Interview with Website of the Month winner Lewis Peterson - Heart Internet Blog - Focusing on all aspects of the web

April’s Website of the Month winner was Lewis Peterson, a business development consultancy who specialise in tendering and procurement. We caught up with their Director of Business Development, Jamie Peterson to talk about the site's success, the importance of brand values, how to approach setting up a business website and more.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the Lewis Peterson website.

The team at Lewis Peterson combines over 30 years’ specialist experience in tendering and procurement with expertise in business development consultancy. The company is a new one, and so our website has been running only for a few months. It is targeted at businesses that aim to win work competitively through PQQs and tenders, and organisations that procure services by putting work out to tender – two sides of the same coin. We help businesses with their bidding for public sector and private contracts, and help client organisations to manage and run their procurement process.

How have you used your website to make yourself stand out from other bidding and procurement specialists?

We certainly hope our website stands out from those offering similar bidding and procurement services! We like to think its logical structure, easy navigability, direct approach and straightforward language make the difference. Plus, of course, the interesting articles that appear on our blog, which cover trends, events and developments in tendering, procurement and business development.

The About Us section of your site lists your professional values. How do you think these values have helped you online?

They have helped by getting us to focus on giving our customers an honest deal and delivering the best value for money we can in terms of quality and commitment. The values we highlight on our site – authenticity, honesty, integrity and pace – matter as much to our clients as to ourselves, and we believe they are the principles our customers look for when seeking advisers on bidding and tendering.

Who did you work with to design your website and why did you choose them?

We created the website in-house. One of our team happens to be a highly talented web designer among other skills, so we were able to give the site exactly the style and impact we wanted. A key design challenge was to accommodate side-by-side our three areas of activity – the work we do for companies bidding with PQQs and tenders, the procurement assistance we give to client organisations, and our consulting work with businesses helping them become tender-ready and grow their markets. We’ll probably fine-tune the design further, but we hope the site as it stands is an effective solution.

How would you describe the process of defining the site’s look and feel?

It has been a labour of love and perseverance. We arrived quickly at the broad design but then spent time adapting it and sorting out the details to make sure the website conveyed accurately its intended message. We want people looking for help with tendering, procurement and business development to feel at home on our website and to know they’ve reached the right place for good advice.

You’re quite active across Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. Can you explain why you chose to use these channels and how they help your online approach?

If you are a new company it is essential to establish your presence in the market rapidly and effectively. Obviously it is important that as many potential customers as possible know about our tendering and procurement services, so we need to project our message as widely as we can by taking full advantage of the power and versatility of social media and the influence they have on market penetration and customer choice.

Your website contains plenty of reviews and quotes from highly satisfied clients. How do you think this has helped your success?

By presenting evidence of the quality of our performance and the success that our PQQ and tendering work has achieved. We’re proud that we’ve been useful to so many customers who have stayed with us and given us a high percentage of repeat business. As everyone knows, there is no more persuasive marketing than the word of a satisfied customer.

What advice would you give to someone who is just about to create a website for their business?

Put yourself from the start in the customer’s place. Think hard about how you will get traffic to your site, where your visitors will land, and what action you want them to take when they’ve got there. Tell people who your site is for and what you can do for them so that the visitors you are targeting know immediately that the site is for them.

Focus each page of the site on the action you want from them. Use clear signposts and uncomplicated navigation. Make it easy for them to use the site to get the information they need. This is critically important in a business-to-business website that is targeted at a broad variety of customers and spans a wide spectrum of activities. Build CRM capability into the site so that you know who your visitors are, how long they spent on the site, and what they looked at.

Why did you choose to host your website with Heart Internet?

After researching a fair number of hosting options, we chose Heart Internet because your professional values match our values, and because we know that quality, reliability and efficiency matter to you. We fully endorse what other businesses say about your services – excellent support, reliable and leading-edge hosting technology, and great value for money.

How would you like to see your business develop in the future?

We want to expand each of our main areas of activity – bidding, procurement and consulting – so as to strengthen our position in the market and remain our customers’ number one choice. We already have experience of PQQs and tenders in a large number of business sectors, and we’d like to extend this work into new and emerging fields of bidding and procurement. Our consulting activity is another area that we are keen to develop so as to help companies start up, establish their place in the market and build sustained long-term growth. Our online presence will be the backbone of our future development, and so it’s good to know we can look to the future confidently with Heart Internet as our online partner.

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