If you run a consulting business, or any kind of independent professional service business, having a consulting website is more important than ever. If you don’t have a consulting website, your business is dead — no other way to slice it. But just what should go in your consultancy website? How can you be sure it’ll enhance your image and be helpful to potential clients rather than drive them away? These tips for designing a website for a consultancy business in Nigeria can help keep you on the right track.
A consultant’s web site can no longer be an afterthought. It must play an integral role in marketing your practice to new and existing clients. Too many consultants overlook the potential of a compelling consulting Website to help them stand out in a crowded market especially in Nigeria.
In past years, small business were definitely at a distinct disadvantage because promoting a brand can cost quite a bit of money. Think of the costs that mount up before digital distribution of brands: printing costs, distribution, advertising space, Tv ads, etc. Basically, the firm that spent the most advertising money got the most business. Today, with a proper website, almost anyone can establish a well-known brand for, literally, pennies on the Naira.
Want a good litmus test? Go online right now and search your name, or your company name. What did you find? How many pages did Google or Bing return? Now type “Webclick Communications,” this is my firm page. At the time of writing this, it will return roughly 14,000 results. Not all of those results point to my websites, but the vast majority do. More importantly, the first page of search results are all about my business – and most people don’t go past the first page.
Now, this is not mentioned to be self-proud, but to make a point. Without the internet, there is no way anyone other than my extended circle of friends and family would be aware of that brand. An internet presence levels the playing field and gives you just as much reach and influence as anyone else…believe it or not.
A big mistake I see many consultants make, however, is that they have static “brochure sites.” What they need is an interactive “lead-generating” website. A “brochure” site is basically like a brochure for your business, except online. It is great at explaining what you do, showing off your services, and providing contact information, but is also static, one-dimensional, and doesn’t really do anything to build a relationship with your prospective customers.
Your consultancy website should include:
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- An introductory or “landing page.” The “landing page” is the first thing your prospects will see so remember to make a good first impression. Keep it professional, clean and containing a unique value proposition.
- An “about us” page. Provide a list of everyone who works in the firm…use your headshot if you want! Also, write a bio and end it by connecting it to your value proposition.
- A “What we do” page. This can be called a “services” page, or anything else similar, but the content of this page describes what services you provide. It is a good practice to have separate pages for your services instead of putting everything in one page. Another great place to drop your value proposition.
- Testimonials. Always a good idea to have multiple testimonials or endorsements from folks. Make them one or two sentences maximum and pepper them around your site in different places and pages.
- Your blog page. This is a separate page that links to your blog, or any regularly published newsletter. Here is where you start to become a little more interactive, by allowing visitors to register for a newsletter, or write comments on your blog topics.
- A “Case Studies” page. Once you have some experience and wins under your belt, it’s great to add a “Case Study” page to your site where you can write up a short description of the problem a company was having, what you did to help them, and some tangible results like savings or real numbers.
- Contact page. Be sure to have a stand-alone page where prospective clients can reach out to you in as many ways possible, and as easily as possible. Include every way you can think of allowing your prospect or client to reach you.
If you don’t already have a solid website – you’re at a significant disadvantage, so I recommend you get started now on creating even the most basic web presence.
Even prospective clients who have referrals are likely to gather intelligence from your Web site before calling you. Without a Web presence that unequivocally shows your unique capabilities, clients will pass you by–referral or not.
As you build, maintain, and enhance your Web site, keep these guiding principles in mind:
1. Exchange value for time. Clients will gladly exchange time for value and insight. Provide relevant, valuable, and usable content, and prospective clients will keep reading and will likely return to your site. Clients look you up on the Web for one reason: to solve a problem. They expect your site to be worth the time it takes to find out if you can help.
2. Create client-focused content. Don’t limit your site content to describing who is in your practice and what services you provide. A tip-off to a consultant-focused site is if the navigation bar is dominated by choices such as “Our Services,” “About Us,” “Our Qualifications,” and “Our Clients.” Prospective clients rarely care about your business until they’re convinced you can help. Focus your site’s content on the client’s problems first, and then tell them about your qualifications.
3. Eliminate jargon and buzzwords. Many consultants use jargon as an easy shorthand. Unfortunately, most jargon either confuses readers or turns them off and sends them scurrying from your Web site. Use simple, descriptive language on every page of the site.
4. Content trumps design. Some sites rely on design, rather than content, to engage visitors. Using gimmicks like flash introductions and pop-up windows may work for some businesses, but don’t waste your visitors’ time waiting for the home page to load. These design features are interesting once, but they get old fast.
5. Interact but don’t intrude. Consultants can use their sites to start or nurture relationships with clients. Using simple tools like e-mail, e-newsletters, webinars, and blogs, the consultant can easily stay in touch. Communicating with clients electronically demands that you know where the line is between being helpful and being a pest. Sending clients high value content at regular intervals can be just what’s needed to convince them you have the right stuff. Go overboard and you’ll lose your clients’ interest.
6. Communicate with personality. Many corporate Websites are written by a committee of marketers, consultants, and executives. The resulting prose is stilted and lifeless. Use your Website to give visitors a glimpse of the personality and culture of your practice.
7. Know your visitors. The content and design of your site evolves over time. The best way to understand what works on your site–and what doesn’t–is to regularly monitor your visitor traffic. Learn which pages are accessed, what downloads are most in demand, and how many people are visiting your site. Search the patterns of your visitors’ behavior for clues as to how you can improve the site.
8. Make everything easy. The hardest task in building a great Website is to make everything easy. Visitors should quickly understand the purpose of your practice and what action you want them to take, whether it’s to download a special report or make contact with you.
Visitors want to be able to navigate through your site and locate information easily. Most people scan Web pages, so every page must be easy to read. And simplify sign ups for newsletters or other offerings. Visitors should not have to fill out pages of information to receive a download. Make sure all pages load quickly.
9. Your site is a marketing hub. Your consulting website should help convey your visual identity and be the marketing hub of your practice–equal parts front office, demonstration lab, resource library, and publicity machine. The content, appearance, and usability of your site reflect your style and show your competence as a professional and how you treat clients.
Your site serves as a showroom to demonstrate how your firm makes a difference to clients’ businesses. Your Website gives you a platform from which to tell your story, describe your mission, list your clients, and educate. It also provides you with visibility in and out of your industry.
10. Keep up with the times. Web visitors assign credibility to sites that are current, or at least demonstrate that they have been recently reviewed. Don’t let your site get stale. At a minimum, refresh content once a month. Technology is constantly changing. Keep up with the latest and greatest developments, but pick and choose only those that will enhance your Website’s effectiveness as a marketing tool for your business.
You have many options for driving traffic to your site, including optimizing the site to generate high search engine rankings and using Pay Per Click advertising. Some simple steps will help boost qualified traffic to your site with little investment on your part: Integrate your URL with all of your marketing communications, including business cards, stationery, printed materials, and your e-mail subject line. If you’re listed in business directories, don’t forget to get your URL published along with your practice profile.
Launch or update your website with Webclick
A consulting website is becoming increasingly important, and there is little excuse not to have one these days. If you do not have a website yet, start thinking about launching one this year. We will be happy to help you with every stage of the process from planning to execution, so get in touch today and let’s get started. As a web designer in Nigeria, our web design services is suitable for all type and size of consultancy firm and it is highly affordable.