By now, most agents acknowledge that they must have a Web site to grow their businesses. It is also evident, however, that not all Web sites provide the same results. There are significant and fundamental differences between a generic Web site and an effective, well-designed Web site. A focused, purpose-designed site provides the foundation for a wide range of successful marketing initiatives that can cost-effectively provide an agent with a significant competitive advantage. It can also provide access to a pool of prospects who have proactively expressed an interest in your services. This “pull”– rather than “push”– prospecting can be extraordinarily productive in communicating your message and attracting new customers.

The design and content of your Web site is a key driver of the success of your marketing initiatives. Research shows that it takes only seconds for first-time Web site visitors to sub-consciously “grade” the value and relevance of a site and make a decision to either flee or explore the site. That is not a lot of time to grab their attention and interest them in reading your carefully conceived content. Therefore, the design of your site must:

  • specifically address your primary target market segments and support the brand attributes you wish to communicate — e.g., professionalism, trustworthiness, attention to detail;
  • use appealing design elements such as imagery and color to highlight — not compete with — the content, help to clarify the page layout, attract visitors’ attention and maintain their interest; and
  • effectively integrate content and graphic elements to create an appealing user experience and compellingly communicate your competitive advantage and customer benefits to your target audiences.

The key is to never forget that the user is the focus of the Web site design and development process.

This article is adapted from The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing: Bite-Sized Insights for Creating Effective Approaches (Wiley Publishing), by Jay Nagdeman. For more information, visit www.SuasionResources.com.