Phil Bray: Your website is not your business card

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If you think your website is the equivalent of an online business card or brochure, it’s time to think again, because it could hurt both your growth and your recruiting.

I know that’s a message some people might not want to hear (especially from someone who makes a living selling websites), but it’s true and the implications for your business could be important.

There are several reasons why advisors and planners believe this myth.

First, they might misunderstand the crucial role their website plays in the journey that potential customers and recruits take to their doorstep. Second, it’s an excuse not to invest the money to update their existing website.

Either way, believing the myth will hurt both acquiring and recruiting new customers.

Here’s why…

Your website is your storefront. This is where people start to know you. This is where they pass judgments on you. And, there’s no way for you to respond, or set the record straight if they jump to the wrong conclusion.

It means you have to do it right.

Empathy with potential customers

Let’s start with new customers.

They are looking for an advisor/planner because they have a financial problem to solve or an aspiration they want to achieve. They found out about you, perhaps after a recommendation, and are on your website because they want to know if you can help them.

Also remember that there is no guarantee that you are the only advisor/planner they are considering.

They may have solicited recommendations from several people or produced a shortlist after searching Google or another directory.

That’s why it’s online, early in the decision-making process, where the competition exists.

Combined, these factors mean your website needs to understand their issues, demonstrate that you’re helping people like them, and showcase your team’s experience, expertise, and culture.

So you need to make people – both your team and your customers – the heroes of your website. At the same time, you need to give visitors the key pages they want to see.

However, too often, many of the top 10 pages that visitors want to miss on a website because the advisor/planner thinks “it’s just an online business card”.

Try doing all of the above on an 85mm wide by 55mm high business card!

Impress online to recruit a great team

Next, let’s look at how potential recruits interact with your website.

We all know that great teams make great companies. Likewise, we all know recruiting is tough right now. There is an imbalance between supply and demand.

Qualified and experienced advisors, planners, paraplanners and administrative staff likely have several options if they are looking for a move.

Therefore, you need to impress potential recruits who will almost certainly visit your website before applying and attending an interview. Again, they will be making judgments about you, your business, and whether they want to work for you.

So think about what potential recruits want to see and what will attract them to your business. Then give it to them on your website. This may include evidence of career progression within your existing team, your care for the well-being of your clients, or your investment in community and charity work.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a well-written job description either. It’s almost always the first interaction they have with your company and therefore the first chance you have to impress.

Again, try to fit all of this on a business card!

“My website is an online business card”

If you’ve ever said those fateful words or something similar, it might be time to rethink. Believing the myth will prevent you from investing the time and money needed to develop a truly compelling storefront.

And, if we’re being honest, the money it takes to build a great website will be paid back many times over in upfront costs, ongoing consulting costs, potentially a future sale, and what you could save on recruiting costs.

It’s just a false economy not to invest in your website.

Phil Bray is founder and director of The Yardstick Agency

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