Setting out on a new website design project is an exciting time for any financial firm. It presents new opportunities to elevate the standard of your online presence, bring old functionality up to date, and bring your digital assets more into line with your marketing strategy.
Yet commencing a website design is a lot like starting a building project. Plans need to be drawn up. Goals need to be agreed on and resources established. There are many different bases to cover, and given the time and investment involved it’s important to ensure from the beginning that none are missed.
Here at CreativeAdviser, we work mainly with UK financial firms on branding projects, bespoke website designs and marketing campaigns, so we often get asked what preparation needs to go into a project brief. Whilst there are many components which need to go into such a plan, here in this article we’ll be sharing 5 crucial ones which you should consider before tendering your brief to different creative agencies in the financial sector:
#1 Establish Your Goals
Many financial advisers are familiar with this stage of their own client onboarding process. To properly help someone with their financial plan, you need to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. It’s a similar process when it comes to working with a financial marketing agency.
You might think that your goal is as simple as: “Create a new financial website.” Yet it’s important to go deeper than that. For instance, are you planning on using your website design project as an opportunity to bring several different websites together, under one roof? Perhaps you’re looking to address a sense of disjointedness between the existing website design and your company brand.
Are you looking to use the new website primarily to engage existing clients, or for lead generation purposes to attract new ones? Are you envisioning using the new website as a launching pad for future digital marketing campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn etc.?
#2 Identify Your Target Audience
Who is the website mainly for? This can sometimes be an uncomfortable question, as some managers are forced to reflect that the project is primarily for vanity purposes (i.e. they “don’t like the way the website currently looks”). Almost always, here at CreativeAdviser, we need to emphasise that a website design is primarily meant to meet the needs of your clients (or potential clients). It should serve their needs, not the subjective preferences of the company director or board.
Yet, who exactly is your audience? What are their key characteristics? If you had to describe your “ideal client”, what form would that description take? This is where you need to think about your buyer personas, to clearly define the messaging that your website design will need to properly engage them.
#3 Take a Hard Look at Your Brand
Look at your logo, colour scheme and other visual assets for a minute. Be honest with yourself and ask: “Are these as strong as they could be? Do they accurately depict the true values and character of my brand?” If so, great! The primary focus for your creative project can centre on the new website design. If not, however, then you might need to strengthen your corporate identity through a tailored branding project, before you embark on the investment of a website design. Here at CreativeAdviser, we can give you our honest opinion about whether your brand needs developing, or not. Quite often, some of our best work comes out of projects which came to us initially as website design enquiries, but came to accept that a rebrand for their financial firm was needed as well.
#4 Review Assets & Functionality
Do you have any strong staff photos on your existing website? If not, would developing these for the new website project add value, trust and credibility in the eyes of your clients? What about branded resources such as downloadable guides on financial planning, or educational/introductory videos which could sit on your new website’s pillar pages?
A website design project is a perfect opportunity for a financial firm to take stock of these kinds of assets, and consider whether they could also be developed to reinforce your marketing efforts. Consider also what kind of functionality your new website might need, to facilitate your goals. Do you want to include any integrations, for instance, to software such as MailChimp subscriber forms or a company CRM?
#5 Consider “the Afterwards”
Looking beyond your website design project, what are you intending to do once it’s launched? Many firms haven’t thought this far ahead, but it’s important to do so. Are you planning on starting a client newsletter, for instance, social media or pay-per-click campaigns which will need to link into the new website design? How will you leverage your new digital assets for online promotion and brand engagement purposes? Asking these sorts of questions can help you determine your goals for the website design project itself (see point 1 above), since it gets you thinking about the next few years of marketing rather than, say, just the next 3 months or so of a creative project.
Above are just a handful of the areas you should consider before embarking on a website design project. Financial firms have the important task of building extra trust, credibility and peace of mind for their prospects, given the potential stakes involved for the latter. By asking focused questions about your creative project from the very beginning, you can give your new website design the best possible chance of success and save yourself from needing to redesign it all again in 12 months’ time!
Interested in finding out more about how we help financial firms with website design, or want to speak to our team about your own project? Get in touch today to arrange a free consultation. You can also contact us via:
T: 0117 374 2000
E: [email protected]