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Create a Content Marketing Strategy that Keeps Giving

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A solid content marketing strategy shouldn’t simply revolve around creating a content calendar with a list of to-dos. It should align with the goals your professional services firm has identified for growth and utilize digital marketing resources that help you connect with your clients and prospects. A few things you want to consider when developing your content strategy include:
 
  • Utilize a variety of content mediums – Your audience is comprised of unique individuals who all consume content in different ways. Some prefer reading a blog post while others may prefer watching a video or reviewing an infographic. A varied content strategy will ensure that you are providing the types of content that will resonate with more than one segment of your audience. 
  • Set goals for your content – How does your content align with your firm goals for lead generation and growth? By understanding this, you can create more effective content that resonates with your clients and prospects. 
  • Determine what success looks like – Perhaps success is a certain number of leads coming from your website. It could be the number of views your video receives or the number of new email sign-ups you receive each month. Establish what KPIs are important for you and then measure them on a regular basis so you can determine if you are meeting your goals and how you can optimize your efforts for greater success. 
  • Maximize your content – You can use your content more than once and in more than one way by repurposing or updating old content. You can update older content or you can convert content from one format to another. 

Vary Your Content

Man working on a website on a laptop computer.There’s an incredible variety of content that can be created today. Blogs, video, podcasts, infographics, market and industry reports and whitepapers are just a few examples of what types of content can be used in your firm’s strategy. Because every individual consumes content differently, it’s important that your content marketing plan includes a variety while still producing what is authentic for your firm. 
 
We have worked with some clients who find great success through video content, while others connect better with their clients and prospects through their blogs and whitepapers. Your firm should focus on creating content that resonates best with your own clients and ideal prospects and not worry about jumping on the latest trends, even if your competitors are doing it 
 
If you find that you don’t have any individuals at your firm who want to be the subject matter expert in a video, this is an area you could outsource. Write a script and hire talent to be in front of the camera delivering your message. Or perhaps the individual would be more comfortable having a recorded conversation that is produced as a podcast. Play to the strengths of your firm leaders and employees to develop the best content that’s authentic to your firm. 

Maximizing the Usefulness of Your Content

Many professional services firms fall into the thinking that they have to be constantly churning out new content. This creates an overwhelming feeling that can lead to abandoning a content marketing plan. In reality, much of your content can be used more than once and in more than one way.
 
Of course, some content may be considered timely if your firm is addressing recent tax law changes or legislation that affects clients in specific industries. However, there’s a lot of content that falls under what we call “evergreen.” This is the type of content that remains relevant for months and even years. It can be easily updated and republished. 
 
  • Rewrite or update older content – Dig back into your content that’s two or more years old to decide what information is still largely relevant and how it can be updated and republished for your audience. You have valuable insights that don’t lose their value simply because it’s older information. 
  • Repurpose and revise formats – Perhaps you have a video that can be repurposed into a blog or vice versa. We’ve done this often at Ingenuity. While we don’t actively promote videos of former employees, it is still great content that our audience finds valuable. We repurpose that content as a blog post. With a little editing, the subject can quickly be revised and updated. This provides us with not only new content for our audience, but it provides us with SEO on our website and three to five social media posts.   
A well-devised content marketing strategy can help foster loyalty and create new opportunities for growth in your professional services firm. Start with the steps we outlined above to get started in creating a sustainable strategy. If you need assistance creating content, hiring a professional ghostwriter can free you up to serve your clients while providing you with researched and well-written content.
 

Understanding your audience is important for content marketing strategy. Learn how personas play a role in knowing your audience and how to develop them.


A person with grey mittens holding a warm cup of coffee.

Marketing to Real People in a Digital World

A person with grey mittens holding a warm cup of coffee.

One word you might see a lot today regarding business culture and marketing is authenticity – defined as something or someone “entitled to acceptance as authoritative, genuine, true or correct.”

