Should You Include A People Section In Your Website?

By David Lecours

website_people_enterHav­ing a “Peo­ple” sec­tion on your web­site is essen­tial. Peo­ple do busi­ness with peo­ple they know. So it con­tin­ues to sur­prise me that there is any ques­tion about includ­ing your peo­ple on your web­site. A/E/C mar­ket­ing is built on rela­tion­ships. While client prospects can have a rela­tion­ship with your brand, this best occurs after an intro­duc­tion by your peo­ple. In this dig­i­tal age, prospects want a human con­nec­tion before con­sid­er­ing hir­ing your firm.

Includ­ing Peo­ple on your web­site inspir­ers a lot of ques­tions. In this post, I’ll answer those I’m asked most frequently.

Who should we include in our Peo­ple sec­tion? Those in your firm with client con­tact. Typ­i­cally this means Project Man­agers and above, plus every­one in Mar­ket­ing and Busi­ness Development.

What if these peo­ple leave our firm? Then you take them off your web­site using your con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem. This is trick­ier if you have group pho­tos. If the group photo is of 4 or more peo­ple, and one of them leaves, then keep the photo. After all, the per­son leav­ing did work at the firm at the time of the photo.

Won’t our com­peti­tors steal our best employ­ees? Your com­peti­tors already know who your best employ­ees are. See­ing your staff on your web­site isn’t going to make them any more desir­able. Your employ­ees are already on LinkedIn. They should also be vis­i­ble in the indus­try by devel­op­ing rela­tion­ships. Keep­ing employ­ees off your web­site to pre­vent them from leav­ing the firm is a myth. Try­ing to hide staff from com­pet­i­tive preda­tory poach­ing does more harm than good.

website_groupShould we include people’s pho­tos? Yes. Human beings like to look peo­ple in the eyes to get to know them. Adding a face to a biog­ra­phy makes that per­son real, more authen­tic and approach­able when a prospec­tive client sees that per­son at a net­work­ing event. Nobody expects your staff to be super­mod­els, so don’t worry about peo­ple being them pho­to­genic enough.

Cor­po­rate head­shot or casual Fri­day pho­tos? Both. Pro­vide sev­eral pho­tos to com­mu­ni­cate a person’s diver­sity. Ulti­mately, photo style depends on the cul­ture of your firm. Or even more impor­tantly, the cul­ture of your tar­get clients.

What about video? If a photo is a thou­sand words, then video is 10,000. Video is a pow­er­ful way to com­mu­ni­cate what some­one will be like to work with. It pro­vides a great oppor­tu­nity to tell that person’s story. Not every­one is com­fort­able speak­ing on cam­era like Ron Bur­gundy. But there are other options. Try voice-over with project pho­tos or favorite things com­bined as a slideshow. Stal­wart PR clev­erly used video of employ­ees talk­ing about the strengths of their co-workers. Think video tes­ti­mo­nial, but instead of com­ing from a client (which isn’t bad either), the praise comes from co-workers.

Should we include a bio? I pre­fer a short intro­duc­tion to the per­son with the abil­ity to “Read More” or down­load a PDF Bio. The down­load can be help­ful for team­ing sce­nar­ios. Sim­ply list­ing a person’s achieve­ments like a resume is dull. I rec­om­mend a story with more of a nar­ra­tive arc to make an emo­tional con­nec­tion. Another tech­nique I’ve used effec­tively is an inter­view for­mat like you’d see in a mag­a­zine. You include cus­tom ques­tions per per­son, and fea­ture their best answers (as seen below in the Ran­dall Lamb site LecoursDesign created).

rl_people

What should we call this sec­tion? Call it some­thing con­sis­tent with the cul­ture of your firm. You can be clever, but not cryp­tic. It should be easy for vis­i­tors to find this sec­tion as part of your top-level nav­i­ga­tion. I’ve seen this sec­tion titled as Peo­ple, Team, Staff, Lead­ers, About Us (I’d reserve this title for about the firm), Lead­er­ship, Tal­ent, Man­age­ment, etc.

Hav­ing a Peo­ple sec­tion on your web­site is another great tool for prospects to get to know, like, and trust your peo­ple, and thus, your firm.

Going Further

If this topic, A/E/C Firm Websites, interests you, then we recommend registering for our upcoming Educational Workshop on Oct. 23: The New Wave of A/E/C Firm Websites and Digital Marketing. This master class taught by David Lecours and Josh Miles shares how the new wave of websites are:

  1. business development tools, not just online brochures
  2. optimized for all screen sizes (desktop to mobile)
  3. the hub of a healthy digital marketing ecosystem.

More Info and Registration

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David W. Lecours Creative Director | LecoursDesign | phone  760.632.7619
Brand Strategy for AEC Firms
 | http://www.lecoursdesign.com/
Recently Designed Sites: http://www.randalllamb.com/  http://www.ktua.com/  http://www.mwalleng.com/

 

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One comment on “Should You Include A People Section In Your Website?
  1. If you have any questions on this topic, or others related to A/E/C firm websites and digital marketing, bring them to the workshop on October 23.

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