Originally published in Advisor Perspectives
by Lauren Hong
Every three to five years. That’s how often you should be refreshing and revamping your website based on how quickly technology and design develop. Not what you want to hear? Fear not: I promise the return is worth the investment on this one.
Your website is the new billboard. It’s the new full-page advertisement in that glossy magazine. And, most importantly, it’s your round-the-clock sales team, building your company when you’re at dinner, making friends on the golf course or getting some well-deserved shuteye.
Put your website to work
Your website isn’t just a splash page meant to look pretty. When done right, it’ll work as hard as you do – and become a game-changer for your business. Here’s how:
1- Your website can streamline processes. Start treating your website as the virtual assistant it is. Enable it with contact details, fact sheets and intake forms. With just one quick visit, a prospective client should be able to a.) get in touch with you, b.) learn more about what you do and c.) get started with a service. Let your website do the hard work so that when they get to you, they’re knowledgeable about your company and already satisfied with the process.
2- Your website can educate clients. In a world with so many choices, clients like to know they’re making the right one. Make your website an online hub that nourishes your clients’ need for information. Don’t just offer insight into your company; post educational resources that can help answer questions you frequently get, and offer continuously refreshed, valuable content via your blog. Help your clients before they even ask for it.
3- Your website can inspire action to generate leads. Whether your goal is to have a potential client call you, sign up for your email list, download a whitepaper or schedule a consultation, your website should act as a lead-generation machine. Empower each page with one clear, concise call to action that inspires immediate action on the part of the visitor.
Ready to turn your website into the workhorse it’s meant to be? The time to get started is now.
Audit your website
Take a look at your current website. Ask yourself the following questions:
1- Can prospects quickly and easily navigate to the information they need? If it takes more than 2-3 clicks, the answer is ‘no’. Keep it simple. Be sure that you’re not overwhelming customers with too many choices.
2- Does it stand out amongst my competitors? It’s a crowded market out there and looks do matter. Pay attention to design as it relates to the audience you want to capture. Use your competitors’ sites to benchmark your own. Know your point of differentiation, and capitalize on it with the branding, functionality, and copy on your site.
3- Is it generating leads? Consider the way you generate and collect leads. How easy is it, at this moment, for a potential client to find your phone number, fill out a contact form, sign up for an email list, download a whitepaper or schedule a call? Essential elements like contact forms, email capture, and contact details cannot be overlooked. Put them front-and-center.
4- Is it mobile-friendly? Pop on over to your website from your phone or tablet. How does it look? Responsive websites are made to adjust to the screen they’re viewed on. With Google’s most recent update, mobile-friendliness isn’t just nice; it’s a necessity.
Once your mini-audit is done, you’ll have a better idea of where your website could stand to improve.
Here’s the good news: A refreshed or revamped website does not have to cost you a cool $40K. On the other end, I highly advise against using a template or plug-in-play website that doesn’t allow for the dynamic changes needed to keep your site fresh with content and updates. I recommend finding the middle ground with a responsive, clean WordPress site that’s user-friendly for both you and your visitors.
Use your website as your 24/7 sales support: welcoming customers to your business, offering them the opportunity to learn more and get their questions answered and encouraging them to take action.
Lauren Hong is the founder & president of Out & About Communications, a full-service marketing firm that works with financial advisors and a handful of professional services industries to help grow their business and get their brand “out & about” in their communities.