How to Build a Better Consultancy Website
If you’re a consultant looking to market and monetise your know-how, having an effective website presence is vital. It’s the first-impression prospective customers form regarding every aspect of your service: how professional you are, how knowledgeable and whether you are a good fit for their needs – above all the other choices out there vying for their attention and money.
Building a better consultancy website
- WordPress. WordPress is more than a blogging platform, it’s also become the de facto choice for building most basic websites. It’s not only very easy to use, but it also offers ample features for customizing your consultancy website to your liking. Whilst there are many free WordPress themes, we recommend that you purchase a premium theme from a site like Themeforest and hire a freelancer on Upwork to adapt it to your requirements. The result is far more professional and can be customised to your specific requirements.
- Create a marketing plan. A marketing plan outlines what you’re offering and what problems you solve for your clients. In order to create the plan, you need an answer questions including but not limited to:
– Why are your services the best ones for your target audience?
– What does your target audience look like?
– Where can your target audience be found?
– What problems do you solve for your target market?
– Why should prospective customers use your services over a competitors?
- Invest in the visual side of your personal brand. People’s online attention span can be measured in seconds which is why your website needs to stand out visually. For that, you need to have a memorable name and a logo that capture the essence of your personal brand. Web design that provides great user experience is also important – the colour scheme, the clever use of white space, the font used, the position of the links, and many other visual features of your landing page – that improve your visitors’ experience and their impression of your site, you and your services. Once you have settled on a visual design, be sure to apply it consistently across your brand: always use the same logo, the same font, the same dimensions. Large companies take this very seriously – producing thick manuals for designers outlining every detail of how their brand should look, literally down to the pixel. The reason? They realise consistency is key to building a brand.
- Know what you’re offering, and to whom. Knowing what exactly your product can do for your specific audience is vital when you’re crafting your marketing messages. Being vague in a marketing message will do nothing for the trust you’re trying to earn with your potential audience – they want specific details about what your advice can help them with and why they should choose you specifically. These details need to be revealed on your website and customers shouldn’t have to work to figure out what you do.
- Simplify your service. Afraid of leaving money on the table, many consultants offer a wide range of services – too many. They throw in the kitchen sink as part of their offer under the false belief that the wider they cast their net, the more business they’ll attract. This isn’t true: generalist make less money than specialists – and trying to cater to everyone often results in an incomprehensible mess. If you can’t explain your service in one sentence so that a child can understand, you need to revisit that aspect of your marketing, strip back. Less is more, i.e. be a big fish in a small pond. Restricting the services you offer to boost profits is counter-intuitive, we agree, but it is often borne out in the real world. Yes, being a generalist may see an increase in your revenue but not your profits.
- Content that makes people trust your expertise. Written words are great, but in order to really get people to trust you, they should see you in action. Examples of good content include a free webinar where you demonstrate your expertise and let the audience see how you can help them. Another example is appearing as a guest expert on a podcast show or producing a YouTube video that solves a common problem for your audience. There are so many ways to demonstrate your expertise: write a book; produce an online course; speak at events; create a short video series. Don’t tell people how great you are, show them.
- Marketing across social media channels. There are many social media platforms out today, and each comes with a unique set of features, and therefore unique marketing opportunities. Take the time to brainstorm some ideas about marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or even classic e-mail newsletter. Chances are that you can use your existing content across most channels, but you have to re-format it and adapt to each one. Choose one channel to begin with and master that – this avoids overwhelm and prevents social media marketing becoming a time-suck.
- Capture emails. Have a way to capture visitors’ emails in exchange for a free incentive, e.g. a guide, a checklist, access to special content. Building your email list is arguably the most important and beneficial thing you can do to build your business. You’re creating an audience of potential customers that you can monetise repeatedly over time.
- Invest in your website’s look and design.
- Know what you’re offering and to whom.
- Demonstrate your expertise with high-value content.
- Capture visitors’ emails with a service like AWeber and LeadPages.
- Hire a freelance designer on Upwork to help you create a logo and website that complements the image you’re trying to project. Be open-minded – let them work. It makes little sense to hire a professional and then force them to design it how you (presumably a non-designer) would design it. A good designer can breathe life into your brand and bring it up-to-date.
- Make a list of the top 5 challenges/questions your clients repeatedly face. Make five short videos addressing each one. Upload these to YouTube. (You can host them on your own site but bear in mind that if your site becomes popular you may exceed/be charged for your hosting bandwidth. If you want to host your own videos, you’re better off using an online file storage service such as Amazon S3 which is far cheaper than storing large files with your hosting company. You would upload your videos to Amazon S3 and link to them on your site.)
- Create a lead magnet and build an email capture form for your site.