How a PE Website Redesign Landed LLR Partners More Deals
Think back to the interview you did for the current job you’re working at. You most likely got your job from your work experiences and accomplishments, not the clothes you wore that day or the paper you presented your resume on.
Yet you still made sure you showered, wore your best suit/dress (or clothes appropriate for the interview), and had your resume on quality paper. Think about how the interview would have gone if you showed up in wrinkled, mangled clothes with your resume scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin.
This metaphor can be extended to private equity (PE) firms’ websites. While fund return is unquestionably one the most important part of attracting startups, companies, and new LP’s to work or invest with you, having a poorly designed website will severely limit and downplay the fund’s attractiveness.
If your fund wants to differentiate itself in the increasingly competitive PE industry, PE websites can no longer be hastily designed as an afterthought. Maintaining and growing your digital user base and engagement is an continuous effort, not something that you do once and never come back to again. Many companies have grown their digital base by shifting their marketing towards an inbound marketing strategy.
We spoke with Kristy DelMuto, Vice President of Marketing at LLR Partners, about the importance of a fund’s website, and what benefits a good website will bring. LLR Partners is a lower middle market private equity firm committed to creating long-term value through its portfolio companies. Founded in 1999, LLR Partners has raised than $3 Billion across five funds, and their website is one of the best PE websites I’ve seen. Check it out here.
Here’s our conversation:
What made your firm choose to redesign your website?
"We decided in early 2016 that it was time to redesign the LLR website for several reasons. We were gearing up for Fund V and wanted the website to reflect who we are as a firm today, where we invest and, most importantly, our focus on Value Creation. We’ve maintained tremendous consistency is our investment thesis and approach to accelerating growth over the last 18 years, but with each new fund comes a natural evolution that is important to communicate. For LLR, in recent years we expanded our Value Creation team that is dedicated to supporting portfolio companies in areas like Talent, Strategy, Finance, Sales and Marketing.
We also launched an extensive content/event strategy to codify that expertise, as well as best practices from our portfolio executives, through written GrowthBits and live Collaborate events. We needed a website to do more than simply host this content, and rather serve as the hub for a range of deal origination and brand building activity surrounding it, from email and social marketing, to SEO, to direct deal sourcing that leverages our content as a differentiator. We also needed to update the look/feel from 5 years earlier and make sure our site was mobile responsive given the range of devices now used to view it"
Do you think a fund's website is important? Why or why not?
"Absolutely. So much of the deal activity in our industry originates through networking and warm introductions. After you meet someone or they are recommended by a trusted source, what’s the first thing you do? Google them. It’s critical to present a consistent, clear message both on and offline, and on top of that seize the opportunity to differentiate your firm wherever you have a captive audience. Your website is the best tool for not only delivering the factual information visitors are looking for, but also influencing their decision about which private equity firm to partner with. Taking all this a step further, a smart website and good content strategy can significantly impact your search engine visibility, drawing in organic traffic and brand new contacts or investment opportunities you may not have seen otherwise through your network. Your digital presence is at the center of all this activity. "
Did you see an increase in traffic/an increase in customer or client satisfaction after redesigning your website?
"Yes, we saw an immediate increase in traffic, but what’s more important is that our key visitor stats continue to trend upwards, people are reading our GrowthBits and finding them valuable enough to subscribe, and the conversations that are prompted by website activity are high quality. That’s why a really well-thought out redesign from a coding, content and UX standpoint is so critical, plus a good digital marketing strategy to go along with it. A visual facelift is important, but will only get you so far."
Did you use an outside company to redesign the website, or was it designed by the firm itself?
"Yes, we chose a firm that understood enough about industry to be thoughtful, but more importantly could deliver awesome creative ideas, optimize the website in every way needed to feed Google’s algorithms, and partner with us in continuing to refine our digital strategy over time. Durkan Group posted a good case study on the process on their website. For something as fundamental to a private equity firm’s brand and origination strategy as its website, it is best to leave the design work to the experts."
How important do you think a fund's marketing effort is?
"We’re in a really crowded market today. It’s tough for PE firms to differentiate themselves, keep intermediaries informed of their platform and add-on targets as investment theses evolve, and reach entrepreneurs directly. Marketing – digital marketing in particular – is where we have the opportunity to supplement all the relationship-building we do in person with reinforced messages online about why we’d make great partners and how we’ll work together to grow a company. I’m exceptionally proud of what we’ve done at LLR so far to deliver value through online marketing, and I’m excited to keep evolving our digital strategy and website to drive growth for our portfolio and our firm."
For many, your website will be a prospect company’s, or an LP’s first impression of your fund. What does an outdated website say about your fund?
Thanks to Kristy and LLR Partners for allowing us to get an insight to an oft-overlooked, yet critical, part of a successfully positioned PE fund.