Driving more business from your website

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1 For financial intermediaries only. Not approved for use with customers. Driving more business from your website Why have a website? Most businesses recognise the importance of having a website to give them an online presence. A website gives you another channel to reach a new audience, and provides a good sales tool for your current customers as well. You can use your website to tell people about your products and your expertise, share news, information and build contacts. You could collect contact data by asking people to sign up for updates or a newsletter, for example. You could also ask people to register to access online tools such as a retirement income calculator, or downloadable guides. How to drive more business from your website We ll help you make the most of your website presence so you can tap into the benefits of marketing to this huge group of increasingly internet savvy retired people and generate more retirement or equity release leads. We can also help you make best use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO is all about making your website visible within search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN. A website is also a good way to provide your customers with 24/7 access to your business and many people enjoy the convenience of gathering information online when it suits them. Reasons for a small business to have a website: Credibility. Cost effective way of marketing. Convenient for the customer. Increases your geographic reach. Can be used to build a data base. Websites can be set up very easily. Many domain names are free and offer free design templates to help you get started. However, if you want a more specific domain name and design then you ll need the help of a marketing agency to create your site and purchase the domain. A professionallooking website will always reflect well on your business. It is vital that when you are planning and implementing your own marketing and promotional activity you follow the rules and guidance set by the regulator or other relevant authority.

2 Checklist Steps Things to do Done Decide on the purpose of your website Provide easy navigation Follow a simple, consistent design Do you want to provide information, generate leads, or both? Make sure your website is written and designed to achieve your goal. From your home page, visitors should be able to find any content they want within three clicks. Don t forget, good navigation is also determined by how obvious the clicks are. For example, the navigation is always on the left or at the top. Follow conventional design rules if you confuse visitors they will quickly move on. Ensure it displays on tablets & mobiles Provide relevant content Avoid special effects Make it easy for people to contact you Do your research As more people use portable devices for searching the web, it s important that your website renders correctly on tablets and mobile phones. Good content is informative, well presented and up to date. It needs to be short to maintain interest, but long enough to cover the essentials. Things such as flash introductions, busy backgrounds, flashing icons, and hit counters should be avoided. In most cases they are annoying to the customer and can prove to be a maintenance headache for you too. Make sure you have your phone number and contact details on every page of your site. Study the competition and see what you could do to attract more customers. Set up high quality links to market your website Keep your site up to date Keep compliant Websites need visitors! You could add a link back to your website from another relevant site. Remember that one good link is worth more than 10 bad ones as that could damage your listing. Updating your site with fresh news, articles and case studies will encourage visitors to return. If you can t do it yourself you could pay a web development company to update your site on a regular basis. Make sure your website is clear, fair, not misleading, and complies with legislation. Be sure to display risks as well as benefits to adhere to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines. Ensure that: 1. Information is presented in an accurate, clear and balanced way. 2. Risk information, where required, is placed clearly and prominently. 3. The website s customer journey enables key information to be accessed easily. Regular reviews and updates of your website are vital to stay compliant. Here are ten key issues to check when running a compliance audit on your website: 1. Do you have appropriate terms and conditions of use in place? 2. Do you collect any personal data via your site and if so what is it used for? 3. Do you use data for or mobile marketing? 4. Does your website make use of cookies? 5. Is your Intellectual Property adequately protected? 6. Do you provide sufficient information about your organisation and its products and services? 7. Who is your website aimed at and what services are you offering? 8. Do online trading terms cover all key points? 9. Are you dealing with businesses only, or do you deal with consumers online? 10. How accessible is your website? 2

3 Could your website work harder for your business? 1. Does your website collect contact information? You can use your website to collect contact details including addresses. Provide a clear prompt for someone on every page. To motivate people to register their details, incentivise their decision by offering free seminars, articles, newsletters, guides, downloads, blogs, or access to restricted sections on your website for more information on retirement or equity release. Include a privacy notice about how you plan to use the personal data they provide and allow them to opt-out of receiving any marketing promotions. Under the Data Protection Act, when capturing such information, you need to be clear about how you intend to use it. For example, if you plan to send marketing messages to people who register on your site, you need to state this clearly at the point that they register their details with you, and provide an easy method for them to opt-out. This isn t just a guideline but a legality, so make sure this is in place before capturing the data. For more information, visit the Information Commissioner s Office website. 2. Will visitors understand your key messages? If you have something worth saying, repeat it. If you want to promote yourself as a retirement or equity release specialist, make it clear on your homepage and have a direct link to a section on your website covering each of these topics. To test your website, ask a friend or an existing client: What is the key message on the site? Is it easy to use? Would it encourage them to make an enquiry and hopefully become a new customer? 3. How interactive is your website? The big advantage of web marketing is that it can be more interactive than brochures or leaflets. People will be more inclined to use your site if they feel they can engage with it and you! To make your site more interactive: Create a Frequently Asked Questions page. Your answers will be informative for potential customers and help establish your expertise in the areas that you work. Include an enquiry request form. Give people real reasons for filling out the form such as: Find out how to get the best income in retirement, or, Find out how much money you can raise from your home today. Treat personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act Make it easy for someone to make an enquiry Too often enquiry forms are hard to find on a website. Include a link to your form on every page. Set up an auto response to send people a confirmation stating you have received their request for information. Ensure that there is a process in place for answering these enquiries in a timely manner and if you promise to respond within a certain time, make certain that you do. Provide users with engaging tools such as calculators and free downloadable guides. Include a customer testimonial page. Quotes from clients are powerful marketing tools and may help reassure potential clients. Be sure that you have all the required permissions to use client testimonials, including use of their name. Ensure you update testimonials frequently to prevent any becoming out of date or irrelevant. Include educational videos. You could film a short video telling people about the services you offer, the areas you specialise in and the benefits of talking to an adviser when making financial decisions. Video content can help with your search engine listing. 3

