10 Lessons From Argosy Group's SIPAward-winning Website Launch

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There are so many things to like about the launch by Argosy Group—a Simplify Compliance company—last year of their new Regulatory Compliance Watch website. They responded to customer feedback. They told their audience in both a letter and flyer that the new site was on the way. They listed seven challenges that had to be overcome. And then went in-depth on the solutions.















The new website launched Nov. 15, and in the first 6 weeks, monthly trial requests increased by 30%—and that was during a typically slow time. In addition, in the first full month after launch, they brought in 29% more subscription revenue than the average previous months. It's no wonder that Argosy Group—led by Andrew Umhoefer, senior director of marketing and operations—won a 2017 First Place SIPAward for Best New or Relaunched Website.

Here are 10 lessons from Argosy Group's winning website launch: 

1. Enhance don't replace. "We knew we couldn't just introduce an umbrella brand name to solve the first challenge [the name 'IA Watch' was confusing to some customers]," wrote Umhoefer. "...Regulatory Compliance Watch had to be its own entity; it had to be an enhancement to the service, not a new product. The new home page allows the customer to conduct a global search across all four compliance sections."

2. Offer customizable options. Nobody wants to be pinholed anymore. Under the old website, there were just two options for subscribing. "The subscriber now has the option to subscribe to only the areas of compliance that their business requires," Umhoefer wrote.

3. Put (some of) your best content forward. Previously, the subscriber or prospect had to take a trial to see any of the content. Argosy made all of the content on each product's homepage and sub-pages visible and updated in real time. Of course, there was much more content they didn't have access to, but it gave visitors an idea of the breadth and quality of their coverage.

4. Make navigation user-friendly and intuitive. "Design was not intuitive for the user to know that there were three other compliance sections besides IA Watch," Unhoefer wrote. So each heading received its own color scheme and visible listing (without dropdowns). On-point compliance topics now clearly appear in addition to navigation buttons. A left rail stays the same through all the divisions, with information on events, webinars, accreditation certificates, a compliance forum and a calendar for exams.

5. Make search easy and more effective. On the old site, the only way to conduct a global search across the site was to go to advanced search. Users can now go to the homepage and start their search in the global search box, click on Advanced Search in the upper right, or conduct a search in any or all of the four products. In addition, "we created a robust 'filtered search' feature," Umhoefer wrote. "Filtered searching allows the user to further refine search results to home in on exactly what they are looking for."

6. Adorn with useful visual elements. Small red locks tell visitors that they cannot access content from certain areas. A relevant photo accompanies each of three lead stories.

7. Get the word out. This is very important. Why go through all the work if you're not going to kvell (talk up) a little. From the letter: "You asked; we listened. So what's new? In addition to all of the benefits that are part of your current IA Watch subscription, you will now benefit from an exciting new enhancement called Regulatory Compliance Watch! It's the same IA Watch you're used to, but so much more..."

8. Provide an FAQ. Argosy lists 19 possible questions which subscribers are just a click away from seeing the answer. At the bottom is contact information.

9. Take pride in all your design. Every piece of Argosy's new site—the web pages, the flyer, the letter, the FAQ—is colorful, orderly and designed with customer-friendly care.

10. Listen to your customers. "Initial customer feedback was great regarding the expansion," Umhoefer wrote. "But shortly after launch the customer feedback on the challenges and limitations of the website and subscription model turned us immediately down the path of creating the new Regulatory Compliance Watch website." Textbook.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…