Launching our “pièce de résistance”
Our improved Advice Cloud website is now live. Our Marketing Manager Emina gives you the low down and a little clue as to what’s next.
Welcome to the improved Advice Cloud website
When I called our developers last week and no one picked up the phone, I had visions of them frantically jumping for cover. It’s been a few months since we kicked of our website planning and A LOT has happened. But today FINALLY we launch our “pièce de résistance,” the new and improved Advice Cloud website… and our developers survived!
The changes are paving the way for our newest business venture. The clue is on the website but we’ll tell you a bit about it here as well. You can be sure we will be shouting about that one later! For now, just a few words on how it all went and what’s in store next.
Usability is about people
One of my all-time favourites, Steve Krug, once said:
Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology
That’s exactly where we started with our website development and where I would recommend everyone starts.
We gathered the team together for a whole day and armed with lots of coffee and post-its, began thinking about who exactly these people are, who is our website is meant to serve? We developed 6 user personas. Three for our Supplier visitors and three for Buyers. To do this we used our Google Analytics data but also looked at our current clients and drew commonalities that can inform our planning.
We also asked ourselves who we are, what do we stand for and what success looks like for us? Now these are some hard questions. We are a young organisation, 3 years old, and only recently have we started really building our team. We can’t say we have it all figured out but we certainly have a good idea. Knowing yourselves, I would argue, is just as important as knowing your audience – in website development and in business in general. It allows you to build your brand with credibility. You cannot expect your clients or prospects to believe in you if your employees don’t.
A public sector procurement consultant walks into a bar…
So we had our user personas and we agreed on a set of beliefs that define us as an organisation. That’s all great. But how to translate this onto an online space? You must have heard the old “write for people not for search engines” proverb. Well, after an audit of the old site we saw that our content didn’t always reflect our company voice. And as we discovered, it’s important to us that our clients and our prospects know us as people.
I have worked for over eight years in marketing and never in my career have I had a tougher content nut to crack. Back when I started working for Advice Cloud we agreed our company voice as: expert, friendly and witty. Brilliant, we are all these things. But public sector procurement translated in online content often retains just the first, it is heavily expert. Making it witty and friendly was the challenge. This new website is definitely a step in the right direction.
New content and our voice
Armed with knowing who we are and who our audience is we gave our content a face-lift and also developed a few new useful bits:
G-Cloud spend dashboard – One of the most interesting newbies on our improved website has to be our G-Cloud Spend Data dashboard. Up to now we have been using either the Digital Marketplace dashboard or the old Gov Spend website. The latter is our old favourite but has not yet been updated with the new spend figures. We decided not to wait around for this to happen but rather take matters into our own hands and developed a new Tableau dashboard. You can now analyse G-Cloud sales right on our site and draw out some very useful data that can inform your G-Cloud strategy. For example, it will allow you to keep an eye on your competitors and help you find potential buyers. We will soon be diving into some analysis of our own with a nice insights piece but for now happy data hunting.
Public sector procurement pipeline – one of the questions we often hear is “when is xxxx framework coming out and when does it close for application”. It can be hard to keep track of OJEUs and Go-Live dates, so we added a procurement timeline. Some of the dates are taken from the CCS pipeline website. For those who are yet to have a date we made an educated estimate. With over 80 years of combined experience in the public sector our guesses are usually pretty spot on. We will be updating the timeline with fresh information as it arrives.
Some other changes we made include a brand new About page where you can actually see the crew behind Advice Cloud. We softened most of the framework pages and made sure we are clear how we add value. We also included a brand new testimonial! Our longest standing client Brandwatch shared their experience of working with us on G-Cloud. Here you get to see us and our work through the eyes of those who matter the most: our clients.
Public sector procurement training
The most significant changes on this new website are currently waiting patiently behind the scenes. Some of you might have already discovered an addition of a new top navigation menu item: Training. We will shortly be embarking on a new business venture, public sector procurement training!
We will kick things of with no other than “G-Cloud Essentials for Suppliers.” The course is based on our 5* rated workshop delivered in partnership with TechUK. It will cover all the basics that suppliers need to start making the most out of G-Cloud. From understanding public sector procurement to practical walk-throughs in which you get to actually buy your own service, there is a lot to look forward to. If you want us to let you know when the product is live (and fancy an additional 10% off), simply fill in our contact form!
I did manage to get a hold of our developers in the end. My phone call was answered in the afternoon as they had been in a meeting. To be fair I wouldn’t really blame them if they had blacklisted my number. It must be said, they have done an amazing job with a somewhat demanding client. That’s the curse of having a geeky client who actually enjoys website development work. They stick their nose into everything (including the coding, oops) and are constantly asking the whys and hows. I plan on writing a stellar case study for them but for now a quick mention will have to suffice: a big, and very sincere thank you to Brightminded, you guys are brilliant!