5 commonly asked questions by Financial Services
How to have a stand-out online presence
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Bloomtools has designed and developed thousands of websites for all sorts of businesses across all different sectors. In addition, Bloomtools has helped many clients to establish a successful and productive online presence by implementing digital strategies that go well beyond merely having a beautiful looking website.
The Financial Services sector is one of the most active and competitive markets. This group also recognises the value of having a stand-out online presence in order to attract qualified leads. Yet, despite the varied nature of Financial Services (Accountant, Financial Planner, Wealth Advisors, Mortgage Brokers etc) we have found something very common amongst them all.
They all have a common set of questions about setting up a functional, productive and stand-out online presence.
In this blog, we thought we'd share with you these questions and our simple and effective solutions.
Here are 5 commonly asked questions by Finance Professionals who are looking to establish a stand-out online presence.
Question 1 - How can I reflect a professional online image?
Remember that your prospective client will most likely first check you out online before making any contact. This is either through searches on Google for your service offering and even if your business was referred to by another i.e. word of mouth.
Furthermore, research has shown that that once a visitor lands on your website, they will make judgements within the space of 5-8 seconds as to should I stay or take off to another site.
So first impressions really do count - it's in those 5-8 seconds that a visitor forms opinions about you and your business.
A professional online image is very subjective and 'professionalism' varies from one business to another. For example, an automotive mechanic's online presence will be very different to that of a financial planner.
However, there is the one simple rule to follow; your online presence needs to reflect you, what your business does and who you want to talk to.
Sounds simple, yet so many times we see websites trying to copy another's style or wanting to have the latest and greatest gadgets, yet they fall short of connecting with their target visitor.
If the visitor 'feels' connected to your online presence, then you have succeeded in coming across professional for your target customer.
Also remember, the overall look of your website is an instant reflection - if it looks old, has lots of small text to read, complicated looking - you can guess what they think of your business.
Question 2 - How can I make sure a visitor takes action on my website?
We live in an age of instant gratification - thanks again to the Internet.
When we search for information online we want the answers to be front and centre - very rarely will we go searching for it in long winded articles or on busy websites.
So when a visitor lands on your website, you need to give them what they came looking for without any effort on their part and most importantly, the visitor must 'feel' they've come to the right place.
Some simple steps to follow:
- Use headlines, images/graphics and stand-out text to highlight key points you want to get across. This is particularly true if you have a niche target market.
- Be clear on what you do - what are you offering and who is it aimed at. So many financial websites use images that are not appropriate for their business, for example, an accountant using an image of an athlete running has no immediate meaning or relevance.
- Following on from the point above, use images that reflect the type of visitor you are wanting to attract, for example, if you're an accountant or financial planner targeting millennials, then use images and pictures that speaks to this group.
For a visitor to want to take action on your site, you must answer these questions;
What do you do - am I in the right place?
Do you work with People / Businesses like me?
What makes you different - what's unique about you over others in your industry?
Why should I contact you - have you overcome my fears and doubts?
How can I contact you? Clear standout calls to action, strategically placed within your website design and content.
Question 3 - How can my financial business be found on Google?
Being found on Google organically is not a quick and simple fix. Unless your business is truly unique and you have no competitors, you will be competing with thousands of similar businesses who are all vying for the visitor's attention.
Google uses 'bots' to search and index various pages of a website. For a web page to show up for a particular search term, it needs to be seen as being RELEVANT and AUTHORITATIVE by these bots. This is all about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which takes time and persistence.
However, there are simple steps you can take to ensure Google at least finds you and indexes your web pages;
- Your website must be built on a platform that Google can read and the website needs to be developed with proper coding techniques. If you already have a website, use our website grading tool to see how well it's built.
- When Google bots read your website, the web pages need to have effective page names, titles, meta descriptions, links and alt tags (for images), that tells Google what your website should be ranking for. These elements need to be properly set up and reviewed yearly to ensure they are relevant.
- Finally, Google My Business is a free Google business listing service and is great for organic SEO. Set up an effective Google My Business page that includes; business description, business contact details, relevant photos and images and most important, customer reviews.
Question 4 - How can I appear high in Google rankings for my financial business?
Being found by Google is one thing. However, appearing high on Google search is another. These are two of the most common objectives for any business regarding their online presence.
Once again, being found and appearing high is all about proper SEO.
As mentioned earlier, getting ranked by Google is all about a website's Relevance (content) and Authority (what other websites think about your website). In the financial sector, where there is a lot of competition it is important that you are on top of this, to be found.
Some simple steps to improve both the Relevance and Authority of your website include:
- Regular content; users going to your website will rate you based on how they gauge your level of expertise, this is particularly important in the financial sector. Google does the same, and a website that has content added on a regular basis and that is informative, will rank higher than a similar business site that does not have fresh content. Fresh and informative content is about improving the Relevance of your site. Consider adding a Blog to your website
- Backlinks; Google also wants to know what other sites think of you and do they see your site and it's content as a good source of information. Earning and building good backlinks does take time and patience, however, there are other ways to establish backlinks in order to help with your site's Authority. On top of these directories, more importantly, get your business listed with a good short phrase on industry sites, associations, alliances, community groups you support etc.
- Finally, while you work on SEO strategies, one way you can guarantee being seen on Google is through paid advertising. If this is something you are keen to learn more about, get in contact with us to see if this would work for your business.
Question 5 - How can I keep my clients and generate more referrals?
Did you know that 78% of clients will leave a business because of perceived indifference!
In other words, clients will leave a business because they felt ignored and unloved by them.
This is very sad indeed. Why? Because there is no excuse for not looking after your clients and giving them the attention they deserve.
As sad as it seems, this is one area many clients struggle with - and it's probably one of the easiest areas to fix.
How? Stay in touch with your clients.
It can be difficult or even impractical to schedule a regular face to face visits or even phone calls with clients for the purpose of catching up and staying in touch. Typically the client may not have the time to do so and in some cases, you may not either.
However, there are other ways to stay in touch.
Email marketing has proven to still be the number one way to stay connected with your existing and prospective customers. Research has shown that customers prefer a company to communicate with them via email.
There is so much information a finance professional has to offer and through a proper email marketing strategy, a business can stay in touch and hence stay top of mind with their clients; you can share stories, regular tips, ideas, other client successes and of course, provide information on other financial services offered by the business.
And yes an overload of emails can be frustrating and at times can lead to negative consequences, however, as mentioned earlier, a properly developed and executed email marketing strategy will yield more positive outcomes.
By staying top of mind with your clients, you are also more likely to have them refer you to others as and when the need comes up.
So there you go, 5 common challenges faced by clients in the financial services sector and simple solutions to address them.
Want to find out more? Contact your Bloomtools consultant today.
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