The other day as I was reading through my Google alerts for executive protection and there was an item that grabbed my attention: “Executive Protection company launches new web design.” Since I am in the web business with an security background my curiosity was piqued.
When I got to the business website I was sorely disappointed. I thought I would write a post about my thoughts on this website. Not to bash, but to use it as a working example to assist other EP businesses.
From a design perspective the content was organized well but the design was lacking. Why is it that almost every Bodyguard or EP business thinks a black background is a necessary thing for their website? To me, it says you are hiding something which lessens my trust in what you are trying to tell me in your content, and I’m in the business! Imagine if I was a potential client. This website had the black background with white text and I had to stop reading after the first paragraph because my eyes hurt. Please guys and gals, break the stereotypes and get rid of the black background!
There are three simple questions your security business website content has to answer:
- What Do You Do?
- What Qualifies You To Do It?
- Who Have You Done It For?
I think the answer to the first and third questions are pretty easy, it’s the second question where businesses get a little stymied.
What qualifies you to do it?
What qualifies you to offer executive protection or bodyguard services? Does being a sharpshooter and having a license to carry a concealed weapon qualify you? Does being a former police officer or military background qualify you? Maybe.
In my honest opinion, qualify means training, and if you are offering executive protection services that means you should be trained in executive protection. Not only training, but certified training.
I did a search of executive protection companies in Google and I did a small sampling of those websites found in the search results pages. Very few answered the question. Most gave vague sentences like:
completed training and certification through a recognized and accredited bodyguard school
Through continuous training, expertise and extensive experience,
Our staff of executive protection agents use strategies based on US Secret Service methodology
If you were introduced by someone at a business function, and the person asked “I hear you offer executive protection services, where did you train?” and you answer “at a bodyguard school” or “through my extensive experience” or “US secret service methodology”. What do you think would be the next logical question from this person? Yep, you’re right, “By whom?”
Not one website that I sampled stated who they were trained by. Some companies did their own training but didn’t say who qualified the instructors.
Again, I am not bashing, this is a learning exercise.
What Do You Do?
Easiest enough question for you to answer. Let’s go back to the business function example, the first question a person is going to ask you is “What do you do?” You need to answer this in a way that the person will understand. You skip out on the technical information and offer a simple answer. This conversation can be applied to the web.
Be clear on your message. Website visitors decide/judge in just a few seconds whether to stay or go. So your website has to not only look pretty decent but it needs to effectively communicate your message to a potential customer or client. I find that using images and breaking up the text in short paragraphs works well to get your message across.
Who Have You Done It For?
In my sampling of websites this question is often answered in vague groups such as VIP’s, dignitaries, and celebrities. Understandably, sometimes it is necessary to be vague for the protection of the protectee. But this doesn’t really tell your web visitors who. In that situation what I recommend is for you to add company names rather than individuals. If possible find photos of you with the proctectee and add them to your website.
So here are some takeaways from this exercise:
- Take out the guessing game in your content.
- Don’t be vague when it comes to qualifications. List out your qualifications for you and your instructors.
- Write content from a potential client’s point of view. You might understand what’s on your website but what about the customer? Will he/she understand?
- Use pictures to enhance your message, be mindful of your market – if your market is corporate protection don’t put images of you slinging an MP5.
- Break the mold and the stereotypes of all the other bodyguard websites.
Last but not least, remember that Executive Protection is a business, be just as diligent on your business skills as you are on your hard skills.