Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to this week's Facebook Live event which is all about how to improve the health of your website and get more leads.
I'd like to welcome those of you who are watching live. It'd be great if you could just post a quick “hello” in the comments, so I know that all the tech is working as it should be. If you're watching this on the replay later on today or in years to come, then, hello to you as well. As we go through, do feel free as well commenting to put any questions in the chat as well. I'll do my best to answer those as we go through. “Hello, Paul, nice to see you.”
If you're watching this on the replay and you've got questions, then still put them in the comments. I will keep an eye on this post over the next few days and try to answer questions from those of you who are watching it after the event.
If you don't know who I am, my name is David Miles. I'm on a mission to help mortgage brokers and financial advisors to be able to generate their own leads through their own websites and online channels. So, they don't have to carry on buying leads from third-party lead gen companies.
Now, obviously if you are generating leads online where whatever method you're using. Whether you're using things like Google Ads, Facebook Ads , LinkedIn, or any other options out there. One of the most important aspects of the whole equation is your website because all those things, Google, Facebook, etc., ultimately, they are all sending people to your website.
If your website isn't up to scratch, then, you could be sending all the right kind of people to it. However, if the website isn't optimized in such a way as to convert those visitors into leads, then you're not going to get the return on investment that you would hope from those advertising and marketing campaigns that you're running.
Even if you are not doing any paid advertising online, it's still really important that your website is up to scratch because you'll be directing people there yourself. Through conversations you have, through giving out business cards or people who recommend you to their friends, will most likely result in someone visiting your website. So, if the website doesn't look as good as you want your business portrayed and if it's not set up in a way it was going to give the right kind of experience that encourages people to make an inquiry, then you're going to be losing out.
What we're doing in today's session, as I think most of you already know, I invited people to send in links to their own websites. I've picked a handful of them and I’m going to give those sites a quick audit to look for the good and the bad points. I will mostly focus on the things where there's areas for improvement. What I'm looking for is to give you some quick wins that you can implement on those sites, which will increase the number of leads that they generate.
We're not talking here about wholesale or complete website redesigns. We are talking about just simple small changes, which can make quite a big difference. You'll probably find even if yours isn't minor, besides has been selected, you'll probably find that there are.
As we go through the event today, you'll think that you’re doing that same thing on your site. If you are, then obviously, implement the same kind of fix and you should also see improvements in your results as well.
I'm just going to switch over to the first one. Hopefully that is now appearing on screen.These are in no particular order. You will probably find that we talk more about the first one or two than the others, simply because there'll be some things where the same issues crop up on multiple sites.
Whose site is it? Ian's site, isn't it? So, if we do spend longer talking about your site than some of the others, don't take that personally. I'm just going to refresh the page here. This has got a carousel thing which has been flicking through to two different pages. Just refresh it, then, this is what someone would see when they first arrived on the site.
I've picked this as the first site to look at because it has one of my, sort of, pet hates on there. That is the fact that the first thing you see when you arrive on the site is this message saying, “Welcome, to AIMS Financial.” It's something I see on quite a lot of sites, “Welcome to-”, and then, the name of the company or they say, “Welcome to our website.”
The reason I had such an issue with that, if you think of the website as a plot of land, you're basically taking a really valuable piece of real estate there. That's the first thing that people's eyes land on when they come to the site and you're wasting that valuable real estate with a statement that doesn't really do anything useful or add any value. I always think it's strange.
I've said this in a lot of different contexts. Some of you may have heard me say this before, when people are doing stuff for their website, they go into this sort of ultra polite kind of mode and start saying, “Welcome!”, “Thank you for dropping by.” or this kind of thing. Yet, I'm sure if you were sending out a mail shot, you wouldn't start it with, “Welcome to our mail” shot. For some reason when it comes to the web, people go into this sort of slightly different way of talking.
I can only assume it comes from sort of the old days of the web, back in the mid nineties, when actually getting to someone's website was quite an effort. You've got to get your dial up modem working or connected. You've got to find your way across the internet pre-Google and you'd get to these websites.
