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So You Want to Compete with McKinsey? Start With Your Online Presence

Here at Hinge, we often hear from clients and prospects interested in knowing how they are performing relative to their competition. In some cases, there are hard numbers such as revenue or headcount to benchmark against.  In other instances, the comparisons are based on some data in addition to criteria that is even more valuable – your online presence.

Among professional services firms, the question about comparisons looms even larger.  Especially in the management consulting segment, there are so many specialized firms that most know each other and compete for the same projects. So, getting a sense of industry statistics – average marketing budgets or the percent of leads generated online, for example – can be useful in positioning a firm against its competition.

And of course, there are the 800-lb gorillas that have a presence across many niches. Even though few firms compete with these conglomerates on all levels, we thought it useful to provide a competitive analysis of one, McKinsey & Company. The evaluation below will guide management consulting firms toward considerations for their own online presence. What are you doing well? What do you need to work on? And are there opportunities to exploit?

Positioning & Messaging

“We strive for world-shaping client impact. We work with leading organizations across the private, public and social sectors. Our scale, scope, and knowledge allow us to address problems that no one else can. We have deep functional and industry expertise as well as breadth of geographical reach. We are passionate about taking on immense challenges that matter to our clients and, often, to the world. We bring out the capabilities of clients to fully participate in the process and lead the ongoing work.”

Notice how McKinsey & Company positions itself as the best at handling projects as if they are all the Manhattan Project. It provides clear phrases that communicate the company’s image in an understandable, meaningful way. What we cannot tell from the available information is how well McKinsey & Company incorporates this positioning in the everyday interactions between its staff and audiences.

Takeaway: Have everyone in your firm who interacts with customers be able to articulate who you are, what you do and for whom you do it in clear, concise language.

Website Authority

McKinsey & Company: 91 out of 100

Based on Google’s PageRank algorithm, this number reflects a website’s ability to rank for keywords that a search engine deems relevant. So, a website with an authority of 75 will rank higher than a website with an authority of 35 for a given keyword phrase, such as “management consulting.”  At 91, McKinsey has a very high ranking and is often coming up in search engine results for the keywords it has listed as important to the firm.

Takeaway: Review your online presence and consider a program that includes search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your ranking.

Backlinks

McKinsey & Company: 221,406

This number reflects how many websites have links pointing to McKinsey & Company. Having a high number of relevant and high-quality inbound links means that Google will give it more credibility, so it will perform better in search engine results. What’s a high-quality link look like? This is a link that comes from a site that also has a high website authority, not one with lots of questionable, spam-oriented links. 

Takeaway: Think about interesting content you can write and get posted on other sites that will link back to yours.

Top Keywords

McKinsey & Company:

  • Big data
  • McKinsey and company
  • McKinsey quarterly
  • McKenzie quarterly
  • McKenzie consulting
  • McKinsey consulting.
     

These are the keywords that drive the most traffic to www.mckinsey.com. An interesting point here is that people searching for McKinsey often misspell the name, and even the misspellings drive a great deal of traffic to the website.

Takeaway: Keywords are not guesswork. You need to know their search volume and how difficult it is to rank for them as part of the selection process. 

Website Impression

Viewers often get their first impression of your brand by your website, so knowing how it comes across to a viewer is very important. The McKinsey website presents an impression of strength and the ability to solve large, intractable problems for notable clients. There is a good use of large, bold fonts and the colors are not too busy. The interior pages are well laid out, though lacking in a great deal of visual interest; there are several different type treatments, including very small type, that break up an otherwise consistent visual language.

Here at Hinge, we often apply the three-second rule to websites: if you can’t grasp what a firm does in the first three seconds of viewing its website, then it needs attention. The last thing you want is for visitors to assume your work is substandard because your online presence leaves an unfavorable impression.

Takeaway: Do some research with clients and prospects to find out what impressions they get from your site, then you have some information to act on.

Content

McKinsey & Company produces content frequently and in several formats. We are big believers in generating educational content because that is what keeps visitors (read, “prospects”) coming back to learn more about your expertise and how well you solve problems. 

Takeaway: If you don’t yet have a library of content or a blog on your website, consider it when it’s time to update the site.

Site Structure

Pathways on McKinsey’s homepage take visitors directly to the insights section – their library of content. The main navigation is very user friendly, and sub-navigation throughout the site allows the user to navigate between pages with ease. Why is this important? Site architecture has a significant impact on user experience and overall site effectiveness. 

Takeaway: Think about your site’s visual hierarchy. Are there clear pathways that direct visitors to a specific section or page?

Offers

On most pages, McKinsey has multiple offers inviting visitors to sign up for an email or to contact the firm. These are generally soft offers in which the visitor can give an email address in exchange for the ability to download a piece of content. Hard offers, on the other hand, encourage viewers to directly contact the company for a meeting or a free one-hour evaluation. Both types are effective in giving visitors an easy way to deepen their relationship with a firm.  

Takeaway: What do you have to offer prospects that demonstrates your expertise and willingness to engage them?

Social Media Accounts

A good measure of how robust a company’s social media presence can be indicated by the number of followers they have in each of the major social networks. For McKinsey & Company, there are:

  • More than 20,000 followers on Twitter (with multiple “handles” or accounts for  distributing content)
  • Nearly 67,000 Facebook Likes
  • More than 273,000 LinkedIn followers
  • Over 1,300 Google+ +1’s (with no posts or no cover photo)
     

Takeaway: There are no real surprises with McKinsey’s social media presence. With a robust content marketing program, the firm has a lot of material to promote on social media and has attracted a lot of followers. What would your content marketing program look like? 

What’s Next?

If you’re feeling competitive pressure from other management consulting firms, you now have another way of countering that. Website design and structure, SEO-based content marketing, and offers can draw in visitors and convert them into leads. A strong online presence will serve as a beacon as more prospects turn to the Internet for educational information and conduct research on which firm to hire. Set your firm up correctly and you can out-perform the McKinseys of your niche.

For help with creating a high quality lead generating website, check out our free Lead Generating Website Guide.

Author: Chris Ourand The adage of there being a time to tear down and a time build is evident through Chris’s history of dissecting marketing challenges and making sure that strategies are constructed for success. With a complete set of analytical and strategic skills, he helps professional services firms establish breakthrough branding, grow with marketing that capitalizes on competitive advantages and then dominate their markets.

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