Creating a “killer website” sounds important, and it sounds like it could be really edgy and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. What it does need is to be clear.
We recently rebuilt think-legacy.com and wanted to share with you why we did it, how we did it and what you can take from the approach to make sure your website is doing the job it should.
Why We Rebuilt
We’ve had a good website for a long time. It has evolved, it has rich content, it has been pretty interactive. It was doing a good job! But there was a fair bit that it wasn’t doing and we needed to take it up a notch.
The Business Need
A website is a marketing function, but it’s not “for” marketing; it needs to solve business problems. The problem we were facing is that we could drive traffic to our site (that’s good), but we didn’t know what was most important to our guests, how they got there, and what mattered to them (that’s bad).
For our business, in addition to direct relationships, introductions and speaking engagements, we get a surprising number of leads online. Many advisors are looking for information to help them grow and so we work hard to provide that for them and then hopefully be able to build a relationship with them and work together. We get that this is different from many advisory businesses, but we also think it’s worth sharing because it may give you fresh ideas for how to interact with existing clients, or potential clients if you connect with them through social or web.
With all that in mind, and in addition to a whole lot more, we re-built our site to do the following:
- Understand how guests were using the site
- Perform well in web searches
- Clearly identify that we provide training for financial advisors that want to grow
- Provide easy access to resources that help advisors grow
- Help advisors know that our Network – The Legacy Advisor Growth Network – is the starting point for working with us, what’s included in it, and how it’s priced
- Provide a great platform for sharing testimonials (which are sprinkled through the site)
- Show that there’s a lot of depth to the growth resources, team and community
Let’s look at each of these briefly so you know what we were doing and why we were doing it…
How the site is being used
We’ve long had friendly arguments about what performs best on a site – videos, pictures, recordings, downloads, etc. So what we wanted to do was get clear on the facts. How do people actually use our site. To do that, we deployed software that tracks user behavior and produces a “heat map” of clicks and cursor movements. It helps us know what people actually click. What are people interested in? Well, now we know.
Originally, we had no navigation at the top of our page so that it would encourage guests to scroll down. What we found, however, is that people weren’t scrolling very far, so, we tested adding some navigation at the top of the page. And look at that – lots of clicks and now people were seeing other content areas of the site – areas we were hoping they’d explore.
Tracking may sound a bit “big brother-ish” but if you had a retail store, would you watch where people go and set things up to make it easy for them? Of course you would. We did, and now we’re able to present more relevant information more easily.
Perform well in web searches
We didn’t just want to come up at the top of the list when people searched for The Legacy Companies, or Legacy. We wanted to come up at the top when people searched for a need or problem that they had.
Using Ubersuggest, moz.com and Google Analytics, we found that there was quite a bit of traffic for “Financial Advisor Training.” Now, there were two ways we could show up better when someone searched for that – we could pay for an ad placement that would put us at the top of the list, or we could do some work with search engine optimization to show up near the top of the list.
There is a ranking scale for the difficulty of doing both and in this case, it was actually a lower difficulty ranking to build organic search response, rather than pay for an ad. The reason is that many other people are paying for “financial advisor training,” so there is a lot of competition for that phrase. Competition = Expensive. But what people hadn’t been doing is optimizing their site for the phrase. Essentially, people have been throwing money at “financial advisor training” rather than doing the work to legitimately provide info about the phrase.
With that in mind, we started shifting our language and optimizing our site for those key words. In the first few weeks we saw a major jump in our rankings for that phrase and now we’re able to interact with more financial advisors who want to find training resources, whether they are live, online, coaching or community.
We’ll keep tracking this so that we know how well we’re doing in staying relevant to our market.
Clearly identify that we provide training for financial advisors that want to grow
Niche market is important – critical. One of the things we’re worked hard at, is identifying what kind of financial advisors are our sweet spot. We can help most advisors and advisory firms, but who is the perfect advisor for us? Who should we put all our effort into trying to develop and deliver meaningful message?
Advisors who want to grow.