It was quite an achievement and you might want a nice welcome, but nowadays, when it's just you're there with the click of a button that seems a little bit overkill. What should I do there instead? Many of you will have heard me talk before about value propositions.
What should be in this space here, where we've got this welcome message at the moment, is a value proposition. One or two sentence statement, which sums up what you're about and which answers the three key crucial questions everyone will have in their mind when they arrive at your site, whether they realize it or not. Those questions are being; where am I, what can I do here and why should I stick around and do it.
I will show you some examples from other sites in a moment but a good value proposition to answer those questions would play a really key role in making sure that people don't bounce and leave your site and go somewhere else. We start to get into it a little bit more and we get into the things about completely independent advice and stuff. Again, it could be a lot more powerful. That was the first thing there.
Then we get down here too. Now, we're coming more into the kind of thing that might have the makings of a value proposition about it. We've got this sentence here which says, “AMS is an innovative, independent practice of like-minded individuals that can help chart the best course with a plethora of financial products in the marketplace.”
I'm exhausted just getting through that sentence. Then, what is it? What is it actually saying? There's a lot of words there but what message or what meaning is it actually conveying. I think the thing is, really though, it doesn't answer any of those questions, however, it answers the question of “Where I am?”.
I'm at a Financial Advisors’, well actually, I'm going to independent practice of like-minded individuals. Though, it's not even a hundred percent clear that I'm at the website of an IFA. Also, it doesn't really tell me what I can do there. Why I should stick around and do it rather than clicking the back button, going back to Google and trying someone else instead.
I think a much simpler and more plain language is needed here in this messaging. Even things such as “like-minded individuals”. Well, does that mean that all of you who work at AIMS are all like-minded and all similar to each other? Or, Are you trying to save it that you are similar to me, your potential client? I imagine when you're trying to save the latter but it doesn't necessarily come across like that.
And then, we come down to the page a bit and we've got them all to see. We all have a selection of different products and services laid out. Then, that's quite nice. Actually, we can now finally start to see what it is offering. It's quite clear and I like the fact that it's with icons illustrating each one and whatever.
Let's go into the Mortgage. I know a lot of people on this call are only mortgage brokers and aren't doing all the other financial advice stuff as well. Then, I'm going here. I'll just get rid of the cookie message. Here we are on the Mortgages page. We’re getting down to this bit here and it's saying, “Whether you're a first-time buyer moving home, looking for you, we can help you.” That's okay but I feel that could be made more powerful by emphasizing what you can help me do, because you've covered quite a lot of different bases there.
A first time buyer and someone who's looking to reduce their mortgage payments come. They are two very different types of clients with different needs and desires in terms of what outcomes they're looking for. I think that could be beefed up a bit again, into a value proposition. Specifically for the mortgage side of what you're doing.
We get into “How we can help you?”.It's good to have this section. Again, I would just say, think about some of the messaging, how it can be made and made more powerful.
Think about the outcomes now. What I mean by that is, take this first one here, “We use the latest technology to find the best mortgage product for your needs.” As the client, I'm reading that and thinking well. What is sort of the question I'm asking them? What does that mean?
Personally,I know what it means because I know a lot about the industry, mortgages. What you're trying to say, we use technology to find the best mortgage product. You've got the best chance of getting accepted the first time and you don't pay more each month than you need to. That's actually the kind of thing we're talking about here. As you get into your new home as quickly as possible or things like that. With a lot of these things, you need to just take it to the next step and think, ”What does that mean?”
It's like when you describe the features of, let’s say, if you were selling someone a car and you said this has got air conditioning. Well, you're assuming that I know what the benefits of air conditioning are. Whereas if you said as an alternative, “This car has air conditioning, which means that it will keep you nice and cool in the summer and it will help stop your windows misting up in the winter. So, you're able to see more easily and you won't be a sweaty mess in the summer.”
You've then taken that all the way through to actually define them a conclusion of what that feature gives you. So, whenever you're writing things like this kind of list we see here, always be saying in your head, “which means that”. Don't stop the sentence until you've completely answered that “which means” question.
