.

Automated Website Development

Now, here’s where my view on this differs from what I’m hearing other people say.

People look at platforms like and panic. ZipWP will literally build you an entire WordPress website, and basically, all you have to do is type a paragraph explaining what type of business you have. Now that you can simply describe the website you want in paragraph form – almost like you’re just emailing a web designer – doesn’t this mean all the business owners are just going to build their own websites now?

Misunderstanding The Problem

No. That really isn’t the problem. My clients are never going to do that. I work mostly with functional medicine and concierge medicine doctors. They are never going to stop seeing their patients where they are driving hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars per year into their business to go log into ZipWP to build a website. Heck, it is almost impossible just to get them to log into Zoom for a quick meeting.

It’s not because they can’t. It’s not that they aren’t smart enough to figure it out. They just don’t want to. It’s not the best use of their time, attention, and energy. In other words, it’s stupid.

Business owners are not going to build their own websites, but they are going to change who they hire for help.

The Real Problem

You and I, as web designers and online marketers, don’t need to worry about losing our jobs to business owners. We need to worry about losing our jobs to people who can get these business owners better results.

If all you can do is build websites, you’re going to lose out to people who can use websites to drive traffic, leads, and clients.

Preparing For The Future

So, how do you prepare for this shift?

The main thing is to perfect a system that you know will drive results for your clients. But, that means three things.

Niche Specific Solution

Different niches have different marketing needs. For example, if I’m driving around and a pebble cracks my windshield, I don’t need to watch a webinar or join an email list to know I need a windshield repair. I just need to find a reputable business to fix the windshield.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about installing solar panels on your roof, you probably do need some educational lead nurturing and a multi-step client acquisition funnel.

Check out this free Niche Mastery course, and you’ll discover the best niche for you and how to access virtually unlimited leads from within the niche you pick for free.

Lead Generation

Once you have your solution, you’re going to want leads from within your niche calling you. But running ads for “websites” isn’t going to work. We’ve already established that nobody wants stand-alone websites. So, we use Small Favor Marketing, which is at least 5x more effective than cold calling. We’re seeing response rates as high as 25% instead of the 1% to 2% response rate on traditional cold outreach.

Onboarding Clients

Turning Small Favor Leads into clients is the new part. You’ve got people calling for the free thing that you’re offering. By the end of the call, we want them to hire you for your paid services. So, we’ve developed a call script to streamline that process.

It’s sort of like how Apple used iTunes to pull Windows users into the Apple ecosystem years ago.

Here, try this free app to manage your music. It’s awesome. The best app out there. But wouldn’t it be even better if you had an iPod Shuffle to take your music on the go? The Shuffle is great, right? But wouldn’t it be better if you got an iPhone? Hey, if you also had a MacBook, you could send and receive iMessages on your phone and your laptop.

So, based on your niche and your offer, I’ll help you create a script to move clients from your free small favor into your paid ecosystem.


The big takeaways are:

  1. Don’t be worried about business owners building their own websites. Be worried about who those business owners are going to hire for help. It’s not going to be people who only build websites.
  2. Specialize with a niche-specific solution. The Niche Mastery course is a great place to start.
  3. Watch this next If you want to see what else I think is changing in 2024.

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