Responsive agency website overhaul to better serve new business and pitch consultants in order to generate quality leads
When I first approached our President to redesign our website in early 2019, we weren’t starting off with a terrible site. The site looked great, had some really thoughtful micro interactions, and attracted the kind of design and development talent we were looking for. But over the winter of 2018-2019, I’d been listening to a lot of podcasts on new business development (mostly 2Bobs and Newfangled), and I knew we were failing our audience of potential clients and pitch consultants.
From my experience with usability testing, I knew our site didn’t stand a chance to pass a ten second impression test. For example, the home page led with the headline “100+ friends on a mission to do great work.” The full screen carousel then rotated to a work-based slide. So within a few seconds on the site, the audience is left wondering, "Wait, what does this company do, exactly? And why are they on a mission to do great work? Shouldn’t they just be doing great work?” Not a great first impression.
Despite some internal business leaders’ suggestion that the site “was not a lead generation tool for the business” (yes, they really said that), I knew we could do better. By addressing a few key content gaps, we could do a lot more to address the needs of potential clients and pitch consultants. Namely, we needed to be clear about the fact that we were an integrated agency, based in Nashville, with a clear list of our services. Simple stuff that often gets lost when marketers get too inside their own heads.
As I was doing a lot of listening to Newfangled, Blair Enns, and David C. Baker, I also spearheaded a campaign to get more purposeful content published on our blog. Prior to this, our content strategy was nonexistent, our publication rhythm was sporadic, and the results were predictably embarrassing. We identified a few things that we’d want potential future clients to know about us, or ways to set their expectations about what it would be like to work with us. We promoted these articles to the homepage, contact us page, blog, and through our monthly newsletter.
Although I originally guided the team to avoid a full brand redesign—believing our current visual direction was strong, and knowing the delays this would cause to the initial launch—but as time went on it became clear that this was the right opportunity to revise some elements of our identity.
Aside from the brand work, I directed the generation of new content across the board to support the new site: updated culture and video reels, new headshots for all employees, copy to detail our business approach, services explained, and more.
Despite advocating for an iterative approach with many of our digital clients, we didn’t often get the chance to work that way due to clients viewing digital project launches as one-time upfront investments. And truth be told, the agency had a bit of a pattern of working that way as well. After all, the previous site had barely been touched in two years.
One of the things I’m most proud of on this project is changing the agency mindset around the website from a one-time investment to an ongoing investment. We established dedicated resources who met regularly, established a product roadmap, worked in sprints with regular reviews, and began regularly releasing updates. These iterative improvements focused on enhanced content, improving animation and motion design, one example of which is seen below.