The 7 ‘must haves’ for financial services website design

Kem Etele

Account Manager

Posted on May 23, 2016

There’s been a surge of web redesign amongst financial services organisations in recent months. And justly so – the financial industry is under pressure to match pace with the changing technological expectations of its audience and offer a user experience that stands out from its competitors.

But in the rush to get ahead, is your website grounded in best practice?

We’ve studied the sites of some of the leading B2B financial service brands and identified seven features they all share.

Whether you’re in the middle of a site redesign or considering an entirely new web build, now’s the time to check how well your website measures up.

Integrated security

We all know that marketing within the financial services sector can be challenging – every activity must follow strict guidelines. The best financial services websites will incorporate this thinking throughout their design process.

To follow their example, ensure your website:

  • Makes stylish use of trust marks and logos from relevant regulatory bodies to help inspire confidence amongst your audience.
  • Incorporates SSL certificates to allow secure connections and protect data.
  • Includes user-friendly popups to ensure visitors consciously opt-in to terms and conditions and understand risk – we’ve developed the I Agree! Popups plugin to help you add this functionality more easily.
  • Clearly highlights your business contact information and includes prominent phone numbers to reassure your audience that you’re accessible and willing to help.

Responsive design

It continually surprises us to see how many websites are still not fully mobile responsive. A truly responsive site will smoothly adjust and configure itself to any device it’s being viewed on, without sacrificing user experience or design.

Not having a responsive website now has a measurably detrimental effect on financial brands, their online visibility, and their reputation:

  • At least 50% of web traffic occurs through mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, over half your visitors could be left with a poor user experience that they then associate with your brand.
  • Search engines now penalise websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. If your site doesn’t conform to responsiveness standards, it will rank significantly lower in search engine listings.

Advancements in coding language mean it’s never been easier to create beautifully responsive websites at low development costs so, really, there’s no excuse.

Engaging content

Publishing a regular stream of informative content that’s relevant and useful to other financial industry professionals is a powerful way to build relationships, encourage loyalty, and develop a reputation as experts in your field.

Good, well-written content is the driving force behind the inbound marketing strategies that are giving financial brands a significant boost in engagement and conversions:

  • Regularly published and shared blogs will attract new visitors while strengthening relationships with your existing customers.
  • Content, and lots of it, will make you easier to find online and improve your website’s SEO. Every time you publish a new post or article, you increase your brand’s online visibility.
  • Quality content that addresses industry topics, presents new solutions, and highlights consumer pain points will establish you as an authority in your field and reward your audience’s attention by giving them information that may help them.
  • By placing social media buttons throughout your website and creating shareable, useful content, your customers can become your brand advocates. The more shares, likes and interactions you have with users on social media, the more credible your brand becomes.

Clear calls to action

Ok, so you’ve attracted visitors to your website with your amazing content. What next? The best financial services websites know how to convert that interest into action.

By clearly directing readers around the site and encouraging them to do something – usually fill in a data form – a visitor can quickly become a quality lead.

Content-driven calls to action (CTAs) offer your users premium content like eBooks, webinars, podcasts and consultations in exchange for contact information and/or personal details.

Obtaining this kind of data from users organically and willingly will give you valuable information that can help you better understand your audience. The data you collect can help you develop targeted, relevant and personalised marketing campaigns that respond to users’ specific pain points, and help you better respond to and engage with leads at different stages of their buying journey.

A search box

Again, it’s amazing how often websites miss this. A search box on your website empowers users to ask questions and find relevant answers quickly and easily, directing them to useful content they may otherwise have missed.

What’s more, the analytics function attached to a search facility will help you learn what your audience is interested in and what they’re struggling with, so you can adapt and develop your website content and marketing projects accordingly.

A live chat option

There is a growing aversion amongst users to talking on the phone unnecessarily. Live chat options with knowledgeable representatives can help to grow customer loyalty by giving them direct access to relevant customer service personnel, and encourage a dialogue with you that they might otherwise have been reluctant to initiate.

Live chat functionality will also increase the amount of time users spend on your website which will positively influence how the search engines view and rank your website.

Analytics

Websites and marketing initiatives should never be assumed to be performing simply on trust – performance needs to be measured. Using a tool like Google Analytics means that you can measure the behaviour of your visitors, measure yourself against competitors, and use the information you collect to leverage and refine your marketing strategy.

It’s crucial not to fall into the trap of seeing your website as ‘finished’: the best sites continually review and rework themselves for optimum results.

So, there we have it. These seven features combined create a strong foundation for B2B financial services websites on which holistic, measurable success can be built.

If your website is missing one, don’t wait for it to weaken your efforts. Now’s the time to make sure you have them all.

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Ten must-have features for financial services websites
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