Your website is your shop window. It’ll be seen by existing clients, new prospects and professional connections alike.
It’s also a key component of your referral strategy, with many prospective clients Googling you or your firm before getting in touch. For firms keen to attract new clients that makes developing a compelling online presence, by dominating the first page of Google for brand searches, absolutely essential. Ideally, your Google My Business listing will appear plus links to your website, where it’s likely prospective clients will head to, deciding whether or not to get in touch, based on what they see.
Since January 2017 when we launched the Yardstick Agency, we’ve developed dozens of websites. During that time, we encountered many dangerous assumptions, which could lead to some costly mistakes.
So, to guarantee you don’t fall into the same traps, here are our top six most dangerous assumptions.
1. “Clients aren’t interested in reading about our team, we won’t include them on the site.”
Financial planning is all about two groups of people; your clients and your team. Neither should be overlooked on your website.
You will form deep and long-lasting relationships with your clients. They will confide in you, sharing their hopes and fear for themselves and their family. It’s only natural they want to know more, both professionally and personally, about the people whose hands they will be placing their financial future.
Remember too, your clients meet you (online) before you meet them. Failing to connect with them, perhaps because your website is too corporate or bland, will reduce the number of people who ultimately get in touch.
Need further convincing? Our research into the top 10 most popular pages on an adviser/planner websites shows that the team section in second place. You can read that article again by clicking here.
Visitors to your site want to see your team, so give them that opportunity!
2. “Most of the traffic to my website will be on mobile devices.”
Our research shows that on average only around one in four website visitors (26.92%) will access it on a mobile.
For a couple of reasons, it’s likely that most visitors to your website will be at a desktop computer:
- They might be browsing at work
- They are less likely to be multi-screening, and therefore less likely to use a mobile or tablet when making an important decision such as this
If your website has a similar visitor profile (you can check by using Google Analytics), that means it needs to be designed with desktop devices at the front and centre of your mind. Naturally, it must be mobile-friendly, but remember, most of your traffic will probably come from desktop devices.
3. “A website will automatically generate more enquiries.”
If only it were that simple!
Even the most beautifully designed and written site, with compelling call to actions, will fail if no effort is made to help the right people find it.
You wouldn’t dream of opening a new high-street business without a comprehensive marketing plan. Why should a website be any different? Whether it’s developing a referral strategy, content marketing, using social media, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or lead magnets, you’ve got to market your website if you’re going to capitalise on all your hard work.
4. “People don’t believe testimonials.”
You might not but plenty others will. Especially if you make every effort to demonstrate that they are authentic.
That means testimonials should be detailed, focusing on why the client came to you, how you helped and then (most importantly) how they benefited from financial planning. Each testimonial should be supported by the client’s name, broad location and the date they became a client. Ideally, your client will also allow you to publish their image.
Of course, case studies and client videos will take things to the next level. In our view case studies beat testimonials and client videos beat case studies.
Social proof (the thoughts and words of others) is essential to demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of financial planning. Remember though, it’s not enough to simply build a page of testimonials; only 1 – 2% of your visitors will look at it. Far better to scatter social proof around the site, so people see them as they browse the pages.
5. “My clients won’t want to provide testimonials and I don’t want to bother them.”
In our experience, most clients are extremely happy to help. In fact, we’ve never come across a firm where we couldn’t get clients to provide testimonials, case studies or appear in videos.
The problem is all too often in their adviser or planner’s mind. If the right clients are approached in the right way, they will probably agree, and your website will be far better for it.
6. “I need to hide being a sole adviser.”
I’ve never understood why some advisers and planners want to hide the fact they are a small business.
Firstly, it’s a reality, so why hide it? To do anything else could be construed as misleading. Secondly, many potential clients would rather work with a small business. Finally, see the first of our dangerous assumptions.
We’ve written before about why sole practitioners shouldn’t hide themselves away. You can still read it by clicking here.
Your website should explain the benefits of working with a small firm while addressing any questions or concerns you know potential clients might have. But, above all, if you’re a sole practitioner don’t hide it. Celebrate it!
Apparently (or so Google tells me) it was the philosopher Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe who said: “assumption is the mother of all mistakes.”
We can be pretty sure he wasn’t talking about websites when he said it. Nevertheless, it’s true.
Instead, base your decisions on evidence, and experience, and you’ll avoid making these dangerous assumptions which will harm your marketing, reducing your return on the considerable investment that you have made into your website.