Even in the best of times, marketing to the government isn’t an easy task. And, when times are tough, it can be even more difficult.
As a Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Business (SWaM) or government contractor looking for procurement opportunities within state-funded projects, your website should be one of your most valuable marketing assets and act as an actual tool for supporting the individual efforts of your business development or capture person.
An effective website for a SWaM Business has many jobs these days and should help you:
- Get Found — Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a priority to help government procurers, influencers, and end users find your business in search engine results pages and directory search listing.
- Build Trust — Your website needs to present your business and services as capable, professional, and successful at doing the work you’re after.
- Educate and inform — Help government agencies and contracting officers know that you understand what their problems and challenges actually are and how to solve them.
- Nurture and convert — This is where the RFP generation component comes into play. It’s common for government contractors to be on one side of the fence and think that a marketing-driven website doesn’t matter because their work comes from RFPs. But that’s not true. In fact, to increase the likelihood of receiving an RFP, put enticing information, forms and CTAs(calls-to-action) in place. This will help to move decision makers closer to taking action.
After speaking with senior buyers and supplier diversity specialists, then consulting with SWaM businesses over the years I can say that many websites aren’t created to achieve the many jobs listed above. In some cases, websites are so poorly developed that it can be difficult for procurement professionals to advocate for and refer a SWaM Business.
Here are the must-have website elements for Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Businesses (SWaM):
- A Government Contracting Page — You need to make it clear that you work with government agencies and that you have a deep understanding of their challenges and needs. You want managers and coordinators of supplier diversity, purchasing agents, and senior buyers to feel special when they land on your site and this happens best when they can see your company credentials through your government contracting web page.
- Trust and Credibility Elements — As a small business that provides services to government agencies, I can almost guarantee you are being compared to others that provide the same services you do. To stand out, you must do your very best to include the following elements on your website: past project history, testimonials, government agency or client logos, small business & supplier diversity certifications, project results, capability statements, contract vehicles, case studies, media recognition, and contract awards.
- An Optimized Website — Having your site search engine optimized allows you to show up on the first page of search results when senior buyers and coordinators of supplier diversity are in the vendor research phase. If your website doesn’t show up on the first page of search results on Google, Bing or Yahoo,(especially when they search your company name) or in specific directory listings your potential contract opportunity might be in jeopardy.
- Contact and Code Information — As simple as it seems, there are SWaM websites that make it hard to reach and understand them. Make it easy for people to get ahold of you and identify your commodity codes. This is especially important for Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Businesses (SWaM) looking for procurement opportunities within state-funded projects since commodity codes are used to classify goods and services that they may provide.
- Core Services — One of the things some SWaM Businesses don’t do enough of is listing out their core services on their website. This can be a point of new contract opportunities but can also help boost relationship building because it provides a good user experience.
Need more tips on how to market your SWaM business? Check out our Business to Government (B2G) Marketing Strategy.