You may also hear a lot about the term personalization — defined as “to render personal rather than impersonal or purely professional, to make or alter so as to meet individual needs, inclinations or specifications.”

This is the preferred approach to service delivery. Be a professional who is authentic and who personalizes the experience for every client. Perhaps it always has been this way, which is why professionals are in a great position to deliver what today’s clients expect.

Here is the challenge: with limited time, how do you create that personal and authentic experience for every client — and, just as importantly, every potential client whom you haven’t met yet?

In reality, it’s a people challenge and a technology challenge. 

Why Digital Marketing Matters

Qualified potential clients usually want to interact with your firm or organization online first. They will gather a sense of what your firm cares about and represents through your website, bios, social media profiles and your public relations. It’s not just about the messaging. It’s also about how easy they can navigate your site and find up-to-date social posts about issues they care about.

On social media, people respond much more frequently and positively to a post about someone winning an award or working a booth at a tradeshow (with a photo or video!) than they do to a news item or a link to the firm’s services.

Examples of Ingenuity Marketing Group Facebook posts.

Also, if your posts include real people, then real people will respond to it! See the difference in these two posts — one about a new employee and one linking to a blog post.

If your articles include real stories about how other clients navigated a common problem, then your key points will hit home much faster than if you simply state the problem and the solution.

For example, we were working with a client that wanted to reach out more personally to prospects, but didn’t have time to meet with each prospect in person right away. To get more responses, we suggested using the personal touch of “virtual coffee” by sending a coffee gift card by mail. The invitation to prospects — using their first name and personalizing the message — was much warmer than a generic email or postcard, and our client actually heard back from people!  

EXPLORE OUTSOURCED MARKETING

How to Create Personal Client Experiences

In the same way, your firm’s online presence has to be deeply personal and rooted in what your firm is at its core. When prospects see consistent messages from your firm that reflect a set of values resonant through all levels of what you actually deliver, it builds trust and makes them want to work with you.

What are your values? It’s not services, quality and years of knowledge. Authenticity requires an emotional and human connection that builds trust. Have you looked at your firm’s values and brand loyalty lately? Maybe it’s time for a refresh.

Try these ideas as a way to personalize your firm’s values and experiences with clients and potential clients.

  1. Explore your organization’s core values. As a different type of marketing exercise, come up with a list of cars, celebrities or songs that are distinctly a bad fit. Now talk about why they don’t fit your organization. In the negatives, you’ll learn a lot about who you really are and why you’re different from your competitors.
  2. Repeat great client experiences. Use a great client as a composite profile of more clients you would like to attract. Identify why the relationship works so well. Interview them about ways that you have built trust and personalized the relationship. Practice those skills with prospects and other clients. Just asking these questions can build more trust with your clients.
  3. Be human. Clients and prospects are looking for a way to connect. Take photos of fun times or “real” times with your team and share them. Celebrate new babies or anniversaries. Send a card if a client is sick. Stop the shop talk if you sense that your client needs someone to just listen.

This process of blending professional aspects of your business with personalization may not be easy at first. It requires being a bit vulnerable and less focused on the work sometimes. But in a service-based business, people care just as much about how you make them feel as they do about how you help them succeed.

Here are more examples of personalizing client experiences through your niche market.   


 

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Assess Your Real Digital Marketing Needs

A recent Advertising Federation meeting presented some of the big changes ahead for paid search. Google, which is the most widely used search engine worldwide, is using Quality Score criteria in its learning algorithms that will give weight to companies that integrate Search Engine Marketing (SEM) into their online visibility. Some call this “pay to play,” although Google insists that real, relevant organic content will still carry the most weight in its search results. However:

  • if you go beyond the basic text-based ad format and integrate responsive search, dynamic search campaigns and smart bids into your paid search strategy — and your content is relevant to the promise of your ads — the more likely that your quality score will go up (translation: using more of Google’s tools may provide better search rankings).
  • A good Quality Score is between 5 and 10, which is difficult to obtain due to Google’s secret recipe, but it can lead to your website showing up in a better search results position.

