If you ask any recent college graduate how they get the majority of their information, they will probably tell you from online blogs. Press releases and newspapers are dying mediums and corporations that self publish quality news and information on weblogs will be at the top of mind and the center of awareness. It may even make you cool.
Professional service firms in consulting, IT, law, and accounting, need more than brochureware Web. These are usurped replaced by a new generation of web 2.0 sites (accurate, but not my favorite term) consisting of blogs, forums, tagging, RSS syndication, and expert opinion that create virtual business communities that attract and retain active users and clients.
The Bloom Group, a Boston-based market research organization found most business websites left buyers struggling to find details of their firms’ expertise and experience, and most sites failed to provide prospects an avenue to open a dialogue about their business problems.
Tips to serve active business seekers
- Provide more context for your content
- Implement guideposts – provide clear navigation instrucion locations and a large contact button on every page
- Use external credibility indicators and provide 3rd party reinforcement through testimonials, seals (BBB, trust-e, epinions, powerreviews)
- Contact forms & phone number are essential – prominently display a toll free phone number and address so visitors know you are accessible, open, and friendly. Companies that do not publish contact details loose trust.
Create compelling video and audio content to demonstrate your expertise and strengths as a business leader. Webinars, newsletters, forums and blogs provide new opportunities to engage with prospective clients and allow informal engagement before a contract is signed or service plan purchased. Give users and clients the ability to control when and where they interact with resources and information on your site.
Smaller firms who take risks and provide information freely to prospective clients have seen this gamble pay for itself. A large company, has extra resources to attract more business, but is too slow to react to changes and generally too conservative to provide helpful information at no charge. Information wants to be free, and the websites that provide it will reap all the rewards.
Google started off as a 100% free service, with no advertising and they have parlayed a quality service and user trust into a 200 billion company.
Muzeview research firm in New York surveyed the top 50 accounting firm websites in the U.S. and U.K. The CPA websites had copious text, newsletters, briefings, thought leadership surveys, case studies, and event invitations. The majority did not use audio, video, social networking, blogs and other interactive capabilities. Only 4 of the U.S. websites studied included podcasts or RSS feeds, 2 had blogs, 11 provided a podcast or video content.
Here is a huge opportunity to get in the top of mind with younger, tech savvy users.
Get new customers, get better search engine rankings, get noticed: get a blog.