Before you consider how your website is (or isn’t) helping your business, clarify why you have one. Think of your website as an employee. To evaluate an employee’s performance, you need a job title and description – a purpose for the role.
‘My website is a lead GENERATOR.’
If you want better inbound marketing results, two of the primary factors to consider are content and design. Businesses must anticipate and answer customer questions to build trust, as potential customers conduct research across multiple properties (websites, social media, etc.) before making a direct connection. An attractive, intuitive design carries visitors to the information they’re seeking and invites them to linger. Analytics tools identify how visitors travel throughout your site.
Whether you’re building a new site or refreshing your current online presence, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may increase your traffic. SEO techniques are beyond the scope of this post, but I know several specialists who can help you explore the power of organic SEO and/or “paid search.”
‘My website is a VALIDATOR.’
When I write for clients in financial services, one of their primary concerns is compliance with laws and regulations. Regarding SEO, competition for permissible direct keywords and long-tail searches is fierce. (Try searching on “fee-only” plus a city. Often advertisements fill the top screen of the search engine results page.) They use their websites and marketing collateral to express their values, offerings and qualifications while much of their business comes by networking and referrals from loyal customers.
Financial services websites and social media messages are designed to start conversations, not to complete a sale.
If you’re using your website to reinforce your reputation as a strong, well-established business, do not discount the effectiveness of content and design. Your story matters, and professional design (instead of a free website) can build credibility. Error-free writing displays careful attention to detail.
‘My website is a QUALIFIER.’
Whether your site is designed to generate leads or validate your business after a referral, save time for your business and potential customers by explaining what you offer and how you help. Reduce the number of “tire-kicking,” exploratory emails or phone calls you receive by answering popular questions, after seeking legal advice as needed to add appropriate disclaimers.
If you bill by the hour for clients without “assets under management” at your firm, what are your hourly rates? If your financial services business caters to first-time investors, make that clear, or if your firm requires a minimum investment for personalized portfolio advisory services, say so. (Being specific helps visitors self-qualify and helps existing, happy customers understand who to suggest as a referral.)
Whatever role your website plays in your business, remember every word has a job to do. Focus on keywords, drop unnecessary words and use design to highlight your Call to Action (CTA). In short, make it easy for customers to find you, to travel within your site and to understand key messages.
Candace Schilling, publicist, offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.