We’ve all heard the cliché about first impressions coming with no second chances.
Yet while financial services firms often invest heavily in a welcoming office space, or high–end business cards, their websites frequently disappoint. A poor digital shop window will turn potential clients and customers away.
New FinTech businesses launch every week, offering alternatives to traditional financial products and services. With competition increasing, financial firms must deliver a satisfying digital experience or risk losing business.
When someone lands on your homepage you’ve got 10 seconds to engage them, to make them want to know more. To any financial firm with a website, here are three things you need to get right.
First, take the outsider perspective
You know your business really well. You’re immersed in it every day. Most people visiting your website, however, will know little to nothing about what you do.
Putting yourself in the shoes of someone seeing your company for the first time isn’t easy but it’s crucial when it comes to how you define yourself online.
Do you use language that’s accessible to your target audience? Is important information buried by your organisational structure?
Good web design and copywriting involves seeing things from your clients’ point of view and helping them understand, quickly and easily, what you’re all about.
Second, master complexity
We’ve come to expect complexity when we arrive on a financial website. But your audience shouldn’t have to wade through walls of text or navigate complicated menus to find out what they need to know.
Good visual hierarchy is key to managing complexity. A well–designed website helps visitors digest information in an order that makes sense. Your main offer should be emphasised, and additional information should be introduced in a way that doesn’t weaken or distract from your core.
This sounds obvious, but it can be tricky to get right.
The AA has mastered visual hierarchy really well. You can buy loads of stuff via their website, from insurance to driving lessons. But it’s obvious from the big yellow button on the homepage what they primarily want you to do – buy breakdown cover.
The AA’s website is like a shop filled with great products, without everything it sells displayed in the front window. They lead with their biggest seller and invite customers in to explore everything else for themselves.
Third, be distinctive
Financial websites are typically awash with design clichés: dark blue colour palettes, traditional cursive typography and stock photography.
Photos of fake handshakes won’t persuade people to trust your business. In a sea of similar looking websites, there’s a real opportunity to use distinctive design to stand out.
Unexpected colour palettes and interesting graphics will set you apart from your competitors, and make people remember you.
Showing personality with creative design needn’t be scary, as Ruffer LLP, a serious financial institution, proves. Ruffer’s playful illustrations are in keeping with its company values; original, quirky, and old–fashioned.
Your website is a reflection of your company.
If it’s cold, confusing and overly complex, people may conclude that’s what you’re like too.
As you consider your firm’s online presence, start with the outsider perspective. Do the hard work to master complexity. And don’t be afraid to be distinctive.