Context: An agency CEO reached out to me on LinkedIn to ask if I was interested in doing consulting work. I started the relationship with a month-to-month retainer where I provided value shop services, and traditional consulting and design. This outlines one of the several projects we worked on together.
Conversations: I began the relationship establishing a feedback loop for ongoing dialogue between myself and the agency CEO. I did a lot of listening and asking questions. I learned about the agency culture, existing products and services, current clients, areas of friction, and developed a trusting relationship with the CEO.
Through our conversations, we discovered challenges and potential opportunities.
- agency wants a sustainable solution to provide website design services to asset managers (current projects take 3-6 months)
- the agency needs to build a custom events section for an asset manager, but the main company website is built on Hubspot
- a team member on the asset management company asked, “How do we keep track of the most up-to-date versions of the assets you create for us?”
- agency wants an improved visual design of the recent ebook created for the asset manager
I reviewed the methodology being implemented for asset managers to distribute investment vehicles to registered investment advisors (RIA) and discovered that it was leveraging a mostly outbound approach. There were email blasts to large databases of potentially interested advisors, but the advisors didn’t know who the asset manager was until receiving an email.
The three challenges listed above were solved through a microsite strategy. We didn’t need to touch the main company website and were able to setup a series of microsites on subdomains that maintained consistent branding and solved the pain-points listed above.
Using WordPress Multisite, I created a base microsite based on the minimum elements the agency would need for the asset manager’s microsites. For each microsite we launched, I clicked ‘clone’ on the base microsite to automatically setup a new microsite on a subdomain, quickly added the functionality we needed, and shared it with the asset manager’s team.
Lean Website Launch
Traditional web design is broken. I implemented a lean launch process with a one-page website that looks and performs better than the current site. Through an empathy mapping exercise, conversations with the asset manager, and market research I came up with a more precise framing of the value proposition as well.
Rather than losing 3-6 months on a comprehensive website project focused on the asset manager, I launched a lean site in one hour that speaks to the asset manager’s client’s pain-points. By monitoring the analytics of the one-page site, the agency would be in a position to make data-driven improvements overtime.
I cloned the base microsite to launch an events microsite for the asset manager to host webinars, luncheons, and various due diligence events. Once we launched the site for the asset manager I quickly noticed how frequent communication took place between asset manager and the agency who hired me. Anytime the asset manager had an update to event or if they wanted to add a new event they would contact the agency. This kept all parties in the weeds working in the businesses rather than on the businesses.
This was a latent, unmet need that neither parties realized a better solution existed. Fortunately, I had autonomy in the relationship to innovate products to solve problems as I discovered them. In this case, I created a page titled “Add Event”, embedded a front-end form including form fields corresponding with the appropriate data required to post a new event, and connected the form submission data to automatically post the front-end of the microsite. This allowed the asset manager to have complete autonomy over adding new events and removed the agency from creating any friction.
This was a quick design project during the larger project. I designed the new ebook cover for the asset manager.
In response to the asset manager requesting help around managing up-to-date versions, I rapidly prototyped a microsite to include the microservices we had built thus far, the design assets the agency had been creating, and a central hub for the updates I was writing that were sent to the asset manager internal team, and advisory board. This hub is live on the web.
Everything the asset manager needed could now be found in one place. Digital asset management, internal updates and news, cultural insights on the company, leadership messages, and the CEO reached out to me requesting that we setup a time for him to record a podcast to release on Mondays for the team. It was a magical experience to be apart of this transformation. We started on a phone call with eight people talking about sales and marketing tasks to intentionally designing a culture that was finding its way towards cohesion.