Integrate Outsource Marketing Services

Due to these rapid changes and many others, outsourced marketing consulting can help you identify your upcoming needs for digital marketing and analysis before you hire an in-house marketer to support them. This process can help you avoid the mistakes of hiring a digital marketer who may be great technically, but not so great at translating your data into real business decisions.

Let’s give you a couple examples:

  • We often hear from potential clients that they have viewed reports for their social media analytics, organic SEO or their paid search campaigns and aren’t always sure how to use them for real business decisions. Impressions and clicks need context, and every firm’s goals are different when using digital media.
  • We also hear that product vendors are very keen about selling the features and benefits of spending more on paid search campaigns or adopting new marketing automation software. But few vendors understand the world of b2b professional services and how these go-to-market tools can best serve your goals. Some firms are spending hundreds if not thousands on ads and tools that aren’t producing results.

Digital marketing is a special area of marketing. It is not something that every marketer wants to do or can manage in addition to other responsibilities. It requires an analytical and contextual mind — a head for numbers and a common sense communications style to translate those numbers for business decisions. In many ways, it is similar to what accountants and engineers must do for their clients today!

Given that marketing is spanning traditional in-person activities as well as online visibility and persuasion, your firm or organization can expect to need the services of a digital marketer. Here are a few tips to plan ahead for that need:

  • Identify opportunities for web-based lead generation. If you aren’t ready or persuaded to pursue any types of digital marketing or SEM yet, keep in mind that prospects are still looking at your capabilities and people online after a referral. Your content should be regularly updated with strong calls to action and search engine optimization.
  • Assess your in-house marketing team. Your team needs to translate prospect data into strong marketing initiatives. For example, your web analytics may point to frequent visits to a certain service page. Your marketing team should be able to assess whether there is a market demand, and then develop a campaign to promote that service more frequently. To assess demand, they may need to cross-reference data such as social media traffic and website search phrases alongside other known market data.
  • Based on your current marketing team, determine whether it makes sense to outsource your digital marketing needs for now. With this support, you can build foundational systems and results. The knowledge you gain will inform your job description for a future in-house digital marketer.

The best first step is to have a consultation on your current digital marketing activities and needs; get assistance to optimize the effectiveness of your digital marketing from day one. Ignoring the future of digital marketing is the same as ignoring new clients that are looking at you online.

Check out this video next, where we recommend three things before you invest in a lead-generating website, a fancy marketing tool or digital ad campaign. Get the guidance you need for future new business.


 

person holding chalkboard with the words "who are you" on it

Stay Ahead of Your Competitors with Brand Research and Differentiation

person holding chalkboard with the words "who are you" on it

Accounting firms and engineering firms often call us when they see a competitor suddenly showing up in their market space and winning bids seemingly “out of the blue.”

A closer look at the competition reveals that those firms have set up a strategy to target a certain buyer, market or industry and are now reaping the rewards of months of focused effort. They didn’t just show up. They’ve been there for a while.

When a competitor enters your market and begins to win bids, it’s time to look at your firm’s brand positioning.

What are your clients saying about you?

The first step is to look at what your clients are saying about you. We often find that what firm leaders think about why clients value the firm is different from what clients say.

You can find out what clients are saying by conducting client interviews. We recommend that these are done by an experienced brand consultant. This provides more objective and detailed feedback because the viewpoint is fresh. In addition, your best clients hold the key to discovering how to attract more clients of that caliber. Asking the right questions can bring out open and honest feedback, which helps you align your message with how your clients view you.

Who are your competitors and what are they up to?

You won’t know unless you do some research to find out who they are and what they’re up to. Invest in a competitive analysis that gives you a side-by-side comparison of key industry and niche competitors and where they’re gaining an edge — before they get the jump on you.

To do this, look at competitors’ websites, advertising and social media. You can also hire a secret shopper of your competitors to find out how they talk about themselves. 

What are your firm’s differentiators?

