Private Equity is Becoming An Increasingly Competitive Environment Online.
With total Assets Under Management now exceeding an astounding $3 trillion, the Private Equity (P.E.) landscape continues to enjoy enviable growth and present exciting new opportunities.
However, as the industry grows, so do the number of firms competing for elite clients. Clarifying a firm’s mission, reputation, branding, and industry niche through a sharp, high-end website can make the difference between standing out, or blending into the crowd.
For these reasons, it is critical for P.E. firms to cultivate an online presence designed both for the specific interests of target clientele and for a more agile and ever-evolving industry landscape.
By using our 5 Key Component Checklist you can better evaluate if your P.E. firm is capable of standing out and reaching its goals online.
1. Tailor Fit Your Digital Design:
The central debate before the redesign of any business’ website often boils down to one core decision: template or custom? While templates have advanced considerably and do offer basic functionality, the gaps in customizability, and presentation remain vast in comparison to a bespoke digital space.
Your website should be a living, breathing, digital representation of your firm. It’s difficult to put a value on what is often the first and best chance to tell your story in the precise way you want.
Prospective portfolio companies come to your website for clues about how you can help to elevate their brand, their standing, their valuation — how keyed in is your firm to the direction of key markets and demographics?
Both your branding and design should speak to the expertise, innovation, precision, and prescience of your operation. Your site should look great and function even better; it should present as flawlessly on a mobile platform casually passed around in an after-hours conversation, as it does projected from a Mac or PC screen.
In the end, a company website should be a pleasure to use, edit, and navigate. It should facilitate your needs, and project an image you’re proud of. A custom site is the clear way to maximize these critical needs.
For examples of high-end sites in the P.E. arena that accomplish these goals, contact us and we’d be happy to forward some along.
2. CPP – Criteria, Portfolio, People:
In basic terms, the three critical research areas that portfolio companies take into account should be easily accessible and navigable on any P.E. website — these are Criteria, Portfolio, and People. Your website should and must celebrate its stand-out qualities in these areas, and we’re happy to elucidate exactly how:
- Criteria: Knowing your “ask” is important in any successful business. In Private Equity, by clarifying the criteria you look for in portfolio companies, you present an important foundation for growth. Your website should state investing criteria clearly and in visually appealing ways. Depending on the specifics of your firm, that may entail eye-catching data visualization, key research that supports your portfolio, and an unencumbered mission statement, to name a few. Finding the best presentation to convey this information in manners both easy-to-absorb and intuitive to navigate are where expertise in digital design really adds value.
- Portfolio: A P.E. company’s portfolio is the crown jewel upon which its reputation is built and sustained. The interface through which this portfolio is presented should reflect this hallowed status. Customizable searching, sorting, and filtering options are critical services to cultivating engagement here. “Active” and “inactive,” “valuation,” “industry,” “geographical location,” “IPO” vs other exits from an investment — the possibilities are many. Discerning the right balance between the number and variety of options and maintaining a clean and stylish interface is critical.
- People: Highlighting your team in the right way can convey immense value beyond the traditional measures. From Managing Directors to starting associates, the thorough vetting that your firm undertook to craft its team should be reflected with highly professional, and yet approachable design elements. You may wish to have separate interfaces for full-length versus “elevator pitch” bios, or, depending on the size of your firm, search options for expertise and titles may be a valuable addition as well. The ability to easily add, subtract, and restructure this portion of the site is critical as well. In the end, Private Equity deals and decisions are made and brokered by people; ensuring that your team’s experience, personability, professionalism, and acuity shine as brightly as possible requires keen design sense and understanding.
3. Empowered, Agile, and in Control:
Websites built for an ever-evolving landscape must not only be easy to navigate, but be easy to update and to maintain. A customized content management system (CMS) makes a world of difference when exciting changes and developments need to be represented in real time. It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to add a new company to the portfolio, a new team member, exciting investor news, or even to modify your branding. Depending on the needs you foresee, your CMS can be crafted for easy in-house management for a wide variety of updates or transitions. A website that is outdated and fails to reflect recent developments in an industry sector, or even in a firm’s own evolutions can be a real blow to image; conversely, one that is remarkably up-to-date immediately conveys qualities of an industry leader with adaptability, a finger on the pulse, and clear control.
4. Metrics for Success:
The right web analytics can be very empowering, especially for a firm with its eye on growth. As a gateway to your firm, your digital profile should come with the intel to let you know how, when, why, and in what numbers people are visiting your site. You should have a grasp on unique visitors daily, weekly, monthly, and so forth. What are your most popular pieces of content driving engagement? How are people using your site? Which keywords and traffic sources are working best?
Charting, and reviewing this information with your team, utilizing it to set clear benchmarks for advancing your goals, and routinely improving not just traffic volume, but quality and depth of engagement, are all possible through the right data analytics tools and team members with expertise to make use of them.
5. Thought Leadership:
“Thought leadership” is a reputation frequently sought after, often claimed, but far more rarely earned. The time and effort required to cultivate such a reputation can be daunting. However, becoming an industry thought leader, even (or at times, “especially”) in a niche market carries the potential for great rewards.
Some of you who are reading this may already be on your way with a content strategy and a publishing schedule, while others may have not yet begun. For the latter group, the good news is that item numbers 1 through 4 are still quite within grasp; this final goal can be saved for later.
Regularly publishing content and being a thought leader, of course, go hand in hand. Bearing in mind your target audience, and writing regular content that appeals to them is the basic starting premise. At times, the audience you attract will not fit your immediate needs, but writing for the audience you seek can pay dividends down the road.
Take, for example, a CFO or founder of a company at the $5 million revenue mark, while your criteria for portfolio companies starts at $20 million. Having perhaps come from a firm at one time working with lower revenues, the wisdom from your progress, guiding those at the lower levels with constant pressure to reach the next benchmark, can make your site a go-to source for advice and best practice.
With time, you will foster a plenitude of visitors who meet your criteria immediately; for those who don’t, the useful, actionable information you provide from your advanced position today, may bring lucrative opportunities tomorrow. For more on thought leadership tale a look at our 5 steps to become a private equity thought leader.
How Much Opportunity does your Private Equity firm have to capitalize on?
Now, it’s time to see how your firm weighs in against the checks above. Does your private equity website reflect the components listed above? If not, then maybe your digital profile is more primed for growth than you may have a thought.