Growth can present itself in a variety of ways, but at its core is an advisor who wants to evolve, be better, produce better, serve clients better. Our niche are growth-minded financial advisors.
With that in mind, we highlighted this criteria throughout the site, but definitely named it up front. The sub-title of the site is actually our Bridge Talk™ and says, “Legacy helps financial advisors grow their business.”
We renamed Courses to be Growth Courses, and Coaching to be Growth Coaching so that advisors who want to grow know that they’re in the right place.
Immediately below the landing page video and title, we added a section that says, “We’re not for everyone.” We then go on to name that we work with, “financial advisor who wants to grow” or “you’re responsible for a group of advisors” so that people know our focus, and the focus of the site.
We talk about our Growth Network, have testimonials about growth, and talk about how our courses, coaching and speaking services contribute to advisor growth.
It seemed like we were overdoing it at first, but a bit of feedback told us that we weren’t, and web traffic, analytics and guest behavior told us the same. We’re clear about our niche and it’s helping us create even more, niche traffic.
Provide easy access to resources that help advisors grow
In the new site, we added resources that could be used immediately. When advisors want training or ideas or tools, they want them now – we all do. So we handled this in three ways.
First, the content that’s on the site should stir thinking so that advisors can start to develop their own ideas of things that can help them grow, without ever having to engage us.
Second, our blogs are aimed to provide useful content that one can act on. Advisor training doesn’t always come in the form of a course, sometimes it comes through suggestion and just sharing a new perspective.
The third is by providing downloads and tools that are useful. We have a ton of content, but there are two key things that have been useful and popular. The first is called The Best First Meeting Ever. Advisors want to have great first meetings and so we took some key elements out of our IGNITE course and put it into a 12 page .pdf that tells you exactly how to do it.
The other tool we shared is the Financial Advisors Guide to Virtual Meetings. With social distancing, advisors needs some guidance and the result has been a steady download rate of about 75 per week.
Useful. Easy to find. Relevant. It works!
Help advisors know that our Network – The Legacy Advisor Growth Network – is the starting point for working with us, what’s included in it, and how it’s priced
Over the last few years, we’ve shifted our business and that created some confusion in the market for how to engage with Legacy. That confusion left a lot of advisors and institutions interested, but not acting.
That has shifted now and people are learning that, to work with Legacy you join the Network. Everything we do is delivered through the Legacy Advisor Growth Network and the website now makes that much clearer, and most of the site is dedicated to explaining its value and how to engage with it.
Provide a great platform for sharing testimonials (which are sprinkled through the site)
When you want to say good things about yourself, you can’t. You have to have someone else say them for you. But the question is, “how do you do that in a way that’s compelling but easy to make happen?” We ended up choosing to use a tool called Endorsal.
It allows us to send a link to a person who wants to provide a testimonial, and then allow them to complete it, add a photo, name, comments and a star rating all in a simple form that can be easily plugged into our website and social feeds.
It’s easy to work with, easy to administer and not too in-your-face 🙂
Show that there’s a lot of depth to the growth resources, team and community
We wanted to show web visitors that there is a lot waiting for them on the site. When financial advisors are looking for training and coaching, there’s a fine line to manage between showing how much you can help and overwhelming a person to a point where they don’t feel they can take action on things.
To address that, we used smaller segments on the website with bulleted lists, and then the ability to download .pdfs of additional content if they wanted it. If someone is a high fact-finder, we have facts and data for them. If they are a quick-start, we give them enough to act on and then make it easy to join the network with clear green buttons. If they are process-minded, we show them the step-by-step of how best to engage.
On top of that, there are deeper resources on the site about our Partners, downloads, speaking, blog articles and more.
This isn’t a throw-the-sink-at-them approach. It takes some thoughtful design consideration, which takes it all the way back to the niche: advisors that want to grow that are looking for financial advisor training resources.
Websites are good
Websites are good. We think, in general, it’s important to have one that confirms your credibility and shows you know your market. What we laid out here are some of the key things to think through for your site, and they certainly have made a difference for ours. Feel free to use the ideas here and in the rest of our materials.
And keep growing!