You Don't Have to be a Technical Genius to Develop a Website
Like it or not, the internet is the source that more and more consumers are using to find out what they need to know about many products - including financial services products. So if the internet provides the information for the consumer, does that mean purchase occurs there also? Not necessarily.
The New Zealand Financial Services Council appears to think that as consumers don't know where to source advice, the internet will increasingly become the preferred site to complete the transaction.
However, the evidence in support of this seems scant and thin. Consumers may well be accessing more information online, but I believe actual product sales still take place via human interaction.
Indeed, the assertion that members of the public don't know from whom to source advice is barely credible. Several banking organisations, a number of well-advertised life insurers, and a plethora of websites, including the FSC's own site, regale the consumer with facts, figures, and calculators on a pretty regular basis.
Furthermore, the suggestion that consumers know what they want, but can't find where to get it, is similarly out of step with reality. It's an old adage that life insurance is bought rather than sold, and I suspect that the purveyors of these views have never sold a life insurance policy in their illustrious careers.
But if the NZ public is under-insured - as my old mate Gordon Watson from AIA stated last week when he was here on a visit - how can an adviser get access to those consumers who are vainly searching for good quality advice to fulfil their needs?
Well, let me suggest that one of the best ways to gain access to these neglected consumers is to be the source of the advice they seek, and as statistics indicate that the internet is increasingly the first port of call, it follows that an online presence would be a pretty good way of catching some of these lost souls.
Now, websites have been around for a few years now, and many advisers have already established good, informative, and highly interactive platforms - which again begs the question about the public not knowing from whom to get advice. However, just as many advisers have invested in expensive electronic brochures that receive little, if any, attention from month-to-month.
This is a real shame as it's pretty easy to tell by the photographs on the 'About Us' page how recently the website has been updated, or how actively the adviser organisation engages with modern technology.
But building a website isn't that hard these days, and it certainly doesn't carry the same price tag it used to a few years back. The WordPress platform is relatively easy to navigate, and the pre-set design 'themes' for a very smart-looking blog are inexpensive, and even free in many cases.
The Laird is making these comments from first-hand experience, and while far from being an expert, these series of Posts are proof that anyone can achieve a rich, professional look to their online presence without aspiring to a PhD in computing science.
One caveat to bear in mind - building a presence online takes committment, resources, and time. Maintaining a presence likewise needs regular attention - there's nothing more boring to browsers, prospects, and clients than an out-of-date or neglected website.
Nevertheless, it's worth investigating to see if your business is suited to this type of communication.
Log on to Wordpress and have a look around. One other word of warning - there is Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org - they're not interchangeable. If you develop a website at .com, you will not be able to transfer to .org later.
If you get stuck - give me a call - happy to offer some distinctly non-expert help, if I can.
The Laird of Albany