Thursday, April 17, 2014

4 Functions A/E/C Websites Must Serve

By David Lecours, LecoursDesign
(This post is an excerpt from a longer post that originally appeared on LecoursDesign on March 19, 2014.)
If you have this nag­ging sense that your AEC firm web­site could be more than an online brochure, you’re right. The mod­ern web­site doesn’t sit idle wait­ing for the arrival of a vis­i­tor to sim­ply con­firm what they’ve already heard about your firm. When com­bined with nar­row posi­tion­ing and content/inbound mar­ket­ing, a good web­site becomes a busi­ness devel­op­ment tool.
If your firm is clearly and nar­rowly posi­tioned to attract a spe­cific audi­ence, then your web­site can reach and engage the unaware. These vis­i­tors may be poten­tial clients or employ­ees. Both are impor­tant to the suc­cess of your firm.

A ben­e­fit of know­ing your tar­get audi­ence is know­ing what keeps them up at night. Searchable and opti­mized con­tent on your web­site that soothes client pain points will increase your odds that unaware prospects find you. Once they find you, they will devour your con­tent because it seems like it was writ­ten just for them.
A main oppor­tu­nity is to attract the unaware: those who need your exper­tise but are unaware you exist or not con­sid­er­ing you.” –Mark O’Brien, Author of A Web­site That Works.
By reg­u­larly adding unique, expertise-based con­tent to your site, you will boost SEO. You begin to con­vey to Google who you are, which helps Google send the right vis­i­tors. The vis­i­tors like your con­tent because it feels cus­tomized for them. Then vis­i­tors start link­ing to your con­tent. Google notices this and increases your search rankings.
Demon­strate Exper­tise
A good web­site can allow some­one to get to know (as described above) to like to trust your firm. This hap­pens by demon­strat­ing your exper­tise in writ­ing. This can be blog posts, white papers or monthly newslet­ters. Make sure the con­tent is index­able (not a PDF), so Google, and vis­i­tors, can find it.
A com­mit­ment to reg­u­larly adding valu­able and search­able con­tent to your web­site demon­strates your exper­tise and works to pre-position your firm as a leader before the RFP comes out. Con­tent mar­ket­ing is so crit­i­cal for pro­fes­sional ser­vices because we are “sell­ing the invis­i­ble.” Buy­ers can’t see, touch, or test our ser­vices before they buy. Con­tent mar­ket­ing is a no pres­sure, non-sales man­ner for prospects to under­stand how you think, what you believe, and how you’ve solved pre­vi­ous problems.
Cre­at­ing engag­ing con­tent is hard to do. Most will give up after a few months. This is an oppor­tu­nity to stand out.
I rec­om­mend start­ing with writ­ing a blog. Then grad­u­ate to:
• quar­terly webi­nars
• white papers
• speak­ing where your clients gather
• videos 
& podcasts

The mantra I hear repeated is: A/E/C mar­ket­ing is a rela­tion­ship busi­ness. Peo­ple do busi­ness with peo­ple they know. Yet, I’m shocked how many firms are unwill­ing to high­light firm lead­ers on their web­site out of fear that this tal­ent will be poached. Guess what? Your com­pe­ti­tion already knows who your lead­ers are. If your lead­ers’ loy­alty is so frag­ile that an email from a com­peti­tor will cause them to jump ship, then you’ve got big­ger issues.

For more, see the original blog post.

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