Visitors to your website – especially those who might become clients – are there with a purpose. An agenda. They have a number of questions that they need answers to… and if you don’t answer them properly (or answer them at all), the visitors will simply move on to the next potential vendor.
To make sure that doesn’t happen at your firm, here are the 5 questions your website must answer:
#1. What do you do?
You’d think this would be on every website – and it usually is – but often, it’s not as clear as it needs to be. The website has too much complex and confusing language or lots of technical jargon. Stop that and speak in plain, simple English. If your 12-year-old daughter can’t understand it, it’s no good.
Beyond that, it ought to be the first thing a site visitor sees on your home page. Call it a headline, subhead or tag line… it ought to be right there when someone lands on your home page.
Also, if you have an area (or areas) of specialty, make sure they are spelled-out on your site, as well. This also helps to answer question #4 below.
#2. Who do you do it for?
Your visitors want to know that they won’t be “guinea pigs” if they select your firm as a vendor. They want to know that you’ve done what you do for other firms like theirs.
So, make sure you answer this question by highlighting the vertical industries you work in, the markets you serve, the kinds of companies you help or the actual clients you’ve done business with.
#3. What problems do you solve?
Remember, your clients don’t have research problems…. they have business problems that they need research to help solve. So be sure to talk in those terms.
It’s certainly OK to talk about your capabilities (see #1 above), but make sure you also talk about how you help clients with concept testing, improving customer satisfaction or bringing new products to market, etc.
#4. What makes you different than all the other similar vendors?
This is the one question that most firms don’t answer… and yet, it’s the one that can have the most positive impact with potential buyers.
Ideally, you should have a separate page on your site called “How we’re different” or “Why hire us”… and then spell it out. What do you do that’s different, special or unique? If you can’t answer that question, you’ll be lumped in with every other similar firm and the likelihood of being selected is dramatically decreased.
Hint: saying that you “do great work and have great people” is NOT a differentiator. Everybody says that!
#5. How do I know you can do what you say you can do?
If a new potential client is going to do business with you, they are ostensibly “taking a chance” with your firm… a scary proposition for them. How can you mitigate that fear? The answer… proof sources.
Make sure your site includes things like a list of clients, testimonials and case studies. Even content, in general, is a proof source. For example, if you blog frequently about a particular topic, it shows you know a lot about that topic. That is, it’s proof of your expertise.
So, as you critique your website, remember to put yourself in the shoes of potential buyers. Understand the questions they’re asking and answer them in a way that will resonate with them. Don’t just tell them what… but also why.
Tip: With your own firm, sometimes it’s difficult to take an objective approach when reviewing your website. If that’s the case, ask a friend, neighbor or (better yet) a few clients.