How do you normally aim to make a good first impression? A firm handshake? A winning smile? Steady but non-threatening eye-contact?
What about people who first discover you online? What first impression does your financial website give your potential clients?
If you’re thinking that once your website has their attention, you’ll close the deal in person or during a call, you could be losing a lot of business.
Neglecting your website can mean turning off many potential clients. And those that get in touch will be cooler and harder to win over than if your website had been performing optimally.
Why Making a Good First Impression is Important
– People use your site’s appearance to make decisions.
In the digital age, with so many people checking out your website to research your reputation and ability, it’s essential to make a good impression with your website.
– We are human
While good business and financial decisions are based on facts, statistics, and mathematical probabilities, we are still human. First impressions affect our decisions, whether we know it or not.
We want to do business with some people, because we get a good feeling about them. When all other factors are equal between two firms, we’re likely to go with the firm that made the best impression on us.
– A good impression can put you ahead of the competition
There’s a lot of competition in the financial services industry. Don’t let your business suffer because you are relying on your track record, testimonials, and reputation. These will help you get more business, but you’ve got to work on that first impression too.
– Improving the quality of your site is good for everyone
The work you put into creating a great first impression will improve the quality and usability of your website for all your visitors, whether they are existing clients or not.
How to Make a Great First Impression Online
According to Business Insider, you have only 7 seconds to make a first impression in person. According to the Nielson Norman Group, your financial website has 10 seconds to get your point across.
How do you do well in the face of these statistics? By focusing on the objectives of your financial services business, and by working on high-quality design to communicate clearly and quickly with your client base.
Here are some things to consider.
– Don’t try to please everyone
Making a good impression on your customers involves understanding who your customers are. What one demographic or psychographic will find welcoming might be off-putting to other groups.
Be specific with your marketing and branding. Think carefully about your ideal customer and design your website for them. This is not excluding other types of people who may also use your services.
Target the main people you are trying to attract and let them be your standard bearers for the rest of the world.
– Tell people what to expect
There are many ways for your financial website to communicate what your business does and who it’s for. Your imagery and colors and design will speak volumes. A few words on your homepage, such as a tagline or company slogan, or your mission statement, can be helpful.
One of the top reasons a visitor leaves a page within the first few seconds is that the page did not deliver what was expected. Your page is not going to be right for everyone who visits it, but don’t lose visitors because your message is unclear.
– Don’t overwhelm your visitors
A typical reaction to hearing that you must make an impression with your financial website is to list all of the great reasons for working with your firm. To avoid losing visitors, some firms create explanations of all their services, with links, and squeeze this onto the homepage.
Depending on the design, your business, and your target clients, this could lead very quickly to overwhelm, which is a prime reason for people clicking away.
You’re likely to create a better impression by keeping things simple. Designers talk about the importance of negative space, which is the space that surrounds an object in an image. Your financial website design should give people room to think and breathe.
– Be authentic
Today’s consumers are savvier than ever. Millennials, in particular, care about the culture, ethics, and values of the companies that they do business with. Don’t try to play them.
Trust is particularly important to the financial services industry. Your financial website doesn’t only need to be genuine. It needs to sound genuine from the very start. Achieving this might mean hiring professionals to help you communicate with your target customers.
Creative imagery and natural text can help you get your message across. It may be counter-intuitive, but sometimes it takes a professional to create writing that sounds natural, so outsource accordingly.
Display your Authority
People are looking for a financial services firm that they can trust. You can communicate this quickly online by linking to testimonials and displaying your social proof.
Social proof is often explained by describing two restaurants. One has a tumbleweed blowing across the tables. The other has a queue going around the block. Which appears to be the better restaurant?
Popularity isn’t the only measure of a company’s quality, but it’s a hint. If you have people queuing around the block to get hold of your financial services and if people are coming back again and again, let the world know.
A widget that tells visitors how many people have ‘liked’ your page and offers them the opportunity to do the same can be an effective strategy for communicating and improving social proof for financial websites.
Once someone has received their first impression of your business, it’s very hard to change their minds. Don’t leave the first impression of your business to an outdated or unfocused website. With an audit or overhaul of your business’s presence online, you can stop fighting this uphill battle.
At AltaStreet, we have design professionals that understand the financial industry inside out. We will help you communicate your unique message to your clients to make a lasting first impression.
To learn more and find out why over 1K clients have worked with AltaStreet, you can contact Dan Stark.