Also, I did notice that the recent tweets are all sort of seven months old. I would say, if you're not going to be keeping up to date with doing tweets or news things, then, it's better not to have them on there at all than to have ones which are that out of date. Rightly or wrongly people will think, they might not realize they're having this thought because it could be subconscious, if tweets are that old, how out of date is their knowledge of mortgages, financial services and so on.
I think what I do like here, I'm not that local to Ashford but as far as I can tell a lot or some of the imagery that you use here are local images from the Ashford area. If they are, that's really good, because that underlines what one of the USP is at.
On the businesses, which they are serving the local community, particularly, it’s in the “Meet the Team” section. This picture here looks like a genuine picture of the office rather than a stock image. If it is a stock image, it's really well done because it doesn't look particularly stock like some of them do.
Moving on to the next one, which is Prosper.ca um and this is a Canadian site, I assume it is because the “.ca” is a domain name for Canada. Can't find the address now, but anyway, so basically it’s a site which is purely, mortgages and remortgage or refinancing.
The first thing to point out, this is something you can very easily check on your own sites. If you look up here, you'll see that Google Chrome is showing this as not a secure site.That's because even when you type in the address if you talk to me, the address is https://newprosper.ca, it does bring up a secure version but as soon as you click any of the buttons to go to another page, it directs you back to an insecure version of a site. There's a requirement here to just put some redirects in place to make sure that people always get directed to the HTTPS secure version of the site.
The reasons for that are, even though you might not actually be collecting confidential financial information at this stage, via site, it still gives people more confidence. If I see that the site is secure and it has the padlock logos. If we just go back to Ian's one, you see here, that's got a nice safe looking padlock there, whereas for Prosper one hasn't.
In fact, the way Chrome works these days, it's actually got a huge great message warning, “This site is not secure.” In itself may be enough to frighten people away if they're not particularly internet savvy and don't know exactly what the implications of that message are. That should be fixed.
In terms of online marketing when Google favours the search results. Google also favours sites that are secure. It doesn't even have to be expensive. Now, you can use a service like Let's Encrypt and they will give you a free SSL certificate. If you're not sure how to set up yourself, your web developer should be able to do it. It's only a five or 10 minute job.
We've got something here which is sort of taking the place we would expect a value proposition to be and it's not bad. It states the problem, “A mortgage is a large part of your financial puzzle.” Then it says that as a mortgage agent, I can help you solve that problem. I would just like to fleshed out that a little bit more. It actually gives a bit of a feeling of, how? How are you going to help solve that problem? Anyone can say, I can solve your problem but it makes it more powerful if you say, I can solve your problem by doing X, Y, and Z.
I would just try and flesh that out a little bit. Got quite a lot of buttons here. Buttons generally refer to as call to action buttons or CTA buttons. These are used to encourage people to take whatever step it is you want me to take next? Something like book consultation is clearly a call to action button because ideally if someone comes onto this site, what you want them to do is to book a consultation. It's best practice to only have one call to action. If you have got more than one, at least make it clear which is the most important one because it's a thing that's been proved in various experiments with websites and things.
If you give people too many choices whilst you might think everyone likes to have lots of choices. Actually, people prefer to have a limited number of choices. If you give them too many choices, it becomes confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes therefore the easiest thing to do is to do nothing, like analysis paralysis kind of effect.
We've got four call to action buttons here and they're all equally weighted. In other words, you have all the same color, size, same and font. It's not really even clear which one you really are expecting me to take or want me to give you.
Ideally I only have one call to action. If you are gonna have two (2) call to action buttons, then do something like I've done on my own site here. You’ve got to make one of them look different. So, the “Buy” button is drawn more to the one you really want people to go for rather than the secondary one.
I liked the idea of having “How it works”. There's a couple of sites that have that kind of thing. I'm a big fan of having a sort of three (3) or four (4) step process that shows how something works and makes it all look nice and simple.
I would say the main elements on this page is that book consultation is coming very early in the conversation.Think of your webpage as having a conversation with your potential client. By asking them to book a consultation that early in the conversation, you're coming on a bit too strong and a bit too soon. Those of you who were on the livestream I did a month or so ago, remember that I talked about how online lead generation has a lot in common with relationships, dating and stuff like that. I used those kinds of analogies, and again, asking for the consultation straight away is a bit like asking someone to move in with you before you even had a conversation with them. Have a think about where and how you can maybe change the order of things a bit here.
