“Having prospects look at our website is like having me walk into a client meeting in sweatpants.” This is the way a successful financial service professional described to me how she felt about her firm’s outdated website. The comment came from a well-established investment banker, who also happened to be a woman. I say this because she is the only woman at her firm in this professional capacity, with an enviable track record, and it seems even more of a reason the firm would want to heed her cry for an updated website. Women like her are not exactly easy to find in a male-dominated industry. To put it another way: it’s reasonable to presume she was hired not only for her financial experience and expertise, but also to add diversity. Oh, and by the way, she also spent her early career in marketing, so she has a good grasp on the foundations of that field as well.
She used this colorful description to not only emphasize how this professional service firm’s website was hurting them, but also to tell them that a strong referral source had told her the same thing. He almost didn’t refer a piece of business to her because their website paled in comparison to that of their competitors.
This illustrates just how important a strong and vibrant website is to any professional services firm. Regardless of what field you’re in — law, finance, real estate or another professional service — websites matter. This financial firm’s website is not the worst we’ve seen; however, it does not come near to reflecting the caliber of the firm’s financial services professionals. Many of their competitors’ sites outshine them.
To this firm’s credit, they have engaged someone to work on their website, but it remains unclear what that means. Will they be building new website or just updating this one?
I won’t argue with the fact that redoing a website can be a Herculean task, made all the more difficult in legal and financial service firms, which often approach the undertaking by forming a website committee. But getting a new website up and keeping it current and fresh is critical. And once it’s up, maintaining it through a continuous process of enhancing it so that it reflects your firm in the best way possible is mandatory.
The moral of this story? Your website is the gateway to your firm. Social media has many benefits, but for the most part, all roads lead back to your site. Shouldn’t it tell the best story possible?