Your website should be one of your strongest selling tools; a 24/7 presence that showcases your ability to solve a prospect’s problems and encourages them to engage with you.
But is your website doing its job?
Is it educating visitors about why your firm is different?
Is it driving leads into your inbox?
If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes” to all of the above, then it’s time to embrace a new approach to your digital presence. In this first of a multi-part series, we’ll help you examine your website with fresh eyes and better understand best practices for today’s advisory firms.
A prospect visiting your website is like a first date. Are we giving them what they would like to take this relationship to a deeper level? Or are we tossing up red flags that will have them running for the exits?
In Donald Miller’s best-selling book “Building a Story Brand,” he shares some simple yet very compelling tips on using your website to tell a story. While you may think a website’s look and feel are most important when trying to make an impression, carefully crafted messaging is primarily what sets good websites apart from the weak ones.
“The fact is, pretty websites don’t sell things. Words sell things. And if we haven’t clarified our message, our customers won’t listen.”
The Key is Clarity
When a prospect lands on your homepage, that’s a good start. But now that we’ve got them here, what point are we making?
As Miller notes, the key is clarity. Any site visitor should be able to figure it out in 5 seconds of visiting. In fact, the StoryBrand method refers to this as “passing the grunt test.” Even a caveman should be able to take a quick look at your home page and understand the value you offer!
Open up a new tab and explore the top of your homepage. Without scrolling to see any text or imagery “below the fold” (that’s an old newspaper term that referred to the bottom half of the folded newspaper; now the lower portion of your website), can you really tell who you are and what you do within 5 seconds?
Visitors should be able to answer these three questions easily:
- What do you offer?
- How will it make my life better?
- What do I need to do to buy it?
Most websites either bombard visitors with too much text or just pretty pictures without any meat on the bones. But websites that follow the StoryBrand framework showcase their message front and center with clarity and precision.
In fact, the StoryBrand mantra says… “If you confuse, you’ll lose.”
Survive & Thrive
Most prospects are arriving at your website need help addressing some sort of important problem related directly or tangentially to finances.
- They’re unhappy with their current advisor and want a second opinion.
- They received a large inheritance and need to invest it wisely.
- They recently experienced the loss of a spouse and need help planning.
- And so on…
In every one of these scenarios, when they arrive at your digital doorstep, the messaging should be about them.
“By talking about the problems our customers face, we deepen their interest in everything we offer. So what do customers do when we blast a bunch of noise at them? They ignore us.”
You need to make it crystal clear that successfully solving their problems is your specialty.
“The first mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive.”
Rather than telling the prospect all about us, let’s use our precious 5 seconds to help them envision being successful and achieving their goals because we helped them put their problems in the past.
Quality, Not Quantity
Miller encourages you to imagine your website visitor running on a treadmill while looking at your website. How long do we have before they get far too tired to continue reading? Not long!
An old adage of copywriting for the web encourages you to write the content for your website. Then cut the whole thing in half. Then, take that version and cut it in half again.
Visitors won’t give you unlimited time for them to make their decision about whether this first date is going to lead to a second one. In this busy era, people typically don’t read anymore, they scan.
So, knowing that we need to be quick while also showing the reader how we’ll help them “survive and thrive,” now we can start shaping new website messaging that will be much more effective and easier to digest.
Next Installment: The Formula for Clear Communication
In the next edition of our series on improving your financial advisory firm’s website, we’ll explore the StoryBrand formula for crafting your unique messaging by positioning yourself as a guide to help prospects achieve their dreams and aspirations.
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PS. To get your copy of the Building a StoryBrand book, click here. Be sure to add this book to your summer reading list to instantly make yourself a better marketer!