When you click on the “Book of consultation”, I liked the idea of online calendars here. A lot of you will know that I use the same kind of thing on my own site and it works really well. What I feel here is because we just click that, it's very stark and there's nothing telling me what to do next. I can't emphasize this enough. You need to assume that the people who are coming to your site are a little bit lazy or a little bit stupid or both. Don't assume that anything is obvious. If you want them to do something, spell it out very clearly what it is you want them to do and why they should do it and what will happen afterwards.
Having something like this, “Select a date and time below to get your free half hour mortgage consultation with one of our experts.”, It's a bit of a jump. We go from this page here to that “Book in Canada”. It's almost like we've left the site and gone to a totally different site. Just try and get that a bit of a smoother journey.
Also my comment on here, the biggest thing that strikes me is that where we've got the headline, the value proposition type of stuff here. It's really hard to read because we've got a black slash dark gray text on a light gray house in the background. Then, whatever it is you're saying here or great it is, it's not really going to be read because of that.
I highlight, might make it easier for you to read it on the live stream. It says, “No one wants a mortgage. It’s a home we want on an investment.” I really liked that because I've actually had this conversation. I'm sure some of you who are watching, the fact that you're selling mortgages, you know that no one wants a mortgage. No one ever woke up one morning and thought, “What I really want to buy today is a mortgage.”
It's not an exciting purchase. What they want are all the things that a mortgage potentially gives them. Bigger house for their growing family. Also, If it's a mortgage, they want the fact that it's going to give them more spare cash to do nice things.
I also liked the fact that this is acknowledging that truth. It's just a shame that you can't really read it without making quite a lot of effort. Then, we got down here. I would say again, think about the conversational journey when talking about mortgages. We've got the option to jump off and do some different things, like “Destroy Our Debt” or “Build Our Wealth”. We've got things here which are about renting investment properties. I'm assuming these are all kinds of blog posts but they're kind of by being in this position here that kind of a distraction. Suddenly we're talking about refinancing. There's not a clear journey. It's all very all over the place and therefore a bit confusing.
Just a quick look, see if there are any questions coming in there. Oh, Ian from AMS confirms, they were all local images. Now, it turns out my knowledge that Ashford is better than I thought it was. Also, Chris says an interesting question, “Would you use consultation or soften it with a booker call?” What was “booker call”? Anyway, I would always recommend that you test it and you’ll see which has a better take-up rate.
It depends on what you're actually offering. I would probably say book a consultation because it wouldn't necessarily have to be via call. Again, If you've got multiple options and people can have a chat with you on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or something, then probably a consultation. If the only thing you're offering is a call, then it's probably going to be better to be actually upfront about that and say, this is an actual call. That's what I do on my own site. I make it very clear. Though it's a free strategy to call people that are booking. But ultimately, once you have sorted two versions of your page: one that says “Book consultation” and one that says, “Book a call”. Do a split test. Send half of your visitors to each and see which one gets a better conversion rate.
That is the beauty of online marketing. You don't need to guess or wonder about something for days. You can just test it really easily and find the answer. Even if I said on my site that I've proven that one is better than the other. My audience will be different from your audience. Then, until you test it with your site and your audience, you can't certainly say which is going to be best.
The next one to look at is Leslie. Leslie sent me two (2). She said that their main one, Amber Property, is offline for redesign. I do just have one comment on that though. It says we're redesigning our website, please visit us again soon. In the meantime, please reach out to us five-hour social media. It would be again thinking about how you can make life easy for the person reading it. So, just putting your social media icons or links there, would mean that page did a lot better. I thought at first clicking on one of these would take me to the Facebook page but it doesn't. They're all just inactive links.
Anyway, let's move on to the working site that Leslie sent. I'm on the about page on swine, so it's kind of the homepage. Actually this site is clear on what's offered here. It's actually Release Mortgages. My biggest issue with this, again, it's the asking for too much too soon, or coming on too strong and quick, kind of thing, because I've just arrived on his site.
