We’ll be the first to preach it: If there’s anything a business needs to be willing to pour a little extra marketing dollars into, it’s a well-designed, professional company website. It is, after all, your most essential marketing asset.
That’s not to say, however, that you can’t revitalize your web presence without completely draining your marketing budget. In fact, with the right hospitality marketing team, it’s possible to upgrade your site for a fraction of the cost. And we’ve got just the example to prove it: Fathom Companies. Unhappy with their previous site, which felt stale and off-brand, the hospitality and real estate management company just premiered a brand new website – with custom animation and movement, to boot – in November of 2020.
But here’s what users would never know once arriving to the site: It cost Fathom 1/10th the price of a new site. That’s right, one little sliver from a 10-piece pie. And, most importantly, the new design and improved functionality allows them to do what they need to: Bring in more business by showcasing more than just their hospitality management know-how, but their other available services, including development, as well as capital and equity investments. Here’s how they did it.
THE SITUATION: A Website Lacking the Essentials to Book Business
Best known for managing The Press Hotel, an upscale, boutique Marriott Autograph Collection hotel in the heart of Portland, Maine, Fathom Companies also focuses on ground-up, historic renovations and repositioning of hotel, office, residential, and mixed-use properties.
But within their previous website, the above breadth of services wasn’t being showcased. While the former site did have a page dedicated to “What We Do,” it focused more on company values – important, yes, but misleading for a prospective client. And since the original site was developed quickly by a freelancer on a shoe-string budget, it also lacked gusto in everything from creative to copy. It felt more corporate, less in line with what the company prides itself on providing its clients: a curated aesthetic and attention to detail.
Are You Losing Visitors to a Muddied Website Design?
Visitors should understand exactly what your business does within 3 seconds of landing on your homepage
While they knew they needed a new website, COVID, however, had put a vice grip on their marketing budget, as so many other businesses across the country have had to do. So, in order to best position the company as the industry recovers, they came to us here at Hawthorn Creative. As the website agency redesigning The Press Hotel’s website (scheduled to go live in March of 2021), they had already seen proof of our skill. Not just skill in design, but skill in finding unique solutions that meet their particular needs no matter the obstacles – whether that be lack of budget, lack of their own on-site staff, or lack of their knowledge. And if there’s one thing you should know about Hawthorn’s digital marketing team, it’s this: We don’t back down from a challenge. So, our designers, strategists, and developers got together to figure out how we could set Fathom up for success at a price they could afford.
THE SOLUTION: A Marketing Agency that Will Seek Custom Solutions
Fathom automatically assumed that a refreshed design wouldn’t be in their budget, just the updating of the site to build a better, more obvious services page that could be brought to the forefront. But we don’t like to leave any stone unturned, so we asked if we could take a look under the hood of the site. While we weren’t surprised to learn that it was built on a templated WordPress theme (many freelance developers utilize out-of-the-box themes when building sites to save their clients’ money), we also knew we could use this setup to our advantage. After a little bit of digging, we saw that if we simply upgraded their theme, we would have access to a library of more unique, modern design elements and animations. And that translated to a more custom approach, and custom design – something Fathom thought totally out of the question.
So, in addition to redesigning their navigation, rewriting their services section, and optimizing their site content and metadata (something else their previous developer neglected to customize), we went page by page and identified which new theme elements we’d use to bring their new look and feel to life. The result: An online experience that better served up the company’s services with a design that they had only dreamed about. And like we said, it was done at a fraction of the price of a new custom WordPress website.
THE RESULTS: A Month Out from the Site’s Live Date
But the proof is in the performance, right? Within the first four weeks alone, Fathom’s new site saw:
- An 8.56% increase in sessions compared to the previous month
- A 12.6% increase in the number of sessions per user compared to the previous month
- A 35.8% increase in average session duration compared to the previous month
As users and search engines alike begin to discover how much the site has improved, it will only yield greater success with time.
Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to ask or advocate for your marketing needs – even in tough times like these. Because a good website agency or developer well-versed in doing all things website-related will know how to create custom solutions that fit your needs and budget.
Ally Cardello – the author of this post – is a web strategist at Hawthorn Creative, with more than a decade of website expertise in the hospitality industry and beyond under her belt. Her spirit animal is Tina Fey, and you can always count on her to supply a witty GIF at any moment’s notice.