So you’re leading a professional services firm and your executive team is out and active at industry networking events, has memberships in all the right organizations, and is winning with their “short game” with friends, influencers and associates at meetings that are well worth the time commitment. You don’t really need a great website, right?
On the heels of launching our firm’s own new website, here are four reasons you’re not fully in the game if you have a subpar web presence:
No matter what kind of professional services firm you run, your website is a reflection and extension of the work you do. While it may not always be a driver of first contact for prospective clients, it is almost universally a “checked box” near the top of the list for prospects evaluating potential partners. Does your site accurately portray your differentiators and expertise? Is it functional on a mobile device? Does it have outdated information or dated design elements? These are all important considerations that can influence first impressions with prospective clients, as well as any Gen X or younger decision-makers since research shows they see your website as a reliable and important criteria for judging the organization.
Even putting aside “wow factor” for your website, consider the world in which we live. When is the last time you didn’t use a device for input on a buying decision? From vacation spots to takeout/delivery options to finding an open tee time, the world is digital. If you’re one of the leaders who still believes digital doesn’t impact the sales pipeline, you’re already in trouble. When is the last time you hired someone without looking at their LinkedIn or other social profiles? Would you hire a consultant without doing so, or without visiting their website? What about when you are doing business in another state where your network of referrals may not extend – do you ask an employee to do some web research? Our firm was hired for a multiyear project that may well yield seven figures in revenue by a large West Coast corporation who put together a list of firms from the web and flew into town for one day of meetings with the selected firms. We made sure we were on their list by having a strong web presence in the area of expertise they sought.
If your answer is Twitter, you get an A for participation and a D for strategy. While traditional media and social channels are amazing vehicles for promoting your thought leadership to the right audiences, it won’t have the full impact for search engines unless you harness summary pages, blog posts and related whitepapers on your website with links out to key coverage (plus inbound links from media if you can secure those too). In addition, you can weave thought leadership positioning and service differentiators into the content of your website pages too, making every touchpoint compelling to visitors and, if done right, primed for search engine optimization. Better “hub” strategy leads to more quality traffic to your site, better visibility and higher quality “inbound” new business leads – the kind that costs less than a business lunch or four rounds of Tito’s and soda.
Employers screen resumes and references before meeting with prospective employees. Prospective employees, on the other hand, screen your website and look for reference points. If you find it frustrating to talk to hiring candidates about outdated/irrelevant content on your website, consider that they would probably feel the same way if they knew their time spent studying was wasted. By having clear, compelling and rich content about relevant and current work, you will likely receive more qualified candidate inquiries and foster a warm first impression before you meet.
There are a lot more reasons to evaluate your website for best practices and make it more of a utility tool in your sales game. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a candid discussion.