I've got no idea about the company you have. Imagine I've clicked through from Google Ad, Facebook Ad or something. I've got no prior knowledge or relationship with this website and straight away, you're asking me how old I am and how much is my house worth, which are fairly two personal questions which I may not want to answer until I found out a bit more about who you actually are, what you're offering and whether I think you can help me.
It's good that you've got the USP's clearly highlighted but again I'm not even quite sure what we're talking about here yet. I would have those kinds of things a little bit further down the page. So, talk about what you are offering and then reinforce the benefits.
The other main thing I wanted to say on this one was actually on this form itself. The button that you click to fill in the form that it may have applied. When you have a form it's really common for the button to say, “Submit”. Yet, that's one of the worst things that you can put on a button.
Let me explain the reason that happens. The reason you end up with the word “submit” on there is because in the trade,in web developer speak: this is called a form and this is called the form submit button. Then, if you go to a web designer and say, “Put me in an inquiry form on the page.” If you don't give them any other instructions, the likelihood is they'll just put the word “submit” on the button because it's a submit button. Now, the problem with that is, it's not a very good call to action.There are three (3) levels of call to action that you can put on a form button so that you can have a neutral call to action.
We've got an example of one of those down the bottom here. This form here just says, “Send”. That's nothing special but it does what it says. It's just kind of neutral. Ideally, you want a positive call to action which reminds people why they're filling in the form in the first place and reinforces the benefits of doing so. Something like send me my free quote, book my consultation or send me my download. Those kinds of things that remind people why we're doing it. That was our positive call to action.
That perspective is mostly why I think “submit” is quite a negative call to action, because think about the connotations of the word, “submit”. If I'm submitting this or if I'm submitting to you, the website owner, that immediately applies to an unequal relationship. You're up here and I'm submitting to you.I'm inferior to you.
Although might not always be thought consciously. Though, to the person reading it, it might be in the subconscious thought process that could well be happening.Then, if you've got “submit” on any of your buttons, it's really easy to change those. You may well find that just that on its own increases the number of people who fill in a particular form, reminding them what they're gonna get from it.
I had a couple of late submissions which I haven't looked at in any great detail. I will just flick over to them now. The first one here was Shaw Financial Services. Lewis sent this. I've deliberately not done anything other than just go to the page. That’s because again, when I went to it, a popup actually appeared saying, “Welcome to Shaw Financial Services” while we talked about welcome.
More what conservators was, again, you're asking me straight away to book an appointment. Have you ever been to one of those Networking Events? Real-world ones back in the pre-COVID days when we did that kind of thing. I've been to events like that, where you walk in and there's one guy there. It's the guy that everyone's trying to avoid talking to because what he's doing is, he's got a stack of business cards and he's going up to everyone who walks in the door, giving those cards. Think of it that you've not gotten the room, you've not got a drink, you've not taken your coat off or anything. This is that same kind of thing. It's highly unlikely someone's going to want to book an appointment, the moment they walk in the door and you thrust your business card or your inquiry form in their face.
Also, she's a bit point leading. We'd still have, “Booked an Appointment” here. “Independent Mortgage Advice”, quite clear what's on offer. That's good! I liked the idea of saying “Top rated”. It would be good to quantify that as well the top rated by whom. Is it by your clients or by independent reviews on Trustpilot, which of those has more credibility. If it is something like independent reviews on Trustpilot, then actually say, “rated 19” or “rated 4.7 on Trust pilot”. Quantify it, then, it becomes more believable.
I would say this bit here falls into the sort of classic mistake of making it very much about you, the business owner or the company. We can turn it around a bit to be client centric. Even at the very least, if you're a first time buyer looking to get on the housing ladder, we can help you do that rather than leading with all about you. Sounds like that's a couple of things there.
We get down here to the thing actually with the reviews. I haven't got this far down the page before. The reviews are actually genuine third party reviews on Google in this case. I would try to weave that into the value proposition a bit, just to make it a bit more credible.