What is it that makes your firm unique? How are you different from your competitors? Competitive differentiators show up in your community. Some firms are already known for a level of charitable participation, a landmark building, an outrageous personality or some other unique feature of their community involvement. If you’re working on your differentiation internally, you may already be aware of what your community knows about you. Is it consistent with the messages from clients and prospects and your leadership? Is there something new to add?

Developing your Brand Message

At the end of this brand research process you should be able to come up with a list of three to five areas that distinguish you from your competitors. State them as phrases that are easy to remember. The end goal is for each individual in your firm to remember the core ideas that define the brand of your firm. When you give people core ideas, they can customize these to fit the situation they’re in at the time. The same ideas can be represented on your website, in proposals, public relations and all your marketing messages. In an information-flooded world, the beauty of clearly stated key messages leads to consistent branding and client expectations.

Ingenuity has the tools to provide analysis and recommendations for preserving or expanding niche business and clients. Don’t be caught off-guard by a competitor creeping into your market.

LEARN MORE ABOUT INGENUITY’S BRAND RESEARCH SERVICES


 

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Brand Positioning: 4 Ways to Enhance Client Service

Person writing brand positioning on a chalk boardWe conduct multiple client surveys and interviews every year to help professional service firms improve their brand loyalty.  Based on our research, the top two reasons that clients leave a professional service firm is that they don’t feel valued and they don’t perceive value from the relationship. 

If you find yourself in this situation at your firm: straying clients, unhappy clients, bad reviews or certain disciplines that don’t handle client service as well as others, it may be time for team training on your client service standards as well as a refresh on your brand positioning. Help everyone serve clients consistently well. 

SEE BRANDING SERVICES AND TEAM TRAINING

To get you started, here are four baseline behaviors that every professional who directly works with clients should exhibit with every client encounter.  

Be friendly. 

Close up of man sticking out hand for handshakeWe understand that some people don’t find small talk particularly easy. But your clients expect a certain level of check-in or friendliness when you communicate. Start calls or meetings by asking about their week, showing interest in them as people. 

You will quickly see if clients appreciate a few minutes of settling into the meeting and also when they want to get right down to business. Keep their preferences in mind for the next time you meet. 

Be organized.

Woman putting a post it into a appointment calendarAs a professional service provider, there is no excuse for disorganization. Before a meeting, build in 15 minutes of time to prep for the agenda, understand the goals for the day or week, see who is part of the meeting and who is responsible for each item on the to-do list. If you have trouble keeping a calendar, identify an app or assistant that can remind you with notifications or alarms for the most important meetings. 

Even if you are in the field, make use of mobile devices and previous notes to  prepare for an efficient conversation with clients. Be the keeper of details. That way, your clients can easily move from your meeting to the next one. 

Set clear deadlines.

Tack stuck into the 22nd calendar dateBefore you set a deadline, make sure that it makes sense for the client as well as for your team. There is nothing worse than setting an unrealistic deadline or accepting a client’s deadline when you know it won’t work. Speak up and work out a compromise. 

Frequently missed deadlines won’t garner much favor with clients. Avoid setting up yourself or your team for failure. Understand the realities of time to deliver quality work in the midst of competing projects and the unexpected. 

With these things in mind, organize the timeline with a mental goal of delivery BEFORE the deadline. It will help set realistic expectations with clients.  

Communicate.

Woman yelling into megaphoneAfter every honest effort, if you can’t meet a deadline, speak up. In our research, we find that if clients simply hear regularly from their professional service providers on project progress, they are more accepting of delays. Communicate honestly and often about issues so they can be a partner in the process. 

Determine the client’s preferred method of communication. Do they like when you pick up the phone or not? Try providing a summary of outstanding items or questions in one email. That way, they don’t have to scan through multiple emails or messages. If you use voicemail, be clear on what you need. Unless you know the client really well and they prefer it, avoid leaving a message that just says, “call me back.” 

