Archive for the ‘Professional Service Website’ Category·
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
If you are in the professional services industry, you know that there are a million firms out there that basically do the same thing as you. You may be the best at your business, or at least one aspect of your business, but there are many other firms who claim to do the exact same thing that you do just as well. Some of these firms even have the audacity to offer the same service for lower fees. How dare they!
How can firms keep their head above water in a sea of competition?
The key is differentiation. And one great way to do this is via your website. The web is an excellent medium to define exactly what it is that you are all about. You’re able to speak with clarity and engage your potential clients on a deeper level than through any other medium.
Sadly, most professional service firms don’t take advantage of their #1 marketing tool. Many of them settle for off-the-shelf solutions with boilerplate copy. These sites all look and sound the same. They have the same calculators and tools.
They say nothing original or unique. This is a real shame.
Give people a reason to care
Another sad point is that visitors really don’t care all that much. At least, they don’t care about what you think they care about.
Here’s a list of what they don’t care about:
- Your dedication to customer service
- Your credentials
- Your awards
- Your technical resume
- Anything that they cannot understand
- Anything that confuses them
- Anything that does not relate directly to their problem (more…)
Monday, November 7th, 2011
When potential clients are looking to hire a professional service firm, trust is the name of the game. More often than not, a prospect will use word of mouth to find a firm. This is where a sterling reputation comes in handy. However, when that prospect goes to look up your firm’s website, what will they see? How will they come away from that interaction with your brand? Will they trust your firm more or less than they did before they accessed your website?
Having thorough, interesting, and relative case studies can help build and reinforce that trust. (more…)
Saturday, October 29th, 2011
Planning a website re design can be a huge undertaking. There are many decisions to be made and, depending on the size of your firm, many stakeholders with ideas and opinions on what direction to take with the site. Having a plan is essential to the success of a website re-design. Without a plan, a great deal of time can be wasted, content lost, goals can be left unachieved and fundability can suffer. With a good plan, the opposite can happen. You can work efficiently, increase the quality and accessibility of your content, and increase your traffic and findability online.
Here are some key things that will help you devise a great plan for your re-design.
Select a point person
Having one single person on your team responsible for the web project is essential. A group or comity approach to a re-design project is asking for trouble. It’s good to have a team with ideas and input for the project, however, having a point person responsible for all of the decisions concerning the re-design will help to streamline the process. Otherwise, you can get into the quagmire of “design by comity”, which can delay projects costing valuable time and money.
If you are the CEO, CMO or owner of the firm, you may want to take this on yourself. However, realize that a lot of time and involvement is required, so you may find it beneficial to delegate the re-design project to someone within your firm.
If you do delegate this responsibility, give that person complete trust and ownership of the project. This will help to focus your team on the project and keep it from experiencing costly delays.
Define Your Goals
What is the purpose of this re-design? What business objectives do you wish to achieve that you aren’t already? Take a good hard look at your current site and ask yourself. “What are we not doing now that we would like to do?”
Some examples of goals may be:
- Generate more leads
- Aid the sales team in the sales process
- Increase brand equity
- Increase social interaction
- Increase traffic
- Decrease time spent on the phone with clients
- Re position your firm in the market
- Attract a certain type of client to your firm
Once you have clear goals, then you only need to decide what the best way to achieve those goals are through your website.
Ask Your Team
Have your staff review your website with your current list of goals in mind. Have them give you, and your point person feedback on what they think needs to change. It’s especially important to listen to the departments that will be most affected by the change. For example, if you are looking to help your sales staff in the sales process by offering lead generation content to your users, you need to ask the sales team what it is that would help them close more sales. Or, if you are looking to decrease the time that your customer service reps are on the phone with clients, you should ask them how they think the website could help lessen the burden of customer service without compromising the quality.
Listen to your team, but don’t take their responses as gospel—they are subjective. Many times what the organization thinks is necessary is not what the client, or prospect thinks is necessary.
Ask your clients
Get in touch with a few of your best clients and ask them to review your site. Ask them what they would find helpful on the site.
Ask your clients to perform a task, such as, sign up for the newsletter, or find our resources page and download a PDF. This can get you some real clarity of the opportunities to better your website.
Also, if you can get feedback from clients that got away, do it. This can be an enlightening experience. Getting real about what your site needs is crucial when it comes to re-designing. We often think that we need something changed, or moved, when it is something else entirely that the user (leads, clients) needs.
Focus more on what your users need and less on what you think they need and you will be on the right track for a successful re-design.
Look At Your Traffic Sources
Where are you getting your visitors from? Is it Google? Facebook? Linked-In? Twitter? Could it be mostly direct traffic from handing out business cards and other literature? Knowing where your visitors are coming from is a great way to plan your re-design decisions. If most of your visitors are coming through Google searches, you will most likely want to be very careful with your current pages and content. Deleting old content without properly redirecting the pages can have serious implications on your search rankings. Also, see where your visitors are navigating to when they land on your site through Google. What pages are they interested in? How can you redesign the site to increase the traffic to these pages? How can you make it easier for your users to find what they are looking for? If you are getting traffic from other sources, such as social media sites or direct traffic, you should use other tactics to guide users to the content that they are looking for. Always keep your goals in mind as well when you think about guiding the user to what they want. Thinking win-win when it comes to a professional services website re-design is essential. Using Google Analytics on your current site will give you a truckload of insight on how you should go about re-designing.
Having a great plan in place is vital to a successful website re-design. Skipping the planning phase can cause many problems with the project. In contrast, fully devoting to the planning phase can help your website actually help your firm accomplish the goals that you have set out to achieve.
What are some ways that you have planned a re-design that have been successful? What are some questions that you may have when it comes to a re-design project. Feel free to let me know in the comments section below.
Tags: Design Strategy, Professional Service Website Re-design, Web design planning, Website Redesign, Website Strategy
Posted in Best Practices, Professional Service Website, Web Design, Web Strategy, Website Planning, Website Redesign · No Comments »