As the New Year begins and you’ve made your resolutions to get more exercise or eat healthier, we wanted to help you make sure your company isn’t falling behind in the online world. Here are our top thoughts to consider as your digital strategy evolves in 2013.
Mobile is Not Optional and Should Not Be a Standalone Thought
Many clients ask what to consider with their “mobile strategy.” We tend to take ahigher level view. Your mobile strategy should be integrated into your overall digital strategy to include the knowledge of your client and advisor base, the content and data they use, and how you present that information.
Keep Up with the Joneses (or the Amazons, or the other sites that your clients use much more than yours)
While you may think your competition consists of other mutual fund firms, the online space is a bit different. Your online presence, through its design, overall usability, and functionality (or lack thereof) helps to shape the overarching perception of your brand. While fund performance is a key reason advisors sell your products or consumers purchase your funds, you need to continually ensure that functionality,design, and usability compete, not only with other fund companies, but also with the non-financial websites that advisors and clients use daily.
Make it Easy
Are you doing everything possible to make it easy for investors and advisors to do business with you? Are you taking advantage of all of the functionality your web platform can support? Are you in touch with your service center or internal sales desk for constant feedback on trends and problems to possibly address them online? Do you have feedback mechanisms for investors and advisors that allow your web team to identify trends? These areas hold the key to where you should be focused.
A perfect example is a new function that Boston Financial is developing as a direct result of client feedback. With our new online bank verification process using microdeposits investors will be able to avoid the medallion guaranteed forms to change bank information on their accounts. This will result in higher investor satisfaction from both an online functionality and perception standpoint as well as a possible reduction in calls or other service incidents. Please contact us for more information on this feature and other E-Business functions in development.
Get to Know Your Clients and Advisors
The web provides reams of data about your customers. From the pages they visit, to location and devices used, much of the data you need to make intelligent decisions is captured as users visit your website. Are you taking this data and combining it with your CRM system to get a full view of client and advisor trends? You’ll be surprised what you find when you overlay the web data with other sales and account data.
Account for the Touch
The number of users visiting your sites on mobile devices will continue to grow. Have you optimized your online design and style guide to account for mobile users? Much like fashion, the design trends for the web are always changing. For 2013 this means small buttons and little links are out, while larger buttons and bolder text (not as images) are in. Is your website designed to be responsive to the browsing device and properly display specific functions and design elements, or do you simply serve up the same experience to every user?
The overall concept continues. Know your users, give them things “their way” and keep up with device trends. Consider the new Windows 8®; while the interface may be difficult to adjust to, it was clearly designed more for touch-based devices than the normal PC environment. Can financial services sites embrace this concept and use similar design elements to display information in different ways? We think so and it seems many sites are moving in that direction.
Content and Context Are Still King
The web continues to move towards a more open state driven by consumer demand for access on multiple devices and platforms. Meeting this demand requires opening up how content is produced and structured, allowing it to extend and flow beyond the normal confines of the web. The context of the message, the makeup of the audience, and the way it will be consumed all contribute to how your content should be structured and produced.
Connect with Your Overall Business Goals
Technology for technology’s sake is a classic trap, especially in today’s world of constantly changing trends (Facebook, Instagram, etc). Trying to keep up with these shifting trends is a challenge, but traditional business rules still apply. Always bring technology decisions back to business goals. As new technology is utilized and explored, provide actionable insights through continual measurement to make informed business decisions.