Be respectful of the client’s time and money. When it comes down to it, they are trusting you to deliver value and help them reach their goals. Show them that you value them, too! It will enhance your brand positioning. 


Do you have really great clients who are able to give you personal testimonials?
Here are some tips to get better testimonials.


People avatars flat vector

3 Ways Personas Accelerate Brand Positioning

People avatar flat vector

Personas, also known as client profiles or target markets, are a description of the types of clients and influencers that choose your services. 

They apply to professional services whether you operate a firm or an association, and they should be a key component of your market research. 

BEFORE STARTING MARKET RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD OUR RESEARCH PLANNING TOOL.

There are three big reasons to create and use personas — and to update them. They   focus your marketing, assist with prospecting and train your team on client service. All of these areas affect your brand positioning because potential clients or members need to quickly know that you understand them and can help them better than anyone.

1. Personas for Marketing

Effective marketing campaigns offer solutions for the potential buyer. Personas should include a description of your target buyer(s) that includes challenges, pains, goals and desires. These descriptions will help you focus your marketing messages on how your services bring solutions and support goals. By articulating how you best serve the buyer, you are differentiating your brand.

Whether you are writing blog posts, creating an ad campaign or writing website copy, personas will help you create content that fits the buyer. You will avoid the common problem of writing all about you instead of what buyers really want to know. Can you help them, and what should they do about their issue?

If you aren’t sure of your target buyer’s pains, interests or desires, interview your current clients or members and find out how you solve their problems and help them. It will clarify your brand positioning. You can include that feedback in your persona description! 

2. Personas for Sales

When having sales conversations, one rule of thumb is to have the prospective buyer speak two-thirds of them and to actively listen to their answers. To get them talking, you need great questions. But don’t just ask any question. Ask a question related to your brand; convince them that you are the best choice. 

A persona description will help you develop sales questions that relate to your target buyer to qualify them, but also to get them talking about what’s most important to them in a professional service relationship. 

For example, if you solve the challenge of training, ask a sales question like, “How important is it to you that your [professional service relationship] supports a well-educated team at your company?” It’s likely that the right buyer will say that it’s very important, which gives you an opportunity to ask about types of education they seek, and then talk about your service offerings.  

The persona description helps you prepare for these conversations with confidence and consistency. 

3. Personas for Client Service

Once you attract a new client — or a new member in the case of associations — you can use your persona descriptions to address how to deliver great client service. The descriptions can be used to train your staff on client service expectations, how you solve problems and how you make a difference. 

You can even create persona descriptions for referral sources and influencers. Help team members understand how to develop industry connections that can refer new opportunities to your firm or association. Everyone can take ownership of your brand positioning with the right knowledge. Personas are just one way to do this. 

If you need assistance with this type of market research or brand positioning, talk to Ingenuity. In addition to personas, here are other things you need for brand positioning. 


Stick figure people steering an arrow graphic upward

Best Marketing Tips for Professional Services in 2020

Stick figure people steering an arrow graphic upward1. Voice Search SEO Strategy

It’s coming. Voice search SEO is gaining traction because it is easier to speak to a voice search assistant than it is to type on a mobile device. If a quarter to one-third of your website traffic are mobile users, consider optimizing your site for voice search. Voice searches are conversational and often involves a question. This changes how your web content should be written, including page headlines. 

2. Website ADA Compliance

Our Lead Designer and Web Developer, Robert Wasiluk, recommends making sure your website is ADA compliant. With 19 percent of the U.S. population identified as having a disability, major search engines as well as adaptive screen readers employ web crawling methods according to the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Don’t miss out on these potential clients/referrals.  

3. Leverage CRM and Marketing Automation

Few firms are using their CRMs or automation tools to their full potential. Start with the basics: fully invest in the eblast tools within your CRM of choice or an outside product like MailChimp or Constant Contact. The tool Zapier can even help connect these outside tools to your CRM. (We are not paid to suggest these tools; we just happen to use them ourselves!) Try to automate frequent communications that will save time for your team, from calendar scheduling to monthly or quarterly marketing communications.   

