With the economy at remaining low levels, a natural inclination is to tighten belts and avoid extra expenditures, and I think if I’m honest nowhere is this (unfortunately) seen more widely than in our very own Financial Services sector. But as markets shrink, I believe it’s even more important for your company to attract new business and equally retain current clients.
So what’s the most cost-effective method of promotion? Well, personally I think a website as…
WHY A WEBSITE?
First of all, the public (and your clients) now expect businesses to have a website, one that can at the very least, supply basic information and a means of getting in contact. A website has become nearly as essential as a telephone or business card.
But apart from fulfilling the public’s expectations, a website will also help your business increase profits.
Interestingly, people now search the web significantly more rather than the Yellow Pages or similar when looking for a service or product and recent research by technology firm Greenlight showed the growing importance of online search to firms specifically in the financial industry, particularly those related to mortgages. In their survey of 540 of the most popular search terms used by UK consumers for financial products, 58% related to mortgages. What is even more interesting is that of those people searching using mortgage related search terms, the most popular search term was ‘mortgage calculator’ (21%), followed by ‘mortgages’ (11%) with ‘buy to let mortgages’ and ‘compare mortgages’ on 9% each.
If they don’t find your business represented, they will find your competitor’s!
WHAT CAN A WEBSITE DO FOR ME?
A few examples of immediate, practical benefits:
Expand the effect of a printed advert. The addition of a website address to an advert, even a very small one, means that anyone intrigued by the advert can immediately access much greater amounts of information about your company. The effect is heightened considerably when you add interactive tools to your site that a customer feels of value.
Save time and money. Much company time and effort is often wasted by repeatedly providing the same information either by phone or in person. Have a section on your site that provides answers to frequently asked questions, but also have an easy to find contact us for when they do need to speak to someone.
Make it easier for potential customers to find you. Include a detailed road map on your site, and make things even easier for customers by indicating available parking – Better still, simply link the map to Google or Bing maps.
WILL A WEBSITE MAKE MY BUSINESS IMMEDIATELY MORE SUCCESSFUL?
Does a phone, or business card? All are tools for communication and promotion, but need to be used effectively. On the other hand, neglecting to have one of these tools can put your company at a serious disadvantage. No company operates without a phone. A website, and the services it can provide, is equally essential for a 21st century business.
To get some indication of how immediate your need for a site is, check out the web presence of your competitors. None of them have websites yet? Lucky you, you’ve not only got some breathing space, you also have a good shot at being the first to attract new markets. Your competitors already have websites? Get to work, FAST!
It’s also worth mentioning that your website will be working for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, providing real value for that enquiry which came in whilst in bed or on holiday!
GIVE ME SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW A WEBSITE WILL HELP MY BUSINESS
The possibilities are limited only by imagination and budget, but below are some real benefits that can be provided by even a very basic website product.
You! This one’s for those that don’t know who you are. Give a little information on you. Your potential customer will expect you to have certain qualifications, so let them know what they are, but briefly. If you have hobbies and interests, let them know what they are. Show, or in fact tell your customers that you have a life, you’d be surprised how well this can bring a site to life and make it personal to you.
Have you had good reviews/ testimonials? Reprint them on your site.
Show your menu of services. Sounds simple, but how else will a customer know what you can offer them?
Include a map, which shows the location and parking.
Looking for employees? Post the positions and let prospects contact you by e-mail.
WILL I BE ABLE TO AFFORD A WEBSITE?
In short, yes. Our websites are designed to be very affordable. However, perhaps a better question to ask, is not;
‘Can I afford to have a website?’
‘Can I afford not to have one?’