“ We’ll build you a website that converts ”, goes the promise.
“ Fantastic ”, goes the voice in your head, “ If I can get a great website that cracks my value proposition, has awesome copy, great images and lots of unicorns dancing on rainbows I’ll have a flood of new leads ”
Welcome to the digital marketing version of The Emperors New Clothes.
One of my first memories of starting with Corporate to Freedom in 2013 was unpacking some of the work underways.
Marketing was some of my favourite, a veritable line-up of con-jobs hidden in proposals and invoices.
We were a startup with $75k worth of bootstrapped funding.
Imagine my surprise when I dug into invoices pending to find a $36k bill for our proposed new website.
That was one brand of crazy we didn’t need, and soon got rid of.
Websites are a bit like pens. You can have them as cheap or as expensive as you like, yet they all do pretty much the same thing.
Thing is when I look around at most advice firms and their websites, it’s like watching people trying to make pens do the work of Swiss Army knives.
I don’t care how good your site is, if you’re not clear about what it’s not, you’ll waste money and burn through dreams.
Let me save you some money right here and now.
At the recent Momentum Media Best Practice Forum, Peita Diamantidis gave it to the crowd in words that had me dancing a jig inside.
A website has one core goal.
It’s not to book the meeting.
It’s not to educate.
It’s not to communicate vision, mission or a deeply held passion for helping people.
It’s not to show how amazingly creative your graphic designer can be or push the boundaries on the sheer number of sliders you can fit on one header.
It’s not to get people to download an FSG.
It’s not to make them watch your amazing video series on Everything You Wanted To Know About Financial Planning (hint: people who want to know everything about financial planning don’t usually visit websites of financial planners).
The core goal is simply to get the email address.
Anything that stands between that end game and your visitor is simply a distraction.
Here’s the second key point.
Your website isn’t really the vehicle that makes your visitor suddenly realise they need an appointment with you.
Some will granted, but it won’t be because of your marketing efforts. It’ll be because they already decided they needed advice, had a pick list in their head of what they needed and you ticked their boxes.
That’s not sales. It’s being in the right place and filling criteria.
Your website isn’t what happens just before you get the appointment, it’s simply a stage in the journey.
That’s why the goal is to grab the email, so the marketing can begin (or continue).
The “welcome to my world” email, instead of the instant, “convert-now” sales pitch.
The value-add articles about the real-world problems your clients are grappling with, not the “101 things you need to know about getting your super right” whitepaper.
The personal email communication inviting a discussion, instead of the mass audience “if this reads like I’m talking to everyone it’s because I am” broadcast.
It’s the first step to beginning the dialogue, which leads to trust, which leads to engagement, which leads to conversion, which leads to clients.
Let me hit you up with 5 additional tips I’ve learnt about having a great advice website.
Websites can be powerful tools, and an essential part of running a modern advice business.
They aren’t, however, instant lead generation tools.
Labouring under the misapprehension they are will end up costing wasted time, money and spread the false belief that advice can only be marketed via “traditional” means.
And that, in a fast-moving tech world, is the most dangerous sting of all.