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Beyond Design – Building a Prospect Focused Website

     -     Feb 6th, 2018   -     Web Design   -     0 Comments

When the opportunity comes to redesign your firm’s website, it is often a time of excitement and stress. The opportunity to modernize the firm’s site, make it more attractive, and embody the firm’s brand and key messaging is exciting. Heck – it’s why you are a marketer. These things are what excites you and taps into your creative passion. However, it is important to remember that the website is also a sales tool for the firm. While it is important to have a well-designed and branded site, it is equally as important to think about how the homepage can be used to showcase the firm’s expertise and drive visitor focus. Quite often I work with marketers and accountants that are in love with the look of their new site, but they gave very little thought to how design choices and functionality facilitate engagement. Consideration about how the new website will function, how it can be adjusted to take advantage of buying cycles, and notable events, should not be an afterthought.

Real Life Lesson

We work with an accounting firm on the west coast that recently realized the limitations of their site design. The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was seismic in the industry impacting both individual and business taxpayers. They decided to hold a series of webinars on the change, focusing on businesses in general, and then for several of the niches they serve. My client was excited as this was the first webinar the firm was doing. About two weeks before the event I received a phone call asking for help. The marketing manager realized they have a problem with their website. There is nowhere for the firm to feature events, or even thought leadership, on the homepage. This was a cause of great concern because they had no way of featuring the event(s) on the most well-traveled page on the website. Thankfully, our coders were able to implement some changes that resolved the problem. However, the situation highlights the challenge that many face long after their new site is launched.

Key Considerations

To help clients, prospects, and others in the design process, we have created a list of considerations/questions that will make your website more “prospect friendly”, including:

  • Featured Content – As I mentioned in the real-life lesson above, it is important to have an area on the homepage where you can control the content being presented. This is important because perhaps there is an event, whitepaper, or video that is timely and of interest to your clients and prospects. Ideally, this content would be changed throughout the year as new information, events, service offerings, or firm achievements unfold. Remember, the purpose of a featured content section is to drive user attention to the information that YOU deem is most important.
  • Hero Slider – If your new homepage is going to have a hero image or slider, then it is important to use this area to your advantage. Many firms will elect to populate it with broad messaging about the history of the firm, fun facts about the city in which they work, or even recent awards earned by the firm. While this can be useful if your website is focused on recruiting new employees, it will do little to drive attention to the thought leadership and service/industry information available on the website. Remember, your homepage is like the front window of a retail establishment. Give emphasis to those things that YOU want the visitor to see. A hero slider that has information about the solution and value provided by the firm will go a long way to direct traffic to important site content.
  • Thought Leadership – Every client I work with is told and told, and then I repeat it one more time, to ensure they feature thought leadership on their homepage. Why? Well, for a professional services firm, it is important to illustrate that you know the areas in which you claim to be an expert. The way to convey that online is through written word, imagery (think infographic), or video. Since most firms have not embraced video yet, the written word is often the winner. Thought leadership is like a free sample of your firm’s knowledge in an area. Remember, the prospects need to have some level of assurance that you have the solutions to resolve their issues. Assuming you have a robust content development plan, feature relevant information on the homepage. Make it easy for prospects to understand you have the knowledge to help them succeed. It is one thing to say it, it is another to demonstrate it.

There is so much more I could write about this topic, but I hope you can see how making a few changes to your site during the design process can make an impact. If you have questions on this topic. or need assistance with web design, web refresher, or a search engine optimization topic, FlashPoint Marketing can help.

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