4 4. Do you market your website on and offline? As well as putting your web address on all your marketing material such as letters, brochures, business cards, and mailings there are lots of ways to promote your site online: Register with directories like Yell.com or ThompsonLocal.com. Make sure your business is registered with Google My Business Link your site to relevant directories and portals such as unbiased.co.uk. These are great places to register your business details and get seen by potential clients. Optimise your site for the search engines this means making sure you have content that is relevant to your clients, so that when they search under a particular term, such as retirement advice, your website is higher up the list of websites returned. To do this, check you have the relevant keywords in your text, set up your meta tags on each page, and limit the use of animations, large images and Flash. A meta tag is an element, usually built into a website s underlying code, that enables a search engine to categorise your website more effectively. Buy Pay Per Click (PPC) ads on search engines like Google. You can request that your web address appears on Google when someone searches a key phrase such as equity release adviser. Your position in the list (your ranking ) is determined by how much you ve bid for a particular search word compared to other businesses. This can be a cost-effective way to get targeted traffic, because you only pay when someone actually clicks on the link, and you can set limits on the total amount that you are willing to pay (see below for more information about PPC). Remember hypertext links and banner ads could be financial promotion materials depending on their content. If they are, they must be clear, fair and not misleading. Where they are product specific, they should provide a balanced indication of the product or service, the risks and commitment involved. Banner ads are online advertisements that run on a website and when clicked on, link through to the advertiser s own website. They are a useful way to direct traffic to your website. Look for relevant sites that have a high volume of traffic from your target market and find out if you can pay to place a banner ad on them. Create a banner which draws the eye and motivates someone to click. Write articles for others to use in their newsletters. Other businesses and charities that issue newsletters to the over 60s may welcome a contribution from you as an expert on income in retirement or equity release. Ask them to include your web link and phone number. Issue press releases to local or regional papers and include your website address details. Install a signature on your that includes your web address. Send a regular newsletter to all your clients who have given you marketing permission to do so. Include links to relevant articles on your website. Ask visitors to bookmark your site so they can easily return to your site at a later date. Include a Recommend to a friend icon on every page of your website. 4

5 5. Does your website work with your other marketing activity? If you re running a retirement or equity release or direct mail campaign, why not create a landing page on your website? A landing page is the web page a customer lands on when they click through from your marketing campaign or type in the web address from a letter. While an or direct mailing can attract the customer s interest, it s the landing page that should motivate them to contact you. Follow these tips and you should be well on your way to improving your response rate: Be consistent. It s important that the look and feel of your landing page fits with your other marketing activity. Provide useful, meaningful information. Make sure the text on the landing page builds on your or direct mail including for example, a more detailed explanation of how equity release could help, together with some hints and tips or qualifying questions. Make sure your message is clear. Once customers reach your landing page don t offer them too many options. Avoid links to other areas of your website. Build trust. Bear in mind that your prospective customer may never have heard of you or your business when they reach your website. Provide quotes from testimonials, case studies, or worked examples. If you are capturing information from clients, make sure you tell customers how you plan to use their data, and allow them to opt out of all future communications. Track your results. Some tracking tools are free, such as Google Analytics a measurement tool that lets you measure your advertising return on investment (ROI) as well as track your Flash, video, social networking sites and applications. Analysing your results is a good way to know whether your pages are working. Paid-for listings Paid-for listings (Pay Per Click or PPC advertising) are a highly targeted form of marketing. Targets are not cold prospects they are people who are already searching for what you can offer. So the lead stands a good chance of being converted compared with those from other forms of marketing. Unlike other types of advertising, there are no significant upfront costs in terms of media buying, print, or creative costs, you simply bid on key search words and phrases relevant to your business. Successful companies are then listed in order of bid price search volume and competition, in the paid for listings search results on major websites and portals. You only pay when a prospect actually clicks through to your website. Using Pay Per Click advertising Managing multiple search engine accounts and adjusting bids on hundreds or even thousands of search terms can be time-consuming so you could ask an agency to manage this for you. Alternatively, you could create your own accounts at one or more of the main UK Pay Per Click search engines: Yahoo Search Marketing Google Adwords Microsoft Advertising/Bing Most search engines will provide you with a range of tools to help you refine your SEO campaign. Major search engines like Google and Bing will let you look at the type of people who are clicking on any keyword by age, gender, location, or time and day of search. This will help you choose the best-performing keywords. 5

