In part 1 of this series, we talked about the fundamental questions marketers should ask themselves about the role the website plays in their overall marketing and business development efforts.
We all are creating “differentiated” websites, then what sets apart the winner while everyone else just drowns in the sea of sameness. While most existing sites could be engaging at some level, progressive marketers need to seize the opportunity to create experiences that differentiate their firms and allow them to gain client mindshare. This begins with benchmarking direct competitors, other near-category organizations and finding out what provides best practices for our firm.
While the best practices may vary slightly from industry to industry, fundamentals remain the same.
1. Focus on the client journey
We have all heard about it. Most of us are figuring out our client’s journey and mulling over how to map it to our website. By following some simple steps you could be closer to achieving it:
2. Tell your story by designThe design of your website should not only be aesthetic, but it should reflect the story of your firm – what your values are, how you service. You can follow 3 simple steps map your firm’s brand to design.
3. Content that engages
Your P.S. firm website should offer a highly curated roster of thought leadership content that addresses the most pressing business, and industry pain points that clients face today. A client-centric view of content creation that addresses head-on the issues that keep clients up at night will ensure that your firm’s digital content program engages clients and provides an active user experience.Once you have a handle on what your firm is already producing, the next step is identifying ways that the content can be structured, optimized and targeted to address clients’ pain points.
Thinking beyond the written word and identifying topics that lend themselves to video presentation – even if it’s a handful of topics in a given year – can help increase a firm’s profile and content reach.
As a strategic content type, video has not played a significant role for professional services firms in their content strategy and marketing programs. This is with good reason: many P.S. firm marketing leaders cite the following issues with producing and sustaining an effective video program:
Luckily, now there are many various options for video creation that help to mitigate each of the challenges outlined above.
Video technology is becoming more commoditized, reducing both the expense and skills needed to produce professional quality video content.To know more about video marketing, please read the blog: Want higher market share? Get Video Marketing right!
“75% customers get frustrated with websites when the content has nothing to do with their interests.” - Janrain
Personalization is getting the right message to the right person at the right time. While there is a concern for some P.S. firms around being creepy with personalization, there are elegant and unobtrusive ways to personalize.To personalize, you must first understand who the client is and what her needs are. All client interactions with a firm’s marketing – events, content on the website, emails, social media – needs to be captured to provide a sum total view of the client’s engagement with the firm.
Context can be of the following types:
Implicit: As the visitor goes through the website, she leaves a digital footprint behind that provides clues to her intentions.
Explicit: By offering personal information (e.g. an email address, a phone number) to access high value content that your firm is publishing (either via a subscription or a download), clients provide the firm with insights into their intentions, interests, and preferences. This data can be invaluable for developing a multi-dimensional profile about that client
External: Data providers can provide data covering visitors on your website or companies you are targeting. This data, such as the industry, size, and location, can be used to profile a client in a better manner.Once you’ve captured client context, your website technology should allow you to segment the user and deliver relevant content to each client.
In days past, one global website with multi-lingual, regional/country websites used to be the norm. The legal differences between countries and general user experience changes for different regions necessitate a different approach.
Key considerations for international sites:
7. Site Search
Site search improves the user experience. It allows clients to find information quickly. A professional service firm website can potentially have thousands of web pages. Most web pages are buried, and it is impossible for clients to find relevant information by only using site navigation.
Best practices for website search
To read more about site search read this
Following these best practices is a start to delivering a compelling and engaging website. The smallest thing has to be meticulously planned to deliver an experience which talks to your client.Stay tuned for the 3rd part of the series to gain some more insights on website best practices of PS firms.