Where can you make an impact with website revisions?
When visitors land on your website, is there something they can see that sets you apart from other firms they may be considering? Or, could you swap out your logo for someone else’s, and it wouldn’t make a difference? We covered that all-too-common problem at our August 12, 2021 AAM High! Webinar. (Members can click here to access the recording. Learn more about AAM High! webinars.)
In this session, we were joined by Don Breckenridge and Jamie Miller of Marketing by Numbers, as well as Jordyn Hettick, Marketing Communications Director for Larson Gross. Don, Jamie, and Jordyn went through the AAM-MAA-winning Larson Gross website and talked about the core areas the site was set apart from its competitors, as well as what accounting marketers should consider revising to be equally noteworthy.
Four core areas where website revisions make a huge difference
Messaging and Branding
It’s easy to get complacent when it comes to web content. It’s even easier to focus on service-based language. On Larson Gross’ site, they don’t just cover their services in “What We Do” on the homepage, but also “How we do it,” providing more background on the client experience that serves as a brand differentiator. Prospective clients can get a feel for what the process would be like with Larson Gross, see if they’re in an industry the firm usually serves, and pre-qualify themselves.
The tone of the website is also distinct. Larson Gross keeps things witty and fun to engage their visitors. The tone matches the fun, bright colors on the site as well. Whatever you choose to do with your messaging, tone, and imagery, the important thing is to keep it consistent and identifiable.
One of the most notable brand choices Larson Gross made was to include their actual employees and clients in imagery. From the home page onward, you can get a personal feel of who you might encounter when working with the firm. Stock photos? Who needs ’em? If prospective clients can see a version of themselves in your actual clients, nothing is going to get lost in translation.
With any branding change, remember, you don’t have to take it on all at once. You can start by replacing a few images and rewriting copy on often-visited pages. And when it comes to rebranding and fitting your voice and your image, be mindful of what you do in-house and what makes sense to outsource. You know your brand best.
Credibility and Testimonials
Nobody can sell your services better than your own clients and employees. Use testimonials generously. This will add validation to the work you do while showcasing the people at your firm at their best. Adding a “credibility bar” also is a great way to build more trust. Include logos of other businesses you do business with.
When you highlight your team, don’t just keep it to the “team” page, and include more than leaders. A receptionist is often the first point of contact at your firm. They should be included on the website, too.
When you include team bios, share your professional experience, but be personal, too. Clients want to know the humans behind the work. You can personalize your services and add a connection point for prospects. Do you have a collegiate golfer? An archer? Someone who worked on dairy farms who now wants dairy farms as clients? Let your people tell their stories and they will draw people in by doing so.
Despite the term being thrown around often, thought leadership is still vital for the success of your website. You want to be seen as the authority for your clients, the go-to when they have a question. What better way to do this than by providing thought leadership pieces? While it may feel daunting to write original content, know this – You can work on a mixture of original and syndicated content. If you want to get visitors more engaged, use video (if you haven’t already). It can bring a lot of light to an otherwise dull topic. Whatever you do, when you’re writing content, give visitors a pathway to get in touch with you.
Your thought leadership should also extend beyond the confines of your website. Communicate via email and social media with these pieces as well. LinkedIn can be a great source of additional traffic, for example.
When you’re thinking about revising your website, the first thing that comes to mind is probably how you can improve it to generate more business. However, bringing in new hires is equally important. The career section shouldn’t be an afterthought. Before potential applicants submit their resume, they’re going to go to your website first. They’ll look at the whole thing and get immersed in your firm before they make the decision to throw their hat in the ring. When potential new hires come to your site right now, what do they see?
In the case of Larson Gross, Jordyn said that three new team members in the last year used the website as a deciding factor to apply and opt to work at the firm. Imagine if your website makes the difference between several new hires per year and crickets.
Just like with services, testimonials, and thought leadership, the careers page should tell a story. If it’s a story that aligns with the person reviewing it, they’re more likely to apply.
Great! How can I start tackling website revisions?
You’ve got all these great ideas for core areas to revise, but now you have to figure out how to start. Getting the buy-in can prove to be a huge pain point. However, if you’re clear on the scope, and highlight some desired objectives, you can explain to stakeholders where you are and where you want to go with well-defined benchmarks. Don’t make these goals nebulous – how would you ever know if you reached them? Make a business case, do your research, and make the scope clear. Be sure it aligns with the resources you have available, or that can be made available.
Make sure you get more than one quote if you are outsourcing any web development work. Jordyn mentioned that quotes ranged from $5,000 – $34,000. Work to understand what deliverables you will get and partnership at each price point. Plus, be realistic about the timeline to complete. For a larger undertaking, the revision can take months, perhaps even a year. Be clear with what you want when it comes to website revisions, including the go live date, and stick to it.
If you want to hear more about core web revisions that can make all the difference on your site, AAM members can check out the on-demand recording via the AAM Store.
About Christina Camara
Christina Camara is the managing editor of INSIDE Public Accounting, which publishes two award-winning publications: the IPA newsletter and the annual IPA National Benchmarking Report, along with in-depth reports focused on IT, HR, and firm administration.