Web Reliability for Here Comes The Guide

We used a Web Reliability Review to guide them through a crisis.

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Who?

Here Comes The Guide is a prominent wedding planning website destination that acts as a resource with a complex set of audiences, including couples, vendors, and venues.

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The Urgency

Days after the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the U.S., Here Comes The Guide (HCTG) started feeling the financial pain of its revenue-generating clients - wedding venues. Their audiences were anxious and distracted.

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The Approach

We applied Web Reliability and Strategic Positioning principles to help HCTG realize their true expertise and business value as they navigated COVID-19.

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How Big?

COVID-19 posed an existential threat to the 30-year-old Here Comes The Guide and the wedding industry as a whole, even affecting their larger competitors.

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How Much Time?

The team at HCTG is exceptionally resilient and creative. They got to work immediately after our initial strategic consultations and had new revenue streams up and running in days.

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Squander A Crisis?

Never squander a crisis. HCTG was among the best at seizing the moment. In addition to new revenue streams, they also established themselves as experts capable of leading their own customers through tough times.

Overview

Here Comes The Guide has been a Solspace client since 2015. During this time we have helped them with many improvements in the areas of page load performance, customer flow, content architecture, and CMS enhancement and support among other things.

With the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020, wedding venue providers were among the very first to take the biggest hit. Large groups of people were no longer allowed to gather. So these venues found themselves in a difficult spot. Venues are the primary customer of Here Comes The Guide and comprise the majority of paid listings. When venue customers suffered so did our client.

We offered to help with the strategic side of solving this problem.

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Web Reliability

Optimizing the flow of customers and clients through a website is the goal of our Web Reliability practice at Solspace. A long-time loyal client, Here Comes The Guide was seeing a dramatic decrease in customer flow through their site due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

We offered a pro-bono Web Reliability consultation. The goal was to help HCTG look for diversified revenue streams as well as ways of better serving their existing customer base in an effort to return visitor and revenue flow to normal.

Integrated Partners

Our Web Reliability practice is designed to mesh well with our strategic business methodologies. While Web Reliability can be used to diagnose technology or user experience problems, with HCTG we were looking at the very front of the customer pipeline: the core business and the core activities of our client and their customers. To make sure we tackled things the right way, we brought in one of our trusted partners, The Strategic Web.

The Strategic Web applies a strategic positioning framework for client issues. They look at originating activities and sustaining activities. Originating activities are those where a business targets new customers with a new product offering. Sustaining activities are those where a business maintains and iterates on its existing offerings.

Here Comes The Guide's Web Reliability problem required the origination of new business offerings. The crisis was drastic. So we partnered with our friends at The Strategic Web to fold their expertise in with our own.

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Our Process

The Strategic Web led off our consultative work by leading HCTG through a process of uncovering its foundational activities. This exercise helps a client uncover existing assets and capabilities that are of high value but likely hidden in plain sight. Returning to the fundamentals, the core activities of a business, helps to refresh the narrative and reveal new opportunities when a business environment has changed.

We walked HCTG through a set of questions that helped clarify and uncover some hidden gems.

So What Was Found?

In our view, an essential part of an effective consultative experience is one where the client feels like they solved their own problems. The most valuable and convincing realizations and epiphanies originate from the owners of a business, not outside consultants. This happened with the HCTG team.

We started by asking them to answer some core questions. These lead to realizations about what customers need and when they need it. This, in turn, opened up new revenue and marketing flows.

HCTG found that their venue clients needed more help with their digital marketing. It felt obvious as soon as it was uncovered. Why would someone put a business listing on a website if not to try and drive their digital marketing? HCTG quickly realized there was a large and untapped market within its existing customer base who needed more help with digital marketing assets such as their websites, outreach campaigns, and digital strategies in the wedding space, &c.

Here Comes The Guide quickly developed and launched a number of service offerings in this high value / low hanging fruit area of digital marketing for their existing customers. This generated more goodwill among already loyal customers as well as new streams of revenue and sales leads.

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