Websites that Attract Interest
Most professional services firms have invested in creating a website to showcase their firm and convey messages to target audiences. It is interesting to look at the various sites and make comparisons. An effective website makes it easy for the visitor to find what they seek quickly. Characteristics of effective websites are as follows:
• Useful, original and compelling content that benefits the reader -content is king.
• Ease of navigation - user-friendly simplicity is key and a good experience gives visitors an insight to your firm's culture.
• Interactive - people want an enjoyable experience, enabling the sharing of information through blogs, forums, etc.
• Simple, professional, design - clear fonts, careful use of colour, with a mix of multimedia like images, graphics, video and text to convey messages.
• Speed - most people are short of time, so your webpage should load in seconds to avoid losing visitors.
• Links - creating relevant, active links is important as search engines will pick these up. Links can be added to directories in Google, Linkedln and Yahoo.
• Management - websites require constant vigilance - any link that fails to open will deter a visitor, content needs regular refreshing, and enquiries need to be tracked and followed up. Most website owners have a dedicated manager and some have a supporting digitally focused team.
Advertising and Digital Media Channels
In recent years the restrictions on advertising by the professions have been relaxed. In today's dynamic markets, an investment in media advertising is likely to be substantial. Such activity is therefore usually reserved for specific situations, for example:
• supporting a marketing campaign;
• promoting a change of positioning of the firm;
• raising the firm's profile in a particular sector or geographical area;
• announcing a merger or acquisition;
Many firms are now advertising in digital media, such as websites, using 'banner' ads that are far less costly than those in the national press. The benefit of using the web and social media is the ability to elicit and track response. When people open a webpage, it is possible to track how long they spend on the site and which pages are viewed. This is a far more effective use of funds.
Articles and Magazines
The placement of articles in the national, regional or trade press is still considered an effective way of attracting interest from prospective Clients. Some firms aim to create a series of articles and offering these exclusively to a particular journal or newspaper. These can raise the profile of the firm, show its particular expertise and generate new sales leads for follow-up. Articles can also be featured in websites with links to other material for those wishing to seek out more information.
Many firms publish magazines filled with articles of interest to specific audiences. These can feature interviews with well-known business figures, entrepreneurs, Clients and targets. Magazines also enable firms to display something about their culture. These are becoming digital in format, enabling access and navigation to relevant materials via mobile technology.
Conferences and Other Events
Professional services firms often participate in conferences and seminars to raise their profile and attract new Clients. Some firms invite loyal Clients to speak on a topical issue or to join a speaker panel. This form of relationship building can also be extended to target Clients who may be willing to participate. Many firms wishing to raise their profile in the regions may establish a series of seminars in the firm of a road show that can involve local Clients and targets. Webinars are becoming popular, enabling audiences to attend seminars without leaving their desks.