6 MIN READ
A successful financial planning firm needs to be visible. Having a quality website is the best way to ensure that potential customers can find you, learn what you do, and request your services when they need them. You need to build trust with potential clients, and show off your credentials without being too brash.
Yet the idea of putting together your own business website can be intimidating, particularly if this is something you have never dabbled in before. But don’t let that put you off: creating a website is easier than you might think. The following tips will help you build a site that not only strengthens your brand, but caters to the ever-changing needs of your customers as your business grows and evolves. Here's how to rock your web build from start to finish.
The most obvious place to start is with the visual design of your website. The overall look and feel of your web pages will directly influence the way your brand is perceived by your customers. This means you need to think carefully about how you want to come across, and implement those ideals throughout the design process.
Everything from the color scheme to the style and placement of your logo makes a difference, so take the time to run through each element of your web design and consider whether it fits with the image you have in mind for your brand.
You will probably want to highlight your personal credentials and reliability, so creating a faceless and abstract brand won’t cut it here.
Customers will make a decision about your website within moments of visiting it, so first impressions count. To get the best results, you should continuously optimize your design by split testing individual features and keeping an eye on data such as bounce rate and exit pages so you can determine which areas of your website may require improvement.
As a financial planner, you want to build trust, so choose clear and simple color palettes and visuals. You won’t want too many competing colors or visual messages. Go for a tried and tested website theme or design that’s likely to tick all the modern web design boxes.
Make Yourself Known
When someone lands on your website, you need to ensure that they can determine who you are and what sort of services you offer immediately. As such, your website should have clear branding, and an easily located 'About Us’ page. This section should set out the overarching aims and aspirations of your business, along with some additional details on who you are and how your business got started.
This gives potential customers some background to your business and helps separate it from its competitors. Remember, you are not running a faceless organization. Trust is extremely important when discussing financial matters, so it helps to show potential clients that you are open, honest, and aboveboard.
In addition to ensuring that visitors can quickly find your About section, you should also make it as straightforward as possible for them to get in touch. Make sure your ‘Contact Us’ section is easy to find and includes a range of options, including an email address and phone number. It’s also a great idea to include a form that users can use to contact you directly without even needing to leave your website. For busy potential clients, a quick autofill form is a great way to send an inquiry and set up an initial call without having to waste time typing up a custom request or email.
Your ‘About Us’ page should be 0% robotic. Steer clear of excessive jargon; be friendly and approachable instead. You want clients to feel like they’re dealing with real people who are likely to have a great customer service ethos. Talk about your credentials, but talk about who you are as well.
Add Something Extra
To create a website that your customers want to keep coming back to, you need to offer something more than just promotional material and brand-focused content. There are a range of simple, but effective, tools that you can embed on your website to provide additional value to your customers.
For example, why not include some simple calculators for matters like pensions or repayments on loans and mortgages? These tools can help customers get a sense of what to expect and help them make a preliminary decision, which can inspire to seek further financial counsel. If they are already on their website when they make that decision, they are all the more likely to seek that counsel from you, as opposed to your competitors.
Shore Up Your SEO
You probably already know all about creating high quality content for your website to increase its value and visibility. However, you should also be thinking about your industry niche and the search terms that will lead potential customers to you.
Once you know what your target audience is searching for, you can work this into your content and into your web design as a whole. Just don’t over do it, and always to take care to use keywords naturally. Don’t force them in where they are not required.
On top of all this, you should also adjust the metadata of your web pages. Carefully chosen page titles and page descriptions directly impact how your website appears in search results, so it is vital to keep an eye on this aspect of your marketing.
Think about the wording of your titles, as well as subheadings and even anchor text. Keep in mind that you want your business to be easily searchable and your website to be as simple as possible to use.
This can be a competitive niche for both PPC and organic search, so spend time focusing on more descriptive (long-tail) search terms. If you have a specialism or unique take on things, then you need to write about it in order to get the SEO benefits. It pays off to shout about what you do.
Leverage Social Proof
As a financial planning firm, you need to be able to show that you offer a high quality, reliable service. Yet there’s no guarantee that potential customers will simply take your word for it. This is where social proof comes in.
As there are regulations and rules related to financial planners sharing testimonials, you will need to tread carefully when it comes to showing potential clients and customers what you can do. Go into detail about the potential benefits your advice can bring, and play around with different possible scenarios in your web content.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
The steady increase in the popularity of mobile browsing means that having a mobile-friendly website has become a must for any online business that wishes to remain competitive. In fact, as of 2017, the proportion of global web traffic generated via mobile phones surpassed 50%, and this figure is continuing to rise in 2018.
To optimize your website for mobile devices, you could use responsive web design. This involves the use of style sheets and responsive elements that allow your web pages to restructure according to the size and type of display being used.
Alternatively, you could create accelerated mobile pages, or AMPs. These use a restricted library to strip down the code used in a website’s design, making it easier and faster to load. The AMP library is open source and is backed up by a variety of helpful tools and guidelines to facilitate implementing these pages on your website.
When people are busy, looking for urgent financial help in the local area, you want your site to come up. So it’s worth spending some time checking your mobile SEO results—like how well you perform in the local map listing and whether you have any local reviews. It’s possible to get a lot of local business if you thoroughly consider the client experience and factor that into your designs.
To determine how mobile-friendly your existing website is, and to find tips on how to improve it, you can also check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You simply enter your URL and the tool gives you a breakdown of elements that may be hindering your website’s mobile functionality.
Creating a great website doesn’t need to be a mammoth undertaking. Simply focus on strong branding, accessibility, and providing information, tools, and services that are useful to your audience.
Also bear in mind that you do not need to implement all of your ideas for your website on day one. It is far better to get a functional and appealing website up and running than to delay because a particular feature is proving to be problematic.
Once your website is established and running smoothly, you can invest time and resources into optimizing your design and adding additional elements if required. Remember, if web design isn’t your strong suit, you can always seek professional advice or support to get things off the ground.
About the Author
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and brand marketing consultant. She writes for Victoriaecommerce. Check out her tips for running a successful ecommerce brand from anywhere in the world.