When the faucet stops working, some people call a plumber. Others decide to save money by going the DIY route—watching YouTube videos and trying to fix the problem themselves. Maybe they do a great job, maybe they flood the bathroom, but more often it’s something in between: the faucet works, but the water pressure is lower and there’s an ominous banging sound.
When small businesses take a DIY approach to their online presence—writing copy, choosing colors, even designing their own logo—the end result might be awful or, now and again, quite good. More often those DIY efforts are “good enough for now.”
Small business owners often take this DIY approach because they feel their budget can’t cover the cost of hiring an expert, but if you’ve failed to explain your offerings clearly, made aesthetic choices that lack polish, or failed to create a cohesive message, then you’re losing business at the end of the day. Then the cost of “good enough for now” can far exceed the cost of hiring experienced professionals.
Moving Beyond DIY
Take the case of Julie Pinkerton, Founder and CEO of ClientFirst: when Julie came to us, she had built a DIY landing page to promote the ClientFirst digital platform, which connects independent financial advisors with people in related financial fields like insurance and taxes. She knew the DIY option wasn’t an ideal or permanent solution, but after the design firms she approached told her they couldn’t complete a site in time for the ClientFirst launch date, she buckled up, took a crash course in WordPress, and built her landing page as a stopgap until she could have a comprehensive site built.
But we don’t want to just tell you our experience. Let’s hear from Julie to get the whole picture. Here’s how the testimonial she wrote for us begins:
As a start-up entrepreneur with a big vision, I was happy with my landing page but acknowledged that I needed the support of marketing experts for a permanent solution. I also knew what I wanted my site to evoke and wanted to create a more succinct message.
Julie had an informative landing page, an interesting logo, and a solid vision for her company. From her point of view, she was most of the way there. She believed that she had a complete brand and messaging to match, a logo she liked, and a good explanation of what she was selling. She knew more expertise was needed to bring it all together, but she also felt she was on the final leg of the journey and the website was simply one last piece to complete.
We saw things a little differently. Julie had made a good start, but we saw where further work could elevate her early efforts to the sophistication that she desired. To connect with the audience she was targeting—advisors on the enterprise level—she would need a more refined logo, a clearer brand voice, and a unified design that better conveyed the quality of her high-end offering.
Taking a Step Back Before Leaping Forward
Clients don’t want to hear that their hard work hasn’t gotten them as far as they might have thought, and Julie wasn’t initially excited at the prospect of holding off on the website design until we’d completed more branding work. She was wary, having felt misled by other firms’ branding pitches. But once she’d spoken with someone we’d worked with closely and gained a sense of trust in us, she agreed she would need to work with us on a full brand experience to create the online presence and website she pictured in her head.
More from Julie:
Advisor Roots took time to listen—a rarity these days—and ushered me through their signature branding process while always keeping my goals and objectives in mind. Re-creating a brand alongside Advisor Roots created the more concise message I desired, conveying the value of the ClientFirst community platform and allowing me to hone in on the priorities of my business. One of my struggles was with the cozy relationship I had with some of the words I’d been using to describe my business. Fresh and Ben took care to hear me and listen to the ideas and concepts around my business vision to distill them into a more easily digestible message.
We love clients who can clearly express their services and values. We understand their pride in what they’ve created and how painful it can be to have to recalibrate their carefully crafted message. That kind of letting go can be painful even when it’s going to help them.
Raising the Bar: Fulfilling and Perfecting the Vision
To present ClientFirst as the high-value brand it is, we needed to reassess the design and copy and deal with gaps in security and compliance that undercut a message of competence and effectiveness.
First, we discussed the work Julie had already done, acknowledging everything that worked and gently guiding her to clarify her value proposition and offerings. Our years of experience with her target audience gave us the ability to refine her messaging to more strongly resonate with her desired clients.
We also worked to understand the core of Julie’s brand and sensibility. When we began work on the new ClientFirst color scheme, Julie showed the website team a collage of photos that resonated with her. We asked questions about the elements in the collage and why they were important to her, and we learned that she particularly loved jewel tones and the concept of peacock colors. It was initially a surprise since her landing page design was mostly neutral and earth tones and didn’t at all reflect her own color preferences.
Julie says: The impact of Advisor Roots re-branding my website has been immediate. I’m still floating on the clouds thinking about what they’ve done for me in building a business in service to the financial advising industry. The corporate identity, visual branding, website design development, and increased brand visibility have created a new conversation around the ClientFirst community and expanded my audience as I hoped.
When you have to go deeper than a client expected, it’s important to bring them with you every step of the way. It might take some discussion before they understand why some things need to be done differently, but at the end of the project, they feel the journey was worth it. And that’s important.
If you’re curious to see the results, take a look for yourself.
The Finale: A Successful Outcome, with More to Come
We’re happy that Julie recognizes the success of our collaboration, and we thank her for all her hard work. We also thank her for the great testimonial, which ends like this:
Working with Fresh and Ben proved not only the value of branding overall but the value of branding with Advisor Roots.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how our process helps our clients to uplevel their brand and achieve the most effective results, take a look at The Advisor Roots Agency page on our website and how we work with qualified professionals to get the amazing results for clients like Julie. If you’re interested in working with our agency, you can submit a project request and we’ll be in touch!