Must-Have Website Elements for Professional Services written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
As a professional services provider, your website should be your most valuable marketing asset and the hub of all of your marketing efforts. Your website shouldn’t just be a pretty design that people can look at. It needs to act as an actual tool for your business and work as a lead generating machine.
Your website has many jobs these days and should help you:
- Get found – Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a priority for your business to help you rise above the competition in search engine results pages.
- Build trust – I write more about this below as well, but your website needs to work the way your customers need it to and expect it to. You need to instill confidence in your audience.
- Educate and inform – Help your audience understand what their problems and challenges actually are and how to solve them.
- Nurture and convert – This is where the whole lead generation component comes into play. It’s common for people to visit your website numerous times before deciding to work with you. To ensure you stay top of mind, put enticing forms and CTAs in place (that link to valuable resources) to get their email address and continue to create valuable content that is relevant to their stage in the customer journey. This will help to move them closer to the sale.
I’m not going to lie, after working with countless professional services businesses over the years I can say that many websites look the same. They have the exact same structure and messaging (this even applies across industries) and it can be difficult to separate one business from another.
To help you stand out from the crowd, keep the points mentioned in this post in mind.
Speak to your specific audience
Now, the core of this is that you have to have a deep understanding of who your audience is in order to speak to them directly. You want them to feel special when they land on your site and this happens best when they feel an emotional connection with your messaging.
When developing the copy to reach your audience, keep the following in mind:
- Focus on the messaging on your audience, not your business (i.e. replace “we” with “you”). It will resonate much better with them if you take this approach (easier said than done, but it’s a must).
- Write as if you’re talking to one specific person, not a group of people.
- Avoid using jargon. This is especially important for professional services. It can be so easy to get caught up in your everyday lingo, but the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t always make you sound smart. It confuses your audience more often than not because they don’t understand what you’re saying.
- Write conversationally. This makes your business less intimidating and can make your prospects feel like you’re talking to them, rather than at them.
Find your point of differentiation
As mentioned, so many professional services websites look and feel the same, so you need to find a way to stand out. To do this, take a look at your brand’s company, culture, and services, and identify what makes you unique.
A good place to start is by looking at your culture (the most relatable aspect of your business) and showcase your culture through storytelling and various aspects across your site. You will have competition that provides the same services as you, but your company’s personality can truly set you apart.
Let your audience know who you are. Create an about page, show pictures of your team, share fun facts, and so on. Provide your mission and values that people can connect with. There are so many things that you can do. Start thinking of what these are and add them to your site ASAP.
Think about visuals and design
You know the phrase, “you need to dress to impress?” Well, this saying goes for your website as well. Your website is often a potential customer’s first impression, so you need to make it a good one. Make sure the visuals assist with guiding people through the buying process and that they accurately represent your culture and target audience.
Do the best you can to avoid common stock photos. They make you appear less authentic.
Take a look at your competitors’ websites when putting the design together. While you may be able to gather a few good ideas from what they’re doing, you should also look at them as designs to stay away from.
Ensure your site is mobile optimized
Your customers are busy and are likely researching your business on the go, so you need to provide a stellar user experience for them on their handheld devices. Google is actually penalizing sites that aren’t optimizing for mobile, so to avoid frustrating potential customers and losing rank in search, optimize ASAP.
Must-have homepage elements
In addition to the thoughts above, here are actual elements you need to add to your homepage:
- A promise and sub-promise – You need to make a clear promise that will solve your customers’ problems. A sub-promise is a trust factor that a company offers (such as “Kansas City’s most trusted”). Make sure these elements are clear.
- A call to action (CTA) – CTAs help to guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps. It provides a clear path for customers to take and removes ambiguity.
- Contact information – Make it easy for people to get ahold of you. This is especially important for local businesses since a company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) is a local ranking factor.
- Video – Video allows you to give people an understanding of your personality, who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story. Some of your clients or customers may be intimidated by the professional services you provide, so providing an element that can humanize you or establish an emotional connection is ideal. A video can do just that.
- Trust, proof, and authority elements – As a company that provides professional services, I can almost guarantee you are being compared to others that provide the same services you do before a person makes a decision on who they want to work with. To stand out, you must do your very best to include the following elements on your homepage: testimonials, client logos, association badges, client results, case studies, media recognition, and awards.
- Fresh content – In order to best serve your prospects and clients, you need to always be providing valuable information for them. It shows your company is active and cares about the audience’s experience with your brand.
- Core services – One of the things many companies don’t do enough of is list out their core services on their homepage. This can be a point of differentiation but can also help boost your SEO because it provides a good user experience.
If you own or run marketing for a professional services business, what are you doing on your website to help separate you from the competition?