Web design tips for consulting company websites

Website and inbound marketing strategy

Many consulting companies are plagued with websites that do not generate leads and poorly represent their brands. For many consulting companies, the company website performed some very critical roles, including lead generation, brand visibility, acts as a central hub for all marketing efforts, trust-building, prospect due-diligence, recruiting, as well as acts as the primary gauge for measuring the ROI of marketing efforts–online and off. This article provides a few, specific web design tips for consulting companies.

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Tell your story and make it short.
Your story is important, but visitors have little patience. Spend time making your company story interesting, punctual and easy to read. Don’t bore readers. Your “company” or “about” page will possibly be one of the highest read pages on the website. Most likely you won’t have many other opportunities to convert visitors, if you lose them on this page.

What is your specialization?
Your specialization is one of the clearest and most dynamic ways to set your consulting firm a part from competition. Define your specialization. Don’t water down your edge by trying to appeal to everyone equally–this derides your value. Be specific. Your specialties are your best lead generation tools.

  • Articulate your offerings
  • Provide an overview
  • Provide context: examples, whitepapers, pain-points

What makes your organization hot? Talent vs. system.
What makes your organization hot? Do you have a team of all-stars? Or, has your organization developed a signature system or formula that creates winning solutions for clients. Showcase what sets your organization a part from competition. Don’t bury this content.

Make it visual, clear and memorable
Don’t put your website design through a committee decision process. This will sterilize the design of all those things that make it memorable, special and interesting. With design, be clear and take a stance, visually. If you hire a designer and like their work, then trust your instincts and guide them. Make sure your designer understands what makes your company special–what makes it stand out.

Call to action: design for marketingClear calls-to-action
In order to generate leads, you must provide clear calls-to-action (CTAs).  Experiment with language, placement and offers to maximize the return on each section of the website. The calls-to-action inside a company blog, for instance, may be very different than the CTAs inside the solutions section or on a whitepaper download page. By tweaking and optimizing CTAs throughout the website, you will be able to drive up engagement rates and generate more leads.

Content management
Your website should have a publishing system that allows making updates and adding content easy.  Your choice of content management system will depend on the complexity and frequency of your publishing schedule, complexity of your web page content, traffic demands, integration needs and the number of authors–to name a few factors. The important point here is that your website has a solid publishing system in place, as content should be at the heart of your marketing efforts. Some common CMSs include:

  • WordPress CMS
  • Drupal
  • Umbraco
  • Refinery CMS

Content: frequent and specific
Create great content that is specific in it’s subject and is useful to prospects. Create content of different types to provide an interesting diversity to your website. Consider effective case studies, webinars, factsheets, videos, recorded lectures, information graphics and models. Content is a marketing and sales tool–especially if it is helpful, intriguing or useful to visitors.

Quick check-list for website marketing

  • SEO: Does your site perform well for organic search? Plan an SEO strategy that includes content creation, blogging, keyword strategy and defining organic landing pages.
  • Do you have clearly defined KPIs (key performance indicators) to track progress with website marketing
  • Do you have an automation or re-engagement strategy. For B2B marketing, email and social subscriptions can play a large role in lead nurturing. Email marketing can improve conversion rates.
  • Content strategy: Examples of B2B marketing content and collateral. Examples include the SEO content defined above, lead nurturing content (emails, reports, etc), sales collateral and customer service content.
  • Set up measurement tools: Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, etc. Your ability to establish KPIs will be based on your tracking and measurement capabilities. Ironpaper uses a range of tools to track multiple dimensions of a campaign and gather actionable data.
  • Thought-leadership: Use content, social media, press, events and presentations to establish your organization’s credibility. Not all firms will be able to take the time to write a book. There are other ways to establishing credibility. For example, participating in an online community (social network) by sharing knowledge and being helpful. Thought-leadership builds brand visibility for B2B enterprises.

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Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.