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Do nothing (no site) or very little (an old outdated site). By 2015 every practice should have a relatively new website to ensure the practice looks up-to-date, clients see their advisers using technology, a good impression is given to potential clients, and it will help with searches in Google. Business is being lost otherwise.
A new website (up to 2-3 years old) but it’s not responsive to device size and only provides information like About Us, Our Team and Services. This site does nothing to promote client use, does little in Google and it definitely can’t be used to implement marketing strategies. Many Practices are at this point.
A responsive website with a Newsletter added and both are put in front of clients every 1-3 months. Marginally improved on Pt 2 but only 6-8% of clients read so 90% are left with no extra benefit or added value. This option offers no real help to implement marketing strategies such as maximising referrals and client retention. Many Practices are at this point.
A website that may be responsive but includes 5-7 interactive services for clients. This option is the first where an investment is made in clients but almost always there is a lack of coordinated use accompanied with a poor communication strategy. Again minimal return by way of helping to maximise business growth and it will not help retain clients. It does, though, offer added value for the more active clients and in a small investment in overall client satisfaction.
A proactive practice. A responsive website, 5-7 interactive services to cover all client types (readers, researchers, paranoids, budgeters, etc), and a good communication strategy. The site is put in front of most clients every month (consistency is imperative). This option begins to maximise referrals (80-90% of new business) and improves returns from sales channels such as Google, social media, seminars, sponsorships, ads, etc. The key is consistent marketing and the range of interactive services which, even if not well used, still generates the huge benefit of promoting the fact the practice offers added value. Other benefits also become available like helping to make Review meetings more rewarding. This option begins to make your clients your best salespeople and costs far less than many think to do.
Adding the extra efficiency and value of a Vault system. This is often done along with the interactive services noted in Pt 5. A Vault does three more things: One, it stimulates extra visits to the site (extra education and selling opportunities). Two, it improves the efficiency and management of file handing and distribution. Three, it helps better meet new Privacy Principles and promotes the idea that client data security is one of the practice’s highest priorities. Your site can also become a repository for personal information such as Wills.
A website becomes a Digital Office where the aim is to have everything digital effectively completed through the website. Added to Pts 5 and 6 is a Practice Development Portal, one that incorporated a smaller Secure Client Portal. In this case, staff are logged on all day; referral partners are registering new clients; clients are dropping in to leave files, pick-up files, retrieve files; staff are sending marketing campaigns; and Advisers are using tools to help the planning process. A ‘digital office’ will help make a practice more valuable.
A variation on website usage is to have one that covers multiple sections of a company with sub-sites. An Accounting example is Future Wealth Centre and Pembertown Accounting.