Your firm does really, really great work. You know it, your employees know it, and your clients also know it and advocate for it. That’s great. In addition, your firm’s built up a portfolio on its website to share that past work. That’s also great. Most A/E firms are pretty good at sharing their past portfolio of work through the web. (So, much so, that most firms tend to over-rely on the work they’ve done in marketing themselves).
That said, there are still opportunities to improve. In fact, for most firms, we see 2 critical areas for improvement.
Better portfolios is 1 of 7 trends driving A/E firm websites. To learn more about what you can do to bring their website into the future, download our eBook, The A/E Firm Website of 2015.
#1 Improve Portfolio Management
Probably the biggest opportunity for improvement in most firms is simply the way we actually manage the portfolio itself. A good project profile pulls data from lots of different places (and people) in the firm. The fact is, data is spread across the organization in a somewhat chaotic way. Improving the means by which we manage that information is improvement opportunity #1. Leading edge firms use a variety of technologies to do this:
- Digital Asset Management systems (such as those provided by Axomic) are great places to house all that wonderful project photography you commissioned for a pretty penny. Yet, you find yourselves turning around and republishing those same images to your public-facing website.
- The details of the project, the primary people and the key industry partners often reside within the firm’s CRM; yet all that information is re-edited and re-published to the website.
- Leading edge firms recognize that connecting these internal systems to their public-facing website improves productivity and reduces errors — they’re either connecting these systems together with the help of some good developers or they’re doing it through existing platforms like Synthesis with its “push to publish” functionality.
- Connecting these systems together frees you up to focus on other improvements to your site since you’ll spend less time managing and updating information in multiple places every time there is a change or addition.
#2 Enhance User Experience
Most firms could also stand to improve the user experience with their portfolio and do a better job of leveraging it in the context of the site to make it more valuable from a marketing perspective. Is your firm’s portfolio of work linked to its content marketing efforts, making it more impactful and guiding your prospects through the buying process? Here are a few things you can be doing with your portfolio to make it more useful to your clients and more effective for you:
- Connect your project profiles with relevant thought leadership so users can relate your work to your firm’s unique perspective.
- Layout your project profiles like short stories (between 1k-2k words), bringing to light your client’s and your firm’s objectives, as well as the design thinking and tangible outcomes of the work.
- Include client and employee perspectives from all levels to humanize the work and your clients’ experiences. Don’t be afraid to talk about the pitfalls you faced in the project — where did things go wrong and how did you fix them? It’s the experience of working with your firm that’s important to late stage buyers.
- Use videos. Tell the stories of your firm’s work with simplicity, relevancy and impact through the use of high quality multimedia.
Better portfolios is one of the seven trends driving A/E firm web experiences. To access all seven, download our eBook, The A/E Firm Website of 2015.