Did you ever visit a website seeking information you figured would be quick and easy to find only to become frustrated as you navigated page after page, wondering where they hid the hours of operation or the company phone number?
If you’re like me, you can grow pretty exasperated as you click here, click there, peruse a drop-down menu and still come up empty.
You didn’t come to the website on a scavenger hunt. You just want what you want – a phone number, a list of services provided, an easy-to-understand explanation of what the company does – and you aren’t inclined to work your way through a maze to find it.
Think of those experiences the next time you visit your own website. Try to imagine how someone coming there the first time would react.
Can they easily find what they are looking for?
In many cases, your website is your chance to make a first impression. You don’t want to lose a potential customer or client simply because you didn’t provide enough valuable information or because of a clumsy, and easily fixed, website feature.
A website is a key ingredient for marketing your brand as a financial professional in a way that sets you apart from the competition. You can’t afford for it to fail in that mission.
But just how do you avoid failure?
Here are a few key bits of advice:
- Direct their attention. A lot of people over complicate their websites. What looks cool and what works well aren’t always the same thing. The attention span of the average visitor can be 10 seconds or less. You’ve got to grab their attention quickly and direct it to a valuable “call to action.” Otherwise, they will leave and may never come back.
- Integrate social media into your site. It’s important that visitors are able to get from your website to your Facebook page, Twitter feed or other social media sites. Most good websites have social media icons prominently displayed at the top of the home page, in the footer and on the contact page. That makes those sites just one click away. If possible, have the icons accessible on every page of your website. This is definitely a “more the merrier” situation. If you have a blog on your website, make it easy for your visitors to share your blog entries on their social media. If that sounds intimidating to pull off, never fear. You can install apps, such as Add This, Monarch or OSD Social Share, that will handle that chore for you.
- Integrate Google analytics into the site. You’ll learn how many visitors you have, where they live, what pages they visit, what time of day you get the most visitors and how long they stay on the site. Google analytics is free to install and the data you collect is priceless. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can improve the user experience and increase your conversion rate to your calls to action.
- Use the publicity you already have. Don’t let publicity you’ve garnered go to waste. Your website is the perfect marketing tool to let visitors (who could be potential customers or clients) know about the times you were quoted in a newspaper article, appeared on television or were interviewed on radio. Provide links to the articles and shows. It strengthens your credibility when people see that the media turns to you when they need an expert to comment on your topic.
Sometimes I talk with people whose websites are not up to snuff and urge them to get to work making improvements. A website represents you and your product, and your brand’s success should not be undermined by a less-than-impressive representative.
The last thing you want is for a visitor’s first impression also to become their last.
Ready to navigate!