How best to market your Web site

By jessicacoenen

Relief Health Services

The Internet is a good news/bad news phenomenon. The good news is that anyone can get to anyone's Web site in the proverbial blink of an eye. The bad news is that they can leave that Web site in the same amount of time.

The goal for any financial or insurance advisor's Web site is to slow visitors down. Get them to pause, read, understand what you can offer them. Begin the process of building a relationship. So how exactly do we do that?

Let's start with understanding why people are searching on the Internet in the first place. In today's fast-paced society, passively "surfing the net" is hardly the preferred activity of those clients with whom you most want to do business. According to Pew Research, the two most common reasons people are online searching is to 1) solve a problem, and 2) seek out specific information. Naturally there is an overlap in these two purposes.

However, most advisors miss this point when they design their Web sites. Remember, prospective clients don't sit down at the computer and say to themselves, "I wonder what Hincklebottom & Schmelbrain are up to?" Granted it would be nice if they did, (especially if you're either Hincklebottom or Schmelbrain), but they don't. Rather, clients are in front of their computer, frustrated with the level of service that they're currently getting from their advisors, and wondering/hoping, "Is there anyone out there who understands my needs? Is there anyone who specializes in working with people like me?"

In other words, it's all about them -- their needs, their problems and their frustrations.

So what does this mean for your Web site? At the most fundamental level, it means that the message that you greet visitors with should not be about you. But, unfortunately, most Web sites violate this basic principle of Web site design. The visitor should not be greeted with a message that says "Since 1897, Hincklebottom & Schmelbrain has prided itself on superior customer service and client satisfaction. As the oldest family owned financial firm in the tri-state area..."

Remember why the visitor went online to search in the first place. It wasn't to find the "oldest family owned financial firm in the tri-state area." No, your visitor had frustrations, issues, problems.

What we want to do with the message that greets visitors is to convey, in completely unambiguous terms, that our target market has arrived at the right place. This is what is often referred to as the "message to market match." We want to make sure that our visitors see a reflection of themselves in all of our marketing materials. So, take a look at your current copy on your Web site. Who is it about? You or your visitor?

Remember, the Internet is just one piece of the puzzle that can help improve your business. Online insurance agents generally choose insurance products that allow a turn-key operation. This allows people to buy from you even when you are asleep. Also, the Internet is a way of getting your name out beyond your community. As you build your site on a daily basis, more and more people will come to your Web page and ask questions about your insurance products. Your response will determine whether they become a client or remain a person just seeking information.

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