As published in No More Practice’s Reality Check on 22 August 2016.
One of the most common lines I hear from advisers is “don’t look at my website, it needs to be updated”.
The problem with this is your website may be the first, and sometimes the only, impression people get of you.
It is a reflection of YOU.
It’s the business card, the handshake or the conversation that takes place when you are not physically present. It is your “stand in” that meets and greets your potential clients and business partners 24 hours a day.
Your website is not just about beautiful graphics. It’s about having an online presence that connects, engages and encourages people to want to do business with you.
Above all else, the purpose of a website’s is threefold:
- Create a powerful impression and answer the question “is this for me?”
- Collect contact information (name and email address at a minimum)
- Enable you to proactively follow up and nurture relationships that take people on a journey from stranger to referring advocate
Here are some quick tips to make sure your website does what it should:
1. Make a strong personal connection:
People who visit your website are actual people with real challenges, needs or desires.
Consider how you would typically communicate with a real person and start from there.
Use words and language that capture, in a matter of seconds, what you do and how you could potentially help me (your ideal client). If this is not clear when I first arrive, you could lose me forever. Use stories and metaphors to strengthen your message.
Include a video that introduces you and helps people understand why they would consider working with you. Then, when you finally meet, you’re not so intimidating.
Add high-resolution photos of you and your team (photos that show what you look like today, not 10 years ago). Invest in getting them professionally taken. People want to know the faces behind the brand.
Have a bio that shares “who you are” as a person, not just the accolades in your professional life. Use first person narrative so it feels like you are talking to me. Even better, include a video bio.
Inject your personality and flavor across the site. You can be professional and still put a smile on people’s face. Financial advice does not have to be boring.
Use interesting (and relevant) visuals that capture your beliefs and what you stand for (not the overused stock images of business people shaking hands).
Let your clients do the talking by including testimonials and case studies. Don’t just limit these to one page, sprinkle them throughout the website. Include a photo (or a video) and use a summary quote above the text so people can “skim read”.
2. Interact, engage and keep in touch:
People need to invest time before they invest money – so you want them sticking around on your website as long as possible.
Unlike a corporate brochure, a website can be used to interact and engage with people. It’s a chance to let people “experience you” before they commit.
Focus on VXO (tech talk for Visitor Experience Optimisation) and enhancing the online experience you provide your visitors. Have tools, calculators, quizzes etc. to keep them occupied and interested. And make it easy to navigate. A confused mind does nothing.
In exchange for people’s contact information (opt-in), provide them with gifts or “value” for free so they can “try you out” such as checklists, tips, wealth checks, training DVDs, guides, complimentary sessions etc. Once you have their details, make sure to have a proactive “follow up – or nurture” system to keep in touch.
If you serve multiple markets, consider creating a “choose your own adventure” experience. This involves having a specific area for different types of clients such as young professional families or retired pensioners.
Include a blog page and post regularly so people can get a feel for how you think, your opinions and your views. Blogs can be in writing, video (aka VLOG) or audio (podcast). Include social share buttons and a comments section at the end of each post to encourage interaction.
Make sure your site is mobile responsive. 50-65 per cent of the traffic you receive to your website will be from a mobile device of some kind.*
Be your own critic. Check out your website (on a screen and mobile), and if you don’t like what you see, change it. Make it easy for people to get what they want – or they’ll they move on!
Finally, think about how you act and behave online and replicate the good stuff and avoid the things that frustrate.
After all, your website is the window into you!
*Source: The editors touch blog: Ueo-replacing-seo
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