Commercial Finance Websites: 10 things you just gotta have down

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What should a commercial finance website be? You must think it should be a boring piece of online sales collateral that has no chance of helping you do much of anything. And after reviewing hundreds of your websites, we must say if that’s what you’re after…great work.

But on the off chance that that is not the target you are aiming for, here are our thoughts:

  1. A website must smash the visitor over the head with your differentiated message to the market (value proposition) – don’t feel confident about your message, you might want to get on that.
    1. The need to understand first, what you do
    2. Second, how you do it that sounds really cool and unique
  2. A website must speak specifically to the audience you are targeting and put their issues out front.
    1. If you target private equity, talk to issues of deal flow, minimizing equity injections to make the acquisition close by leveraging creative debt structures, etc.
    2. If you target landscape equipment dealers, talk about making the most of seasonsal buying activity through financing
    3. You get the idea, but by putting their issues out front, they immediately recognize you as someone who is at least trying harder to understand who they are if not even be an expert at helping their business
  3. A website must be easy to navigate and have relevant navigation
    1. Again, put the audience first here and work to understand the categories of info they are most interested in
    2. Contact or the ability to learn more should be overwhelmingly obvious
  4. A website should be an invitation (and in no particular order…)
    1. An invite to learn more about solutions
    2. An invite to contact someone
    3. An invite to connect with you on social media
    4. An invite to be smarter than you were before they visited
  5. A website should be the ultimate call-to-action-resource
    1. All collateral, articles, ideas, solution info, bios, etc. should live on the site…and pretty much only there
    2. Your email, social media, advertising, etc should all drive back to the site
    3. For those in the smaller ticket areas, simple applications are necessary
  6. A website should get someone to think
    1. You must put regularly thought provoking content in a section on the website
      1. News, blog, articles, infographics and the like
      2. Frequency is absolutely critical…at least 3x per month
    2. Case studies and really important because they force the visitor to ask, “could that be me?”
    3. Be careful not to overdo the calculator thing. It can be great…just make sure it works for your business and your value proposition
  7. A website should follow the rule “write less, write better”
    1. Don’t write too much, just write better. People have no attention span. A strong navigation allows people to easily find interesting content just with headlines and soundbites.
    2. Don’t sound like a finance geek. Translate your technical finance structuring brilliance into English and more people will connect with you
  8. A website should be visually interesting
    1. Why are you all so committed to “white space” and bulleted small fonts that say the same things as everybody else? Color, imagery, etc…all good.
    2. The site MUST be responsive (meaning it adapts to whatever device it is featured on)
  9. A website must be updated and work
    1. Countless times we are on websites in the business that have dead links or functionality that doesn’t work. You wouldn’t run a restaurant where every 4th chair was broken. C’mon guys, pay attention.
    2. Still featuring that press release from 2010?!?!?!? At this point it’s doing you more harm than good.
  10. A website must be important to you
    1. 78% of financial decision makers go to a provider’s website before AND after a sales call.
    2. 43% of financial decision makers have disqualified a finance source after reviewing their online presence
    3. 71% of financial decision makers validate a salesperson’s cold email or call on the website before they decide to accept that phone call
    4. You must make the ongoing development, redevelopment of the site a focal point of your business development strategy. It is the ultimate validation tool for your business

We’ll, did you pass the test?

These are just the really necessary things, there are far more really important items that go into a great long term web strategy. Notice, content and messaging seem to be more important than technical gizmos.  Hmm.  If you every have any questions about making the web work in commercial finance…give us a holler.

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