How to create financial websites that count

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The rise of LinkedIn has created a new space for professionals to connect, but if you’re a financial professional looking to grow your client base, a networking site will not solely build the credibility you need to succeed.

Finance careers and the management of other people’s valuable savings and investments, are built on a firm foundation of trust. People work hard and they want to know that the professionals they partner with to look after their money are also working hard to secure their future.

Whether you’re a sole consultant, start-up, or established finance business, your website says a lot about you. And if you don’t have a site, potentially this says even more.

As a financial professional, a website not only helps you build credibility and trust and outlines what you do, it also shows potential clients you are a consistent and stable presence in the market. With economic downturn still impacting Australia, and the world, reassuring people you will be there, no matter what, plays a big part in their selection of a financial consultant.

These days a website is an essential part of your communication strategy. When building a business website, you also want to build an image of a reliable, qualified, experienced professional who will work tirelessly to meet the expectations of your clients. To achieve this, our experts have six key recommendations to consider.

1. Web design and implementation
When selecting a financial consultant, people undertake stringent qualifying processes — after all, your guidance could determine their future. Trust is a factor that will sit firmly as a foundation of their decision.

Ensure your site is clean, crisp and not too complex. Potential and existing clients should be able to navigate the site with ease and find what they are looking for in a few intuitive clicks.

2. Let your clients do the talking
In building this foundation of trust, it is important to remember that 78% of consumers trust a peer review while only 14% trust an advertisement. Stay away from the hard sell and instead, dedicate part of your site to real testimonials that exemplify just how reliable and trustworthy you are.

3. Be accessible
When the market takes an unexpected negative turn, it is not uncommon to hear people complain that their financial advisor is suddenly nowhere to be found. Your site is a good first step in showing them you are always around. Publishing a regularly updated calendar online (careful to avoid specifics such as client names) will also help people feel comfortable that your presence is stable. Similarly, promoting various methods of contact emphasises that you are committed to your clients and keeping them informed is a top priority.

4. Start a website and create new business
Carefully consider the style of your site and the language used. Your site can become your new business development manager if it is created with sales in mind. Be careful to avoid the hard-sell — as any good BDM would. Provide all the information potential clients need in order to know what you do, how you do it, what you value and how they can relate to you. Your site can make a first impression and a connection that you simply need to capitalise on.

5. Be a thought leader
A positioning strategy that creates the perception you are a thought leader is a good way to be seen as a reliable guide, as opposed to someone looking for extra clients to build their own income. Including a section on your site that allows for regular blogs or ground-breaking white papers will enable you to give evidence of your skills and experience and increase credibility. Your communication strategy should consider factors like search engine optimisation in blogs and white papers as this will lead to increased traffic to your site and potentially, new business.

6. Integrate your digital communication strategy and your social media strategy
Without a doubt, you already have a LinkedIn profile and potentially a Facebook page. Ensure you use your site and blog pages in conjunction with these to build traffic.

Regardless of net-worth position, clients of advisory firms expect high levels of customer service, results from their investment and overall satisfaction. Your website is a critical communication platform during the service process, therefore it must be made not only to the right calibre, but to help you serve your clients better through technological innovation and clear, effective brand presentation. Building a business website should not be undertaken lightly, as it is a major representation of your business. Don’t dive in without a plan — tie your web design and implementation in with your communication and social media strategy so all three are working together to create new contacts, expand your network, and convey your values.

With consumer and investor optimism on the rise, now is the perfect time for brokers to rethink their marketing and online communication strategy to better suit changing investor expectations and demands.

For more information about building your financial website, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.

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