We all have pet peeves which unreasonably annoy us. People who turn up late to meetings, drivers who fail to indicate, pedestrians reading their phone as they walk. The list could go on. Perhaps it’s the prospect of staring at four walls for the next few months, but if I ever hear “my website is just a business card” again, I won’t be responsible for my actions.
It’ll not surprise anyone to learn that we believe your website needs to be much more than a damn business card. And, no, it’s not because we build them for a living. It’s because your website (and online presence more generally) is fundamental to successful marketing.
At best, your business card includes your name, contact details, and perhaps your accreditations. That small piece of card (double thickness for preference!) is ritually handed over at meetings and networking events. It’s then quickly forgotten.
On the other hand, potential clients will often revisit your website many times. Our research shows returning visitors are more engaged too, looking at more pages and spending longer on the site when they revisit.
Your business card will probably never win you any new clients. Done well, your website will.
Sat between someone becoming aware of your business, perhaps because they’ve been referred to you, and taking action, is Google. Visitors might be comparing a couple of advisers/planners they’ve been referred to or simply looking for your telephone number. Either way, what they see online dictates what they do next.
To put it another way, your website is where potential clients first meet you. It’s where they develop all-important first impressions. It’s where they make decisions about you and your firm. It delivers the moment of truth where they contact you or move, continuing their search elsewhere.
You have no right of reply or comeback. Other than the site you have built, there’s nothing you can do to influence their thoughts, decisions and actions.
Impress, and the chances of visitors contacting you increases. Disappoint and they might continue their search elsewhere.
If your website is effectively a business card, which of those two options is more likely?
What should your website do?
When it comes to developing new enquiries, your website has three key jobs:
- To get the right visitors to take a call to action
- To pre-sell those visitors on why you are the right adviser/planner for them
- To signpost people who aren’t right for your services elsewhere.
That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Unfortunately, websites in our sector are often impersonal and product-focused. We’ve all seen sites talking about pensions, savings, investments and mortgages. How dull is that? Come on! Financial planning changes lives. We can do better than talking about products.
It’s why we believe there are two groups of people who should be the heroes of your website.
The first is your clients. These are the people who benefit from financial planning. They should be front and centre on your site showcasing how you have changed their lives through case studies and client videos.
As we’ve said many times, the age of the traditional testimonial is dead. Hardly anyone looks at them. Case studies and videos elevate your site and demonstrate the benefits of engaging you. They will also set your website apart from the pack – indeed, our research shows that only 9% of firms have client videos on their website.
The second are your team. It’s these people who deliver financial planning and change people’s lives. It’s your team who give clients the confidence to retire sooner than planned, spend more money in retirement, or give their wealth away sooner than intended.
It’s you and your team with whom your clients will form a lifelong bond. Is it any wonder that our research shows team pages are the second most popular on adviser/planner websites?
Again, many advisers and planners don’t showcase their team online. They prefer the myth that “my clients aren’t interested” to the overwhelming evidence that visitors want to understand more about the people they will be working with.
What else should your website include?
Aside from social proof in the form of client stories/videos and your team, your website should also:
- Explain the types of clients you work with
- Demonstrate the quality of your advice/planning
- Explain the problems you solve for your clients and the aspirations you help them achieve
- Include other forms of social proof, such as testimonials (just don’t cram them all on one page), online ratings and reviews, client survey results and so on.
Does this sound like a business card to you? No, of course, it doesn’t.
Your website should bring financial planning alive and motivate potential clients to engage you. No business card has ever done that!
If now is the time for you to review your website, we’re here to help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0115 8965 300.