Your website is your shop window.
It’s where potential clients start getting to know you. It’s where they make judgements about whether you’re the right financial adviser/planner for them.
However, time and time again we see financial advisers/planners (and their website developers) failing to include vital homepage elements. That means their website is less effective, reducing the proportion of visitors who take a call to action.
We’re here to help. Here are five key things that advisers and planners fail to include on their website’s homepage.
People look for an adviser/planner when they have a trigger. That’s usually a problem they need solving or an ambition they want to achieve. They’re on your website because they think you might be able to help them.
That means you need to empathise with the reason they’re there, showing that you understand them and can help.
Too often though advisers and planners come on too strong. They start to sell financial planning in the hero statement (the all-important text above the fold on the homepage) and continue doing so down the page.
We all know that financial planning changes lives. But empathy must come first.
Take a look at your homepage:
- Is the first statement about you/your business or the visitor?
- Do you speak to your visitors’ worries, concerns, challenges and aspirations?
- What’s the balance on the homepage between you and them?
It won’t be difficult to work out if your homepage needs an injection of empathy.
Financial planning is about two groups of people; those who deliver it (you and your team) and those who benefit from it (your clients). Both should be made the heroes of your website and especially your homepage.
However, too often both groups are overlooked. Even worse, they are cast aside for cliched stock images. Instead, include images of your clients – ideally in the form of video case studies showing how how you’ve helped them and the benefits of working with you.
Include images of your team too – ideally, with links to a team page and individual profile pages. Doing this allows potential clients to start to get to know the people they might be working with.
Finally, make sure the images are professionally taken. Why spend thousands on a website only to include substandard photos? Great images, taken by a professional, will make your site sing.
The website we designed for Smith & Wardle shows how professionally taken images lift a website. Click here to visit it now.
3. Ignoring social proof (or hiding it away)
Social proof does several things. It:
- Builds credibility and trust
- Shows how you’re different to other advisers/planners the prospect might be considering
- Demonstrates the value that you add.
We can’t overstate the importance of social proof. Yet, so many advisers/planners homepages have no social proof whatsoever. That’s a fundamental mistake. Especially when you consider the range of things you could include:
- Videos of your clients telling their stories
- Client survey results
- Testimonials (although videos are always preferable)
- Logos showing your accreditations (for example, Chartered, Certified and Accredited)
- Your online ratings from VouchedFor and Google
- Logos of newspapers and publications you’ve been featured in.
These should be included on your website’s homepage and then scattered throughout the website so people see them as they visit other pages.
Examples of social proof being effectively displayed on the homepage include the sites we’ve developed for Berry & Oak, as well as Taylor & Taylor Financial Planning. If you click the link and scroll down, you’ll see what we mean.
4. Not including calls to action
An effective homepage means visitors will want to get in touch with you.
You have to make it easy for people to get in touch with you the way THEY want to. Not the way YOU want them to.
An example to illustrate the point. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to book a small off-site meeting room for a day. Rather than calling venues, I wanted to send a request online:
- Venue #1: No online contact form and the email address wasn’t clickable
- Venue #2: The website said they are closed, even though I know they are open
- Venue #3: No form or contact page and email address was hidden at the bottom of the fourth page I looked at
- Venue #4: No form or email address on their site, only a telephone number.
There’s a better way. Make it easy, offer:
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Contact form
- Live chat.
And, don’t forget the people who aren’t ready to make contact right away but might want to stay in touch. This is where your newsletter sign-up form comes into play.
5. Not including the right regulatory text
There’s no getting away from it, our profession still has a trust issue.
That means people might consider more than one adviser/planner before getting in touch with you. Let’s say one of those sites has the correct regulatory wording and the other doesn’t. Which is the prospective client going to trust more?
It’s not a difficult question to answer.
Getting your regulatory wording correct is clearly fundamentally important from a compliance perspective, but it also benefits your marketing. However, too many adviser/planner websites miss it out completely or only display part of what they should include.
It’s not hard to get it right. But it is important.
Here to help
Your homepage is the most important on your website. Get it right and you’ll draw prospects in. Get it wrong and they’ll head off elsewhere.
We’ve got a team of people (remember it takes at least five to build a website) doing what they can to improve the marketing of advisers and planners one website at a time. If now’s the time to discuss your website we’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.