4. Revisit Former/Inactive Contact Lists

Last month, Ingenuity sent emails to former clients, some from several years ago. The result was two new proposals! Never underestimate the value of staying in touch. If you are an association, customize a message to inactive members. Firms can tap into their database and sort by date of engagement. 

5. Personalize Your Messaging

In a world of big data that tries to answer every consumer whim before you even know you want it, your messages as professionals must also add a personal touch. Write like a human and have your firm communications come from a human. Individual social profiles and automated emails from partners and executives get far better engagement and open rates.  

Do you need to recharge your prospect follow-up? Get five tips to stay in front of your leads and get the business.


Illustration of a diagram with connectors coming from a central gear

Four Ways Outsourcing Creates Opportunity for your Professional Services Firm

Illustration of a diagram with connectors coming from a central gearOne important quality in being a good leader is in knowing when to look beyond you and your team to fill the gaps in your firm’s marketing. Whether these gaps are time, resources or expertise, you get help where and when you need it most when you work with an outsourced marketing firm. You only have so many hours to use in a day and can only know so much about the fast-changing, best practices in marketing. How can you use e-mail to stay in front of your prospects and turn them into leads? What is the best social media strategy for your firm and within your target market? Outsourcing your marketing helps you solve these challenges and contributes to growth for your professional services firm.

Gain Skills and Expertise

An outsourced marketing firm can augment the skills of your team and fill any talent or knowledge gaps in your firm. To create good website copy, you need a digital copywriter who understands how to write compelling web copy that keeps your audience on your site. To get media exposure, you need a public relations specialist who understands journalism and how to get your press releases in front of the right person. An outsourced marketing agency can bridge this gap between what you know and what you need to know.

Accelerate Growth

When it comes to launching a new brand, developing a content strategy or conducting research, it is faster and more efficient to outsource the areas your team needs the support in. In these cases, time is critical and training someone on your team for what is needed or hiring a new employee would take too much time.

Perhaps your firm is observing rapid growth in a service or niche. If your team is already operating at maximum capacity or doesn’t have the expertise in the growing industry or niche, this is when outsourcing may be the most viable and efficient option for your firm.

Reduced Costs

Outsourcing provides some creative solutions for budgeting. Moving some of your marketing expenses from a fixed cost to a variable cost, allows you some flexibility with your budget, projects and campaigns. Firms are feeling the pains of reduced marketing budgets and the expectation to produce better results with fewer resources. This is where outsourcing your marketing can provide you with a higher level of results for projects through consultants at the top of their field.

Marketing Continuity

Recruiting, training and keeping employees can be costly and if they leave your firm, it can affect your marketing strategies. By outsourcing your marketing, you can receive continuity of services and peace-of-mind that your goals and objectives won’t be impacted by staffing challenges. The outsourced marketing agency takes on the burden of hiring and training staff, allowing you to focus on what needs to be done for your firm to grow.

A good outsourced marketing agency is ready to help you look like a rock star with your firm partners and leaders. Set a clear path to the next level of growth for your professional services firm with the support of Ingenuity’s growth and marketing consultants. 

GET STARTED WITH OUTSOURCING YOUR MARKETING TODAY!

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How to use Digital Marketing for Brand Awareness and Lead Generation – A Three-Part Series

Developing your Digital Marketing Toolbox – Website 

Digital marketing has evolved very quickly and it seems as if some new tool, platform or app is popping up every day. As soon as you feel like you understand how the digital landscape works, it changes and there’s something new to figure out once again. It’s no wonder that digital marketing has become a point of confusion and frustration for many professional service firms. 

Today, more than ever, your presence online and on social platforms makes a difference in how you are perceived and in your firm’s sales effectiveness. With so many firms and individuals online, it takes strategy and agility to stand out from the crowd. In this three-part blog series, we will tell you HOW to use digital marketing for professional services. First up: your firm’s website. 

