For years, the humble website faded into the background, quietly working while emails zipped out, social media dazzled the business world, and live events grabbed attention with flashy keynote speakers and deal-closing conversations.
In 2020, everything changed. From local insurance offices and retail bank branches, to bank headquarters and popular steakhouses, the world stood still. High-profile events and industry conferences were cancelled or converted to virtual-only experiences. Email inboxes and social media feeds were flooded with updates, brand messages, and webinar invitations.
Many consumers were suddenly stuck at home, hungry for information and limited to the internet. A tidal wave of questions and requests hit the financial industry, sending advisors, agents and bankers scrambling to respond. With no in-person options available and an astonishing volume of inquiries that could not be met with a one-to-one approach, the importance of a broadcast approach, via personal websites and digital interactions skyrocketed.
COVID-19 underscored the increasing need for a comprehensive digital strategy that includes professional websites at the field level. But even before the pandemic, there were a number of reasons why establishing a robust website program for bankers or advisors was a long-term strategic requirement. Although there exist several website types that provide specific tactical benefits, including listing pages and landing pages, we believe the most important and impactful website is the multi-page site that showcases an advisor’s professional experience, coverage areas and credentials, while capturing leads and providing curated content.
A robust website effectively serves as a digital hub that empowers each advisor or agent to:
Welcome visitors to an “always open” digital office
Websites provide the opportunity to create a favorable first impression and share in-depth information that establishes credibility and builds trust. They allow an employee’s personality, experience, and approach to client service to come to life in a way that’s available whenever a prospect is ready to learn, whether that’s 3:00 am on a Tuesday or noon on a Sunday.
Connect the digital dots
Consumers search for information in a variety of mediums. There is no “linear path” anymore. A prospective client may start on LinkedIn, the next on Google and a third by reaching out for recommendations via an email to work colleagues. Advisors must meet consumers where they are by making information accessible across all digital touchpoints. Adding a URL that leads to her polished website across all her social media profiles (and in her email signature) achieves this.
Provide a localized and curated experience
Trust in institutions is at an all-time low, while trust in peers and local experts is at an all-time high. This means that someone is more likely to trust the advisor working with his cousin or best friend than a high-profile company that runs ads during his favorite television show. Giving an advisor the ability to connect at a one-to-one level with local prospects by promoting a local event (such as a charity drive or tailgating event), tailoring content to a specific audience (such as boaters in South Florida), and curating articles or blog posts around his or her coverage area (such as advisory expertise for generational wealth transfer or savings plans for first-time homebuyers) creates a sense of connection and personal relevance that a corporate website or program cannot.
As they say, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. When busy or anxious consumers are searching for a wealth advisor, mortgage banker, or insurance agent, they are seeking someone with the knowledge, experience and resources to help them achieve their goals. A robust website, acting as the digital hub that connects prospective clients across all possible touchpoints, is a savvy way to own that impression and stand out in the current environment.