First impressions matter just as much in the digital world as it does in the real world. When you meet clients for the first time, you don’t want it to be the last.
Just simply having a website and an online presence doesn’t guarantee that everyone who visits will become a new prospect. Website visitors can just as easily hit the back button and move on to the next search result if your site and branding don’t hit the right mark.
You wouldn’t want to meet prospective clients in a shabby looking office while being dressed poorly and completely unprepared for a proper consultation. People just won’t be willing to listen if you don’t put up the right image, even if you’re the most talented financial advisor around.
The same goes for your website, which will be the first thing people will see and associate with your practice.
Why First Impressions Online Matter
Foundation of Digital Marketing
Your website is the centerpiece of all your digital marketing efforts, so it should present your brand and your company in the best light possible. No matter how much you spend on increasing website traffic through organic SEO and PPC marketing, it will all go to waste if your website doesn’t inspire confidence in people.
Helps You Earn People’s Trust
You need to build relationships with people and give them confidence in your company in order to earn their trust and get their business. Your website is often the first point of contact for most people and provides that crucial first step in building a lasting relationship. A great first impression gives you a solid foundation that will allow you to easily nurture relationships with your future clients.
Helps You Stand Out From Competition
A positive first impression immediately gives you an advantage over your competitors. It makes your brand and your financial advisor practice more memorable and increases awareness for your brand. It keeps your company on top of people’s minds. The next time they need financial advice or if someone asks them to recommend a financial advisor, your name is more likely to come up.
How to Ensure Your Website Makes a Strong First Impression
Studies have shown that it only takes an average of 2.6 seconds for people to find something on your site that will influence their impression. On average, people spend about 10 to 20 seconds skimming through a site before they finally decide to leave. This means you have to hook them in and clearly communicate your message in 10 seconds if you want them to spend a couple more minutes exploring your entire site.
How do you make the most out of those few seconds? Let’s take a closer look at some proven strategies to catch people’s attention.
Have a Unique Design
It’s important to come up with a unique design that’s memorable. If your website has a generic design and doesn’t have anything else to help it stand out, then it will be very forgettable. You and your web designer need to come up with something that will make people pay attention right away.
Use Inspiring Images
The expression, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, may sound like a cliche, but images do help evoke thoughts and feelings that are difficult to put into words.
Everything from your logo, background images, buttons, banners, to your headshots need to convey the right message. They need to be professionally done and have a good reason to be on your website.
Every section of your website is valuable real estate. If your images and graphic design elements don’t align with your brand’s image, then you need to replace them with ones that do.
Use the Right Colors
The colors you use on your website will have a significant effect on people’s perception of your brand. For example, red is one of the most attention-grabbing colors and creates a sense of excitement. But it’s not generally recommended for websites for professional services. It can be used sporadically to call attention to certain design elements like call-to-action buttons.
Blue and green have a calming effect and are easier to process. Any of these two colors can be used as the main background colors for a financial website. Blue tends to represent competence and quality, while green can symbolize growth and money.
No matter what colors you choose, make sure there’s a good reason for them to be there. It shouldn’t be based on your personal preference. It’s about how your audience will react to the colors you use on your website.
Come up with a consistent style for your primary and secondary colors, as well as the fonts on your website. This helps strengthen your brand’s image, no matter what page someone ends up on.
You should also use the same style with all your digital and printed marketing collateral. This means having a consistent look for your emails, social media pages, ads, business cards, and documents.
Above the Fold Content
In order to make the most out of the first few seconds that visitors will spend on your site, it should have great content above the fold. The fold is the bottom of whatever screen your page is being viewed on. Whatever the user sees when they first load your page is considered above the fold content.
Most websites use a minimalist approach and simply have an attention-grabbing background image coupled with short but compelling copy. Any other important information they want to add to their homepage can be seen below the fold. Users are simply directed to scroll down to get more information. This technique allows you to slowly introduce new ideas one step at a time, and avoids confusing or overwhelming your site visitors too much.
Focus on the User Experience
Once you’ve managed to get a website visitor’s attention, you still need to make sure he spends as much time as possible on your site. Having a great website user interface to provide a smooth user experience lets people know that you care about what you’re doing.
Make menus easy to use so that navigation will be a breeze. Be strategic with your button placement to make your call-to-action more effective. Everything should be easy to find and navigating should be intuitive. You want to ensure that visitors can easily get to the information they want and leave with a smile on their face.
Provide Valuable Content
Once you’ve taken care of the design and visual aspects, you need to focus on your website copy and content. This is the reason people go to your website – to find out more about your company and your services.
Describe your brand, yourself, and your services in a compelling manner so that people will have more reasons to contact you. Add useful content like an FAQ and a blog section. This will help answer people’s questions and allows you to display your expertise in the industry.
Don’t settle for generic copy-pasted content. Come up with something original where you can add your own personal insights to a topic.
Don’t Try to Please Everybody
Trying to target a very broad audience is very difficult. Language and images that appeal to one demographic may turn off others.
It’s better to identify your target audience and your niche first, then tailor your branding and web design specifically for them.
One way to approach this is to target people in your city or state first. You’ll have first hand knowledge about their sensibilities and how they like to do business. They’re also more likely to go with someone who is local because that person will be easier to reach and are more likely to personalize their services.
Make Sure Your Website is Optimized
The technical aspects of your website are also just as important in creating a good impression on your target audience. All the work you put into designing the best website and filling it with awesome content means nothing if it takes too long to load or doesn’t even show up properly on different browsers and devices.
People are just as likely to visit your site using their smartphones as much as desktops and laptops. If your site doesn’t render properly on different screen sizes, it will have a negative effect on your brand. Make sure your pages load quickly so that people can see it in seconds even if they’re dealing with awful mobile connections.
Once someone has formed a first impression of your business, it’s very hard to change their minds. An audit or overhaul of your online presence can help you fight 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 1,000 clients have trusted AltaStreet with their financial advisor website, you can contact Dan Stark, or send us a message through the contact form below.