Your website is probably the most essential tool you have when converting prospects or retaining existing clients. It should be a place that clearly explains the services you provided while also offering value. The keyword there is value. I will give you five easy things you can do today to evaluate how your website brings value to your business and what you can do to make your website a lean, mean, converting machine.
1. Understand the Performance of Your Website
The first step in evaluating your website is understanding what's happening behind the scenes. I suggest putting your website URL into this website grader, powered by HubSpot. This free tool will provide you with an initial overall performance review:
- Speed: Is your website loading quickly? Are the interactive points on your pages loading fast enough
- Your level of SEO optimization: Is it being indexed by search engines? Do you have meta descriptions?
- Mobile performance: How does the site perform on a mobile browser? Is it legible? Responsive?
- Security: Will visitors be able to trust your site? At the end of your evaluator, HubSpot offers a list of what you should do next and even a free course so you can begin to do it yourself.
If you want to get more in-depth with your site performance, I suggest adding Google Analytics to your site (check out this quick how-to here). If you already have Google Analytics set up, then create a few dashboards that can quickly demonstrate KPIs to help you understand your visitor behavior. These KPIs could include metrics like traffic, conversions, acquisition, etc.
Are you already feeling overwhelmed? Hire a professional to help. You can hire a local agency or try Fiverr.com to find a freelancer that can help you with a quick tune-up. You would be surprised how much the initial investment will pay off for you in the long run. If you are converting leads from your site and see this as a fundamental tool of your business, it can outweigh the cost of getting your site set up correctly.
2. Simplify Your Navigation
There is nothing worse than a website that's hard to navigate. Keep it simple and have no more than seven main items in your navigation. This number does not include drop-down menus. Your navigation should be easy to find, easy to read, and easy to use.
A good rule of thumb is that users can access any point of your site within three clicks or less. Maybe your navigation is listed as "About Us," "Services," "Resources," and "Contact." Under resources, you could have your "Blog" and "Free Downloads" listed. If a visitor navigates to the "Blog," they should easily be able to navigate to your "Contact" page or a "Free Download" if they prefer. Be as descriptive and concise as possible when creating links. You want your visitor to stay on your website while also finding what they are looking for.
3. Design is Important, REALLY Important
After looking at your website's back-end, it's time to look at the front-end. Have you ever heard the phrase "You Eat With Your Eyes First"? This saying also translates into people making a buying decision based on their visual impression. Your website is your chance to make a first impression if you don't have the opportunity to do it personally.
Do you have a headshot? Is it professionally done? How old is it? These are all reasonable questions to ask. The first thing that can make your website feel personal is including an image of yourself. Your headshot should also reflect your personality. Are you more casual, or do you prefer to be more professional? If you're aiming to be more relaxed, you might opt for a photo of yourself laughing or perhaps outside. If you're more serious, you might choose to wear a suit and have your photoshoot in a studio. Whatever the image you are trying to portray, make sure it is modern, professional, and a reflection of your personal brand.
While we're on the track of imagery, make sure your website includes high-quality images. You can use stock photography to make the visuals on your website more dynamic. I suggest you stray away from cheesy stock photography and try to use imagery that reflects your brand. Looking for some sites that offer good stock photography? Check out Death to Stock, Pexels, or StockSnap.
After adding headshots and modern looking photography, make sure you have enough white space on your website. White space is incredibly important. It breaks up your page and increases your readability. It makes your entire website more visually appealing, and it's an easy way to improve your website almost instantly. This article from justinmind.com will give you some examples of how to tactfully use whitespace on your site.
Most importantly, you should have a website that is mobile-friendly and responsive. It's predicted that 72.6% of people will use their mobile device solely to access the internet by 2025. There's no time like the present!
4. Make Sure Your Messaging is On Point
Messaging is so important. A visitor should know which problem you solve within the first five seconds of visiting your site. From there, they should be able to quickly locate how you provide a solution to that problem. Start with writing some one-liners about your practice. I love this resource from the book "Building a Storybrand" by Donald Miller. It's quick, easy, and anyone can do it. This article is another great resource that walks you through creating engaging one-liners and provides examples. Once this exercise is complete, you're halfway there. You can then apply this same principle for writing headlines on the content to follow.
The rest of the value-packed content that fills your website comes in many forms. This content includes white papers, blog posts, guest blogs, and infographics. Your content should be focused on how you can help your niche market solve their problems. A general rule of thumb for producing content is that you should reuse and recycle it into three different channels/forms. For example, when you write a blog, you should also turn it into a social media post and perhaps a downloadable one-pager.
Doing a brain dump of all the questions you get asked by your clients is an easy way to produce content. For example, you could create an FAQ page based on these questions. Are you looking for resources around topic generation? I love this site answerthepublic.com, type in a term like "retirement planning," and see the most commonly asked questions centered around the topic.
Now that you have a great list of topics to write about, you want to pick a format that converts. We love to use case studies because our audience wants to know how other advisors are successfully using fee-for-service. Chances are your clients are interested in success stories based on your services. Social proof is powerful, and case studies are a way to promote your services and brag about how great your clients are. Other formats we love are how-tos, industry guides, and checklists.
5. Get Prospects to Convert With Forms and Calls to Action
You now have a website with clear messaging, and you're producing content loaded with value for your prospects and clients; the next step is having that content do the heavy lifting for you. Anytime visitors interact with your content, they should be prompted to take action to further themselves down the funnel.
First off, is the option to schedule an appointment with you readily available on your website? The fee-for-service client tends to lean a little younger; the more accessibility you offer for contacting you, the better. Set up a virtual scheduling calendar using a free service like Calendly. You can make your scheduling link available on your site while also including it in any prospecting email or regular client email. Creating virtual access to your services is an easy step to open up the opportunity for more client conversions. At the very least you should have your contact information on every page of your site. Even better if you can include a contact form in the footer.
Diving deeper into your website's content, you'll want to make sure there is a call to action on your content. Are you pushing your visitor to interact with more content or trying to get them to book an appointment? Consider where a prospective client might be in their buyer's journey when visiting that specific piece of content and then try and push them to the next stage. For example, you might have a blog titled "10 Reasons You Should Have a Financial Plan Before Having Kids," at the end of the article, you could push them to a landing page where they can fill out a form for downloading a "Financial Plan Prep Worksheet." After they download that piece of content, you have captured their information, allowing you to follow up with an email, including the option to book an appointment (with your new calendar link) to discuss the content they downloaded.
You've just converted a prospect from the "attract" phase of the buyer's journey to the "engage" phase. Now it's up to you to "delight" them and convert them to a client. Fortunately, your content has done most of the heavy lifting because you know your prospect is already interested in your expertise.
I know I've just given you quite a bit of information or perhaps created a long list of to do's for you. My goal is to help you see how your website is one of your tool belt's most essential tools. It's a vital part of the customer buying experience at every point of the process. I promise you can get through these five things; you will have a website doing the attracting, converting, and delighting for you.
Posted by Lena Haines
Lena Haines is the Director of Sales and Marketing at AdvicePay and is widely known for her creative expertise. After graduating from Montana State University in 2012 with a BFA in Fine Arts and focus in Graphic Design, Lena went on to work at a boutique marketing agency. There, she gained her experience in management and implementation of inbound sales and marketing strategies. After seven years, it was time to try something new, producing large-scale corporate events out of Orlando, FL. More recently, humidity and career growth inspired her to make the trek back to Bozeman, joining the AdvicePay team. While sales and marketing functions are her primary focus by day, Lena also enjoys stretching her creative muscles doing improv or hiking with her dog Jasper.