Web Design & Development for Environmental Association
- Web Design
- $50,000 to $199,999
- Jan. 2015 - Ongoing
- Willing to Refer
"They embedded themselves in the project and ... believed in what we were trying to do as an organization ..."
- Energy & natural resources
- United Kingdom
- 51-200 Employees
- Phone Interview
Probe & Query designed and developed a number of websites for an international water management organization. Their goal was to increase membership engagement and effectively communicate project-specific events.
The engagement has produced an increase in visitors, time spent on the site, and improved bounce rate. Probe & Query also effectively used SEO and marketing strategies to put their content in front of more members. Users have praised the new site design and improved navigation capabilities.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the media and content manager of the International Water Association. We’re a membership organization of 10,000 individuals and leading companies in over 120 countries. Our members come from the field of water services, infrastructure, engineering, and consulting. We focus a lot on our communications because we have a publishing business—journals, books, and a store.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with Probe and Query?
We’re in the process of going through a period of change. We had a new strategic plan and a strategy going forward for membership and engagement. While this involves our current membership, it includes network participants—people who attend conferences that we organize. So we have this broad stakeholder group who we have the least communications with. The challenge was how to better manage our communications and engagement with all those stakeholders.
What was the scope of their involvement?
We had a website but it wasn’t suited for its purpose and lacked functionalities for the impact that we wanted. When we started working with Probe and Query, we had a couple of days to talk about what each area of our organization needed from the website. They came back with a plan for us. We had a brief in mind and they did a lot of stakeholder interviews. That formed the basis of how we took the project forward.
There were several areas in which we worked with them. One was the full overhaul of our corporate website, iwa-network.org. We focused on that initially because that was the area of greatest need. They also worked with us on building a good events management site. We organize various events throughout the year, but there are three or four Tier 1 events that have between 1,000 and 5,000 people attending. They built a website for us that included a programmed schedule manager to manage these complex events. They have also worked with us on multiple project websites. We run and found several projects around the world, and each one has its own project website. They range from systems that are very basic websites to one that was a statistics portal, which involved development around a database.
Probe and Query did SEO work and analytics. They also advised us on our social media strategy that ties in with the website and its promotion. They looked at how to improve the return in terms of visitors to the website and to the content. They are also doing maintenance and development on the main website.
We didn’t have any developers. We had a digital engagement manager who was working here, but she left halfway through the project. They took on that role themselves because we didn’t have the in-house resources or experience for it.
We also developed a website, e-newsletter and native app with P&Q for our rebranded and relaunched magazine, The Source. This has involved a single sign-on integration with the iwa-network.org and our membership platform iwa-connect.org, allowing all systems to recognize IWA members when they are logged in. It also involves developing online subscriptions and integration with a payment portal, and delivering a freemium model for access to the magazine's content – where users will have a certain number of free articles per month, after which they will be asked to subscribe or join the IWA. This has been a big piece of work, with the website and newsletter live for six issues of the magazine, and the native app, subscriptions and single sign-on going live in April this year.
How did you come to work with Probe and Query?
We had been working with a small agency based out of Brussels, but we didn’t feel like we were getting very far or quickly with them. We started a new search for a different agency, looking at a couple based in Amsterdam. Probe and Query is based in Belgrade and the digital manager who worked here was originally from Serbia, so I think she came across them through her network. We went over to Belgrade for a day and met with them and discussed everything. They seemed like a good fit for our organization. We felt that Probe and Query offered more flexibility for us. From a budget perspective, they were also more affordable.
How much have you invested with Probe and Query?
The IWA network site and event site cost us €125,000 [approximately $133,000 US]. The additional projects would add an extra €30,000–€40,000 [approximately $31,000–$43,000 US].
What is the status of this engagement?
The engagement has been over 18 months. We first met them at the end of 2015 and the website went live July 2016. We’re still in a working relationship with them as they’re working on a couple of projects for us.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
The Google Analytics show a clear increase in both the number of visitors and the time they’re spending on the site. The bounce rate has improved. We’ve checked it across the last six months and there’s a significant improvement from where we were before. Across these indicators, everything seems to be getting better. It’s been received very well by internal and external stakeholders. People really like the feel and design of it. We focused a lot on the content, which is also working very well. The way that works, particularly with the navigation of the site and related content being served up, is what seems to be driving the improved statistics.
How did Probe and Query perform from a project management standpoint?
That was an area where we did have a bit of a problem. The project manager who originally worked with us left after eight months. There was a period where we felt there wasn’t a need for a project manager. We were a bit optimistic that we’ve broken the back of the project and didn’t really need a project manager. That wasn’t the case. After about a month when the work started, there was a bit of a wobble. Probe and Query brought in another project manager, Marko, who’s been excellent.
What did you most impressive about Probe and Query?
For me, it’s the commitment to getting the project done. They embedded themselves in the project and sought to understand what the organization was getting out of it. They believed in what we were trying to do as an organization, so they seemed very committed to the project. Even though there were times where we didn’t have any more resources, they did some work pro bono for us. That was really excellent from our point of view.
Are there any areas Probe and Query could improve?
There wasn’t necessarily something to improve on. Language and meaning are sometimes difficult when you’re working with nationalities from different parts of the world. It was something to be conscious of, that everyone was working in a second language.
What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Probe and Query?
Make sure that everything is clear from the start. That comes back to project management. You need a good rapport with the project manager who translates all of that into their work planning and what they’re delivering. That’s where the wobble came from because there were some misunderstandings. I think it’s as much on our side as on theirs because we were allowing people from other teams to communicate directly.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
Value / within estimates
"We checked around and they were very good compared to the other quotes we were getting."
Willing to Refer4.0
"We've already referred P&Q to some of our partner organizations