Saturday, November 2, 2013

Websites For Financial and Insurance Advisors - Does Yours Help Build a Relationship?

The internet is a good news/bad news phenomenon. The good news is that anyone can get to anyone's website in the proverbial blink of an eye. The bad news is that they can leave that website in the same amount of time.

The goal for any financial or insurance advisor's website is to s-l-o-w visitors down. Get them to pause, to read, to understand what you can offer them. Begin the process of building a relationship. So how exactly do we do that?

Let's start by discussing what you don't want to do and what is the most common failing of websites in the financial fields. Fortunately some of the more common mistakes can be easily avoided.

Let's start with understanding why people are searching on the internet in the first place. In today's fast paced society, passively "surfing the net" is hardly the preferred activity of those clients with whom you most want to do business. According to Pew Research, the two most common reasons people are online searching is to 1) solve a problem and 2) seek out specific information. Naturally there is an overlap in these two purposes.

However most advisors miss this point when they design their websites. Remember, prospective clients don't sit down at the computer and say to themselves, "I wonder what Hincklebottom & Schmelbrain are up to?" Granted it would be nice if they did, (especially if you're either Hincklebottom or Schmelbrain) but they don't. Rather, clients are in front of their computer, frustrated with the level of service that they're currently getting from their advisors, and wondering/hoping, "Is there anyone out there who understands my needs?" "Is there anyone who specializes in working with people like me?"

In other words, it's all about them. Their needs. Their problems. Their frustrations.

So what does this mean for your website? At the most fundamental level it means that the message that you great visitors with should not be about you. But unfortunately most websites violate this basic principle of website design. The visitor should not be greeted with a message that says "Since 1897 Hincklebottom & Schmelbrain has prided itself on superior customer service and clients satisfaction. As the oldest family owned financial firm in the the tri-state area..."

Remember why the visitor went online to search in the first place. It wasn't to find the "oldest family owned financial firm in the the tri-state area." No, your visitor had frustrations, issues, problems.

And that's what you want to focus on. That's what you want your message to convey. It can be something as simple as, "If you're similar to many of our other clients, your needs for financial services are unique. Your issues are more complex and involved, and require the services of a firm that takes a holistic approach to serving the affluent market."

Now obviously I just made the previous statement up, largely off the top of my head, but I'm sure you can see my point. What we want to do with the message that greats visitors is to convey, in completely unambiguous terms, that our target market has arrived at the right place. This is what is often referred to as the "message to market match". We want to make sure that our visitors see a reflection of themselves in all of our marketing materials. So take a look at your current copy on your website. Who is it about? You or your visitor?

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