Website

Firms that are operating on outdated web platforms or with old design templates are missing some critical opportunities. When referred to a new firm, many prospects go first to the website. When seeking a new job, candidates often head to the website to learn about the culture. An old website can do more harm to your firm’s image than ever before.

If your website looks staid, boring, and “template-like,” that one chance to make a great first impression is over. The key to great websites is to think through who will use it, how they will use it and how to communicate your services and unique culture and the value you bring.

Before you write one word or design one page, consider what you want your website to do based on how the audience will use it. Do you want it to speak primarily to prospects or recruits? Is it an information service for clients? Do you want to get leads from your website?

Making it pretty is not enough. Be clear about your target market and what you want to communicate to them. When we work with clients on a website, we like to establish some key messages about the firm that can act as a guide for content. This sets a tone and ensures that the firm’s website isn’t cookie cutter.

Read our blog post: Are you getting value from your website?

Writing copy for websites is different than writing for a proposal or marketing flier. Use a professional writer who has experience with websites, as well as one who understands your industry. Have that person write the sections that matter most: your Home Page, Services, About Us and key leader and staff bios. If you are having trouble recruiting, hire a writer to add some snap to your career pages. If your firm is moving into a specialized niche, work with a writer to develop key messages and web content that helps your firm rise above your competitors.

In our next blog post, learn how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help your website rank higher on Google and other search engines. 

Or, if you need help now, contact our digital marketing consultants.


Laptop illustration with value added banner above it.

Gain Value From Your Website

What role does your website play in marketing a professional service? A good website costs time and money. If you get all your new business from referral sources and satisfied clients, why should you invest in your website? Let us tell you.

What a business card was in the 90s, a website is now.
At a minimum, your website establishes that you are a “real” firm with solid expertise and a good team. Without a website, or with an outdated “90s brochure on the Web,” your prospects may mistake your firm for a smaller, weaker organization that does not move with the times. Old or missing information? You give an impression of disorganization and lack of attention to detail. You might even look too busy to take on more clients if you can’t get your website updated.

Our world of multiple referrals.
When an engineer, banker, lawyer or CPA gives a referral to another professional, they are more and more likely to refer more than one individual. Guess where the prospect goes when they have more than one referral to choose from? The Internet. For most professional service firms, the website’s primary strategy is to support referrals. The person with the best website — well-written, easy to navigate, mobile functionality, bios of leadership, clear strengths and differentiators, client testimonials — gets called first.

Bios are mission critical.
Leadership and team bios are almost always the first place people look to learn more about your firm online. Prospects are either searching for a specific person or determining if they might have good rapport with you. If your bio is stiff, full of dull achievements from years ago and your photo looks like you had it taken at the county license bureau, you will not get the first call. And if your bio isn’t even on your firm’s website? You just lost the race.

Your site sets up the prospect’s expectations.
If your website clearly gives your prospect the idea that you are up-to-date, savvy, interesting and have loads of expertise in the area where they need solutions, the expectation becomes that you are the “first choice.” If your website is ugly or even just basic, it sets up the expectation that you are the “B Squad.” 

Design and bells and whistles. 
While strategy should lead design, ugly design leads people to think your firm is bad. Average design leads to average expectations. Make sure your website looks good, is easy to navigate and a pleasant experience for users – these should be the least of your brand promises – that you are good, easy to work with and pleasant. Add an interesting blog, some podcasts, videos or interactive features and suddenly you are the market leader compared to most professional service firms. Have some outside people tell you about yourself based only on your website. Does anything about your website tell them you are interesting and experienced or do you give a generic impression? 

Your website is recruiting central.
Most people looking for jobs talk to their friends and look for jobs online. They are interested in your culture and how your website portrays the brand experience of your firm. A careers page that speaks to a youthful audience beyond benefits and job openings and “we’d like to meet you,” but instead portrays your firm as dynamic and interested in developing talent — that’s your goal.

Does your website need a review or refresh? Contact us.