Every prospective client takes several steps on their journey to your door.
We call it the Enquiry Equation and it looks like this:
Awareness (Source) + Online search (Google) + Due Diligence = Enquiry
To illustrate the point, let’s look at some real-life examples:
- Someone is recommended to you, they search for you online, click through to your website and then call your office
- One of your LinkedIn posts catches someone’s eye, they click the blog link, read it and then complete an online enquiry form
- A prospective client drives past your office every day, they finally get around to reviewing their pensions so search for your business online, click through to your website and make an enquiry.
It’s not hard to see the thing each of these journeys have in common. You’ve got it: they all include a visit to your website, which is why we’ve said many times that your website is:
- Your shop window
- Where prospective clients make judgements about you
- A place where you have no right of reply, which means you’ve got to get it right.
So now we’ve established the importance of your website, how do we make it stand out in a crowded online world?
Unfortunately, too many advisers, planners, business owners and marketing managers believe the answer to that question lies in one word: design.
Actually, it’s dangerous because believing the myth means your website:
- Won’t create a connection between visitors and your business
- Is less likely to resonate with your target client
- Will be stuck in telling not showing
So stick with me for a few minutes to discover seven data-driven ways to make your website stand out.
People (who aren’t yet clients) visit your website because they have a financial problem, challenge or aspiration (what we call their trigger) they think you might be able to help with.
That means you need to show visitors:
- You understand their trigger
- That they’re in the right place
- You have experience and expertise working with people like them.
Instead, too many adviser/planner websites go straight into solutions, explaining they can help with pensions, savings, and investments….boring!
Worse, some leap straight into selling financial planning and talk about how they help people “live their best life”.
Your site will be far more effective if you put the products, services and sales to one side and empathise with the reason people are visiting.
2. Real people
Your website should showcase two groups of people:
- Heroes (your clients)
- Guides (you and your team)
and photos are one of the best ways of doing that.
Unfortunately, too many advisers/planners choose to pack their websites with stock images, rather than real people, creating several problems:
- The images are often cliched
- It’s hard to select the right image
- They’re unlikely to create a point of difference (we’ve all seen the same images used on different sites).
So, if you want your website to stand out, set yourself a target of not using any stock photos. No couples on the beach, no grey-haired gents sailing on the ocean and certainly no lighthouses.
Instead, pack it with great photos of firm-specific images, including:
- Your team with both individual and group photos
- Authentic images of people working
- Internal and client meetings.
Photos of points of interest in your office can also be effective. These might include:
- The office building.
Even the coffee machine!
3. Client videos
In addition to images, client videos are a fantastic way to showcase both your heroes and guides and, because most firms don’t have them, will help your website stand out.
If you add client videos to your website, you will:
- Build trust
- Empathise with visitors
- Demonstrate genuine expertise.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, most advice/planning firms don’t include client videos on their website. For example, only 31% of the firms in New Model Adviser’s Top 100 for 2022 (we’re still crunching the numbers for 2023) had videos on their website.
If you’re one of them, it’s bound to help you stand out from the crowd.
4. Great content
It’s no secret that most people engage with images on websites before the words. However, people who are serious about working with you will, eventually, read your website.
That means your copy needs to:
- Be easy to read
- Capture your tone of voice
- Communicate your key messages.
So who should write it?
- Someone in your team?
- A professional copywriter?
All too often the words on a website are an afterthought, written by people with a different day job, who just happen to think they can write (or were off ill the day the job was delegated and came back to find their job role had been changed to copywriter!).
5. Team pages
Team pages on adviser/planner websites are usually in the top three most popular on the site.
When we consider the deep relationship most advisers/planners have with their clients, that’s no surprise. Unfortunately, too many websites don’t give visitors what they’re looking for:
- 27% of adviser/planners websites don’t have a team page
- Only around a third have a page for each member of the team.
That means showcasing every member of your team on your website, from the apprentices to the chairperson, will help your website stand out.
6. Ratings and reviews
We’ve said plenty of times before that testimonials pages are useless because only 1-2% of your visitors will ever visit it.
Unfortunately, while 76% of firms have Google reviews and 53% VouchedFor, most don’t display them correctly on their website. Instead, set your website apart and stand out from the crowd by collecting reviews on both platforms, then embed them correctly by:
- Adding them to the most popular pages on your site
- Including VouchedFor reviews on the individual team member pages
- Using widget codes where possible so your latest reviews are automatically shown.
7. Disclosing fees
You might have noticed a rather lively debate over on LinkedIn last week about the pros and cons of disclosing fees on your website.
The firms who decide to disclose fees online generally do so for three reasons:
- To demonstrate transparency and build trust
- Because it’s popular with prospective clients
- Enquiry selection
Those who do it also stand out from the crowd because only 11.6% of adviser/planner websites disclose the actual fees a client will pay.
Great design will only get you so far
We’re not saying design isn’t important.
But as we’ve proved, there are many other ways to make sure your website stands out from the crowd.
If your online shop window isn’t as effective as it could be or your digital presence is letting you down, let’s have a chat. Email email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300 and let’s chat.