Since we started The Yardstick Agency at the beginning of 2017, we’ve had nearly 200 enquiries from advisers and planners. No matter how the conversation starts, on almost every occasion the conversation ultimately ends up with the same question being asked: “What do you think to our website?”. We offer financial services website advice and help them build the website they’ve been dreaming of.
Some are great and need very little, if any work. Others though…you know what I’m going to say!
When answering this question, we’ve noticed that the same things seem to be missing from many websites. So, here’s the top five, which are so often missing in action, yet are vital to the effectiveness of your website.
1. Social proof
You know you are good at what you do; you see the way your advice benefits your clients day in, day out. Potential clients, you have yet to engage, don’t have that insight; you therefore need to prove it.
At this point, some advisers and planners will cross their arms; I don’t need an expert on body language to tell me that they aren’t keen on the idea of proving they are great at what they do. Nevertheless, social proof is hugely important. If used correctly, it will improve the effectiveness of all your marketing, not just your website and ‘pre-sell’ your business to potential clients.
Social proof takes many forms, including written and video testimonials from clients, VouchedFor ratings and reviews, as well as the results of client surveys.
At the end of the day, if you don’t have any on your website, you’re working with one hand tied behind your back.
In next week’s blog we’ll provide some examples of where advisers and planners are using social proof to great effect.
2. Calls to action
In terms of new client generation, your website has one key function: to turn a visitor into a potential client by getting them to take a call to action.
As an aside, a really effective website will also filter out those people who aren’t right for your services and start to ‘pre-sell’ what it is you do.
Why then do so many adviser and planner websites hide the calls to action away and make them so hard to act upon? We often find social media links positioned exactly where the most important calls to action should be. If your website doesn’t make it easy for potential clients to get in touch (both via telephone, email or a contact form) you need to make a change.
Calls to action should be strong and prominent; positioned and designed with ease of use in mind.
3. Information about the types of clients you do (and don’t) work with
Far too many adviser and planner websites still talk about product. Very few explain the type of people they work with, the problems they solve for their clients and aspirations they make a reality.
Unfortunately, most people don’t wake up in the morning wanting a financial plan (some do, and hopefully more will in the future, but that’s for another day). Instead, they will generally have a financial problem, issue or challenge that they think a planner or adviser could help them solve. It’s therefore vital to show the types of clients you specialise in working with that you can solve their current issues.
To help filter out those people who aren’t right for your services, we also suggest including a description or explanation of the types of people you don’t work with. You might take a direct approach to this by listing “the people we don’t work well with” or “the people who our service isn’t right for”. Alternatively, you could take a subtler tack by explaining: “these are the people we work most effectively with”.
In short: Less product, more people!
4. Detailed information about your Chartered status (other accreditations are available!)
If you are a Chartered firm or planner, the chances are you have included the appropriate logo somewhere on your website.
That’s not enough though, especially if you hide it at the bottom of your website.
Your visitor probably doesn’t know much about your Chartered status. Sure, it sounds impressive, but do they understand the effort it took to achieve, the code of ethics you must now adhere to and, crucially, how it benefits them? Probably not.
That means you need to explain this to them by linking the logo, plus any other mentions of your Chartered status, to a dedicated page that details the benefits of working with a Chartered firm.
Naturally, the same applies to other accreditations; Certified, Kinder and so on.
Our exclusive animation package is designed to help planners promote their Chartered status. You can get more information, including the price, by clicking here.
The relationship between a client and their adviser or planner, plus supporting team members, is a close bond which develops over many years. In many cases, this starts online; so why do so many websites spend so little time on their team pages, or in some cases dispense with them altogether?
Our research shows that team pages are in the top five most visited pages on your website. That alone should be enough to convince you that the consumers are interested in you and your team. Time should therefore be spent developing this section of your website.
Our checklist will help you build more effective team pages. It’s free to download and there’s no pesky forms to complete. Click here to get your copy.
Give your website a fighting chance
We believe these five things are essential to ensuring your website is well-equipped to convert website visitors into potential clients.
When one or all are overlooked you miss out on providing all-important evidence, be that of your knowledge, your specialist areas or your team’s personality. Without them, your website is working with one hand tied behind it’s back.