These days every business has a website, but not every business knows why it has one. A website is like everything else in your company, it should add value, especially a consulting company website.
In our work with consulting companies we find that many of these so called “professional services firms”, such as engineering firms, accounting firms and project management firms do not know what value their website should add, hence they under-invest in it.
The challenge is fairly obvious. As a professional services business, your company deals primarily with intangibles, not products. The value is being transferred invisibly, which complicates how you market the offering.
Your website is a powerful tool in making your service more tangible and much more marketable.
Marketing the invisible
How do you promote something that cannot be touched or seen? This is the challenge the consulting firm faces. How do you expect a client to pay for something when they cannot predict the outcome with certainty? Enter the company website! Your website provides a powerful marketing platform to help convince customer of the real value that you offer.
Show us your thinking
When it comes to selling consulting services, the goal is to provide as much evidence as possible that what you sell will indeed be good and deliver on your promises. Let’s start with the question: why is consulting invisible? The answer is because it deals predominantly with thoughts, not things. So, in order to make a prospective customer believe that your thoughts are worth buying, you need to show them what you are thinking. It is called thought leadership.
A website provides an ideal tool to showcase thought leadership. Through various blog posts, articles and downloadable white papers you have a chance to show people what is going on in your company’s head. This makes it far easier for them to understand the quality of your ideas and why they should pay for it.
Prove your credentials
A key part to marketing something unseen, is to show that you are indeed qualified to offer it. Think about it like this: if you take a walk in the wild bush and a friend tells you that they suspect there are lions in the area, you may have difficulty believing them,, unless they are a qualified game ranger! Then you listen to them, even if you can’t see the threat! In a similar way anyone claiming to be an expert should show their qualifications on their website, to make the unbelievable, believable.
A website provides the consultant an opportunity to showcase their credentials and, in so doing, build an element of trust with the buyer. You need to tick the right boxes when you are a consultant, and your website is where you can do this. What did you study? How many years’ experience? What accreditation do you have? Your website should make it very clear that you have done your training and got the certificate to prove it!
Show us results
It is one thing showcasing how clever you are, and how qualified you are, but we need to see the results! This is why it is so critical to highlight actual case studies and client testimonials for completed projects. It is about closing the loop and saying: “This is what we have done for them, and this is how satisfied they were”
Showing client testimonials consolidates the consulting offering especially when it is accompanied by real life case studies giving people a taste of how you work. In our opinion these case studies do not need to be overly detailed, or reveal confidential information, but rather give a broad overview to spark interest and create a sense of confidence. Showcasing results and client feedback is an essential part of a consulting company website.
Embrace the feelings
The consultants website provides a potent information tool to inform the prospective customer during their investigations and purchase journey. In the beginning, a potential client may not know what the solution is that they are looking for even though the problem they experience is very real! This “problem” translates into an unmet need that the client has. The website offers the opportunity to tap straight into the prospects need-state and show them that you understand this need and are able to meet it through your solution.
We all know that marketing to individual consumers is an emotional game; but so too is marketing to business clients. Ultimately you must tap into their frustrations, fears; concerns and hopes and help them make sense of these. By helping them understand their own problems and needs your website becomes a powerful sales tool.
Take your visitor on a sales journey
Once you have connected with the prospective clients’ needs, you need to walk a journey with them to help them make a decision. At each stage of the prospects journey your website should offer clear inputs to help them progress to the next phase along their way of making a purchase decision.
In our view the consulting company website should can benefit from following a well-established marketing principle in how it is structured namely the AIDA principle. AIDA is an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It identifies cognitive stages that an individual goes through during a buying process and your website should talk to each of these stages.
Also called “Awareness”. This step is often overlooked by business owners and is about just getting people to know that your service exists. The consulting company website can be as enticing and persuasive as you want but what’s the point if no one knows about it. To create awareness , you should employ effective search marketing strategies to boost your visibility on the internet.
Once users’ attention have been captured, the next step is to provide more information to those that might be interested. Here your website should provide quick, “at-a-glance” information to showcase relevance and encourage further enquiry. Providing credentials and testimonials of satisfied clients are important to encourage visitors to move to a deeper level of interest.
Also called “Decision”, this phase is critical to provide real back-up that you can do what you say. Now the prospect is diving deep and looking for extra info and real substance. A consulting company website should include case studies of work completed, opinion pieces to showcase their views and give overviews of the expertise the company possesses through profiles of key people Once this hurdle is cleared, the prospect is ready to take action.
The user has decided that you may be the solution they are looking for and now want to get in contact. Critical at this phase is not only to provide a contact form on the website, but to create a sense that you will indeed get in contact – and soon. In addition to a contact form we suggest providing the in contact details of individuals in the company together with a photo of them. This gives the website a personal touch and leaves no doubt whom to get in contact with.
Checklist for an effective consulting company website:
- Updated case studies
- Client testimonials
- Profile of key people
- Credentials and accreditations
- Updated news section
- Deliver message with clarity and style
- Visually enticing
- User friendly navigation
- Interactive & informative
To discuss your consulting company website needs, contact us today.