Websites are the gold rush of the 21st century.
By the end of the year, 2016 proved that digital storefronts are not only essential to business, but that they are eclipsing the value of brick and mortar shops altogether. Thanks to cutting-edge chat bots and the rise of virtual reality, websites are increasingly becoming more of an experience rather than a mere destination.
Websites also look more attractive than ever, and when coupled with interactivity, these digital domains are capable of turning an incredible profit. The same principle holds true for financial advisors, many of whom have witnessed the opportunities a strong digital domain can provide.
As the new year unfolds, what trends can we anticipate in the world of websites?
4 Must-Have Homepage Elements for Your Website
Making sure the homepage of your financial advisor website grabs the attention of potential clients and retains their interest can greatly impact your firm’s success online. If website updates are on your plan for the next year, you’ll want keep these things in mind.
Use Real Photos, Not iStock
“It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” This adage holds true especially for website homepages. We live in an increasingly visual world where sentences are summed up with infographics and videos are reduced to GIFs. More than even the craftiest content, your homepage’s lead image will inspire an indelible emotion in your viewers.
There was a time when stock photos were in vogue, helping give websites a professional and detached appeal. Those days are over. As viewers get more savvy in the digital sphere, they can easily spot models and phony photographs a mile away.
Instead, bespoke pictures give an air of legitimacy that a stock photo can’t match. If you work in a metropolitan area and want to feature a photo of the skyline on your homepage, use the view from your office. If you work in a rural area and have a community clientele, use that to your advantage and feature pictures of local vistas and Mom and Pop shops.
Keep it real with your pictures, especially on the home page.
Go Bold with Homepage Layouts
Website customization is more important than ever. While templates will always retain their value, a tailored website is engineered to inspire.
As the marketplace grows inevitably grows more cluttered and competitive, truly original websites will rise to the top. There’s a reason why visionary web designers are the VIPs of the digital world. If Van Gogh were alive today, even he would be dabbling in websites.
Customization starts with the layout and carries through even to the typeface. The days of size 12, Times New Roman font on the home page are being replaced by dynamic and loud, large text. It’s like a billboard on your homepage.
Then again, the pomp and circumstance of photos and typeface rely on another key component…
Write Creative and Consistent Content
Content isn’t just a king. It’s a dictator that demands a seemingly infinite supply of material. Frankly, the phrase “content is king” can create a panic of inundating the market with copycat articles and white papers simply to check the “output” box.
For financial advisors not particularly interested in becoming the next Buzzfeed, breathe easy. Feeding the content beast is more about quality than quantity. While you and your clients will undoubtedly benefit from curating your own blog, start with honing the messaging on your homepage.
Above all, prospective clients want to learn about your experience, your values and your leadership. Each of these areas can be addressed right out of the gate. Put that big and bold typeface to work with a catchy slogan, then follow it up with a pithy paragraph or two about your history and your mission statement.
This is the foundation of your content messaging. By incorporating Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and a consistent approach to your blog, you’ll notice a marked increase in traffic and conversions.
For an extra boost with your website content, Advisor Launchpad can help create customized copy to deliver your message to clients.
Incorporate Videos on Your Homepage
Every minute, over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. It’s clear we have an insatiable appetite for content, and this trend is hugely valuable for advisors.
The financial industry is a business of relationships. When choosing their advisors, clients invest in people, not just firms. That’s why a personalized video on your homepage can be the best way to “meet” prospective clients.
While the written word is one-dimensional, videos capture your total essence. When faced with the choice of reading or watching, most people will choose the latter. Videos from third-parties about particular services are important, but the introductory video is selling you. Unleash your personality and give viewers a chance to imagine you as their advisor.
As we discussed with stock photos, authenticity is everything, especially in the financial world where trust is so integral to success.
Optimize Your Website to Attract & Retain Clients
Your home page is the most important part of your website. It should be able to stand alone in the eyes of clients as the primary showcase of your firm. The rest of your site, from the services section to your biographies, is just icing on the cake.
As you look to 2017, remember that websites are becoming more of an experience, not just a digital storefront. By building creative layouts and valuing authenticity in your photos, videos and content, your website will have its most dynamic year yet.
About Advisor Launchpad
We provide a comprehensive website solution for your financial advisor firm. If you’re interested in rebuilding your website for the new year, we’d be happy to help. Contact us to design an online presence that impresses your clients today!