6 Free organic listings Organic listings involve the use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to achieve a good ranking. You can employ a specialist agency to do this for your website or do it yourself. Websites that appear on the first page of a search engine are there because the content is highly relevant and the site is well visited. Google, for example, will rank what it deems to be the best, most relevant content first. If you want to run your own SEO, use the steps below to improve your website rankings. 1. Prepare your keyword list Think about how your customers might search for your service and the words they would use. Most of the big search engines have tools to help you do this. You can also find free tools by searching on the internet under free keyword tools. Use these tools to develop a comprehensive list of keyword phrases related to your business. For example annuity and equity release. Other phrases to think about that might be relevant to your business: Income in retirement. Retired or retirement. Annuity advice. Enhanced annuity. Equity release advice. Equity release plan or equity release. Home or homeowner. Mortgage or lifetime mortgage. Unlock capital in your home. Retirement options/retirement planning. 2. Put the keywords into your web text Once you have your keywords ready, you can begin writing the text for your website keeping these in mind. You only need around 3-5% of your text to include keywords as search engines will penalise your website listing if you are seen to be keyword stuffing which is including certain phrases and words too many times. Starting from a place of creating relevant, interesting content will always work more in your favour. Keywords are also covered by financial promotions rules and need to be fair, clear, and not misleading. 3. Build your page titles (title tags) The page title or title tag (what the webpage is called) is one of the most important elements of your page. Search engines put more weight on the page title than any other single element of your page. With most browsers it becomes the default name if the page is bookmarked. The page title should ideally include your primary keyword. It appears in the top tab on the web page and also as the underlined blue hyperlink when the web page comes up in a search query on a search engine. Your title page should Ideally contain the primary keyword phrase for that page. Try to keep it to a maximum of 66 characters. 4. Keep your pages as relevant and content rich as possible Things such as videos and longer text that s highly relevant are now favoured by search engines. Make sure you include sub-headings that tell customers about what s on the page so they can scan down to particular areas of interest. You ll have a much better chance of getting and keeping a top ranking with good quality, regularly reviewed content. It gives the search engines more to review and rank. Watch your competition Have a look at your competition and the terms they use in their page title (this is the text that appears on your website listing when you do a search on Google). Click on the top ranking websites and look through their pages. What keyword phrases do they use? Where do they appear and how often? 5. Create a good system of internal linking Make sure you can get to any page on your site within three clicks. Create a site map with links to all of the pages within your site. This will help search engines to properly index your site. When you create your internal links, try to call the link the actual keyword phrase that you will be targeting on the page you are linking to but remember to make sure it is relevant within the context of the page. Many search engines look at the visible text of a hyperlink as a description of the target page. If the visible text matches the focus of that page, it will help to give that page a boost in the rankings. 6

7 6. Build your site s external link popularity The top engines do look at link popularity when ranking sites but it helps to remember that the relevancy, quantity and quality of links is important. One link from a quality site is better than 10 links from poor quality sites as this can adversely reflect your rankings. 7. Monitor your rankings Check your ranking on a regular basis. Search under free search engine ranking report for free software to help you find and monitor your website rankings. If your position drops, look at the sites that have overtaken you and see if you can determine why. You can then make adjustments accordingly. 8. Stick at it! Give yourself time to get used to SEO. Keep track of your progress, analyse the competition, and adjust your keywords and website layout. It can take up to three to six months for a new listing to appear. In the source code of the page: Write the title tag making sure that you include the primary keyword. Write the description tag (meta tag/meta description) using both the primary and secondary keywords. This is very important for your through rates. On the web page The first paragraph should be a summary of the overall page and include both the primary and secondary keywords ensuring they are within the context of the sentence and the page. Write the heading and subheading to contain keywords. Once you have your list, rank the phrases in order of importance starting with your most important keyword phrase. Make the most of your keyword phrases From the keywords you have chosen for the retirement or equity release sections of your website, pick a primary and a secondary keyword that you want to rank well on. Kick-start your online campaign It can take a while for an organic listing search campaign to come to fruition, so you might consider using paid for listings at the beginning of any SEO campaign to start driving traffic to your website. For more marketing guides and free sample marketing material, visit: Remember that all marketing material should be fair, clear and not misleading to comply with the Financial Conduct Authority rule requirements and ensure that you continue to treat customers fairly. You can find out more about both of these requirements at financial-promotions. 7

8 Just Retirement Limited. Registered Office: Vale House, Roebuck Close, Bancroft Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7RU. Registered in England Number Calls may be monitored and recorded, and call charges may apply. Please contact us if you would like this document in an alternative format /2015

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