Thursday, December 11, 2008

OnLine Attractiveness

One of the first things I examine when I'm working with a new client is their website. Check out these tips:

Star Attraction: Why Your Firm's Website Matters More than Ever

Make it Rain! A Column by Erica Stritch, General Manager

In our newest research report How Clients Buy: 2009 Benchmark Report on Professional Services Marketing and Selling from the Client Perspective we asked 200 buyers of professional services about the role the web plays in the purchasing process.

How important is a service provider's website? Very! And, it has gained influence since 2005…

  • 58% of buyers indicate they are "very" or "somewhat likely" to identify and learn more about service providers from their website.

  • 80% of buyers indicate that they typically visit the service provider's website before buying.

  • 83% of buyers report that the website holds at least "some influence" over their decision to engage in an initial discussion with that service provider (a significant increase from only 69% in 2005).

  • 74% of buyers said that the service provider's website holds at least "some influence" over their ultimate decision to buy services from the provider (a significant increase from only 51% in 2005).

With 80% of buyers visiting your site before deciding whether or not to contact you, and with websites greatly growing in influence since 2005 as to whether a prospect calls you or ultimately buys from you, the importance of your website cannot be overstated.

Think of your website as the hub for your marketing and thought leadership activities. No matter what marketing you are doing—direct mail, email, referral generation, PR, cold calling, etc.—it is driving buyers to your website.

Your website is the portal clients and prospects are using to learn more about your services, register for events, read articles and research, sign up for a newsletter, download a white paper, etc. It is the place they go to form an impression of you and interact with your brand.

Overall, your website can serve to:

  1. Establish that you are professional: through professional design, writing, and arrangement of content.

  2. Establish that you are worthy of consideration: through an overview of your services, your client list, biographies of your professionals, and case studies that show how you have helped clients and delivered on your promises to do what you said you would.

  3. Establish yourself as a thought leader: through articles, tools, publications, videos, and other resources to help build credibility, reliability, and trust—all essential elements necessary to win clients.

Marketing is a multi-step process and the first step 80% of buyers are making is to visit your website. What does your website say about you? Will these potential buyers like what they see and be interested enough to pick up the phone to start a discussion with you? Or, will they move on to your competitor's site and offerings?

And remember, RainToday...Dark by Midnight.

Erica Stritch
General Manager,

Editors note: This data and commentary is from RainToday’s hot off the presses research report, How Clients Buy: 2009 Benchmark Report on Professional Services Marketing and Selling from the Client Perspective. Order your copy of this report and learn which website elements are most important to buyers when deciding whether or not to contact a service provider as well as other factors buyers consider when searching for and choosing service providers.

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