Bill Dotson called out a great article about professional service firms. It’s spot on about how such firms approach their website. They want the partners in the firm to like it – after all, partners agree on the marketing budget, so why not get them involved in the design? Surely someone who works day-in and day-out in a given industry is the best one to help design the site? Well, sortof.
The trouble here is intuition in this area is very flawed. How web surfers will react to your site is hard to know in advance. It’s always nice to have a web designer and SEM who knows something about what to expect in terms of lead generation and PR value of any site, but in the end, customers will tell you exactly what is right and wrong with their actions.
What types of things are your professional service customers wanting to see on your site on their first visit?
What types of online services should you offer to keep people coming back and enhancing your reputation?
What landing page content does the best job obtaining new customers from other firms?
The most experienced person on staff is probably the one who can help a lot with goal setting and priorities – but possibly not pixel tweaking. Having a professional assist you with the definition of that goal, analytics to measure progress, and a good suite of testing solutions rounds out the approach.
The good news is that many professional service firms are full of people who are analytical and who want to please the customer – so the testing mechanism makes sense.
The bad news is that most web designers are selling emotions to the staff to win the bid at any cost.