Constantly, time’s sounds are gonna rattle on very quickly.
The final one that came in was this one. Hattie sent this. I went to the contact page and your form is broken. I showed that not to make you feel stupid, pick on you or whatever but to illustrate a really common point. Many business owners never look at their own website.
I had this conversation with someone earlier today where I'd given him a bit of feedback on his website and the copy that was on there. He said to me that the copy was changed ages ago but they’ve got the web designers to make an update to something on the website. During the update, they've managed to roll it back to the old version of the text. If I looked at his site and gave comments on it. That could have been there for another year or so.
Do look at your own sites often. Check that they are still up and running. That something isn't broken. That's the main learning from that one there.
I just want to finish by just showing you a couple of examples. I've picked up all the things that you shouldn't be doing. I want to just finish by showing you a couple of sites where I found some examples of how some of these things are being done well.
Now, at the risk of going to watch the number of people viewing. See if it drops suddenly because I'm going to bring up the website of Habito. This is not because I'm a fan of robo-advisors. I know a lot of you will have strong views on them. You could argue that you have to be very good at doing, because they don't have that personal touch that a proper individual mortgage broker has. However, what they are good at doing is at making their websites highly converting.
They're relying on high volume and everything like that. Looking at some of those aspects of their site is quite good to see how these things could be done. Here is the value proposition, “Mortgage is made easier” .That's more of a strapline but underneath we have an actual value proposition. It's immediately saying, “It's leading with what the client gets out of this.”
Of course, all of you are offering the same thing as these guys. It's just that they are articulating it in a way that we haven't seen on the other sites we've looked at so far. It’s not like saying, “We are your local mortgage broker” or “We've got 20 years experience of arranging great mortgages.” but it's saying, “You're going to save hundreds of pounds.” “You're going to get the best deal possible. You get independent, unbiased, and it's free.” It's laid in with benefits.
Social proof in terms of Trustpilot reviews and strong call to action. Compare this to be kind of submit button type thing. We're saying, “This is what we're offering you. You're going to get a decision in principle in five minutes.” Now, whether that's true or not. It's very compelling. It's going to encourage someone to click that “Start now'' button because the wording “start now” implies you're taking the first step on an exciting journey and has a very different feel to it from “submit”.
Putting lender logos. That's sort of credibility by association. You could all do that kind of thing. Those are low in the best one in the world.No one is going to instantly recognize the Shaw Financial Services logo but they are going to instantly recognize all these high street names. They're going to recognize those straight away. Then, it makes the whole thing feel more credible to the prospect.
This is something I often talk about doing in Ad copy as well as on websites, use numbers. Numbers are really powerful. They form a visual interrupt. If you're scanning down a page of text then you suddenly see a number or a plus sign, it just makes you stop it for VR for a split second, and take a bit of notice of that. Rather than saying that we searched the whole market, when saying that, then, back it up with putting constitutes like saying that it actually means 20,000 plus mortgages they can check for. No way! “Could you check all those mortgages yourself, Mr. Client? We can do all that for you because of our amazing systems” and so on.
More social proof down there. Most of the sites we've got, sort of team photos, About Us pages and stuff. Again, notice the whole thing with this site is everything you need is actually accessible on the homepage. Then, without going to another page; you can read the value proposition, you can get the social proof, you can respond to a call to action or more social proof, you can meet the guys who are gonna be doing the work for you, and you can sign up for a newsletter. It's all there in one place.
Similar kind of thing with Trussle. Pick them because they are a big company that puts a lot of money but you can actually do all these same things yourself without having to put loads of money into it.
Leads with their main USP are Fee-free. That might not be your main USP. It doesn't have to be your main USP. You should be leading with that again. What they're really offering is the fact that it's free advice and it's fast. When I'm just saying fast, by saying 15 minutes, that quantifies what fast is because you different people have different ideas of what fast is. We could not only save you money but also we can save you over four grand a year. That is a far more powerful statement.
Obviously, you can't just make up the numbers and they've got in the small print, how it comes to them. That's something I would say you really need to focus on is coming up with those powerful value propositions, which are going to differentiate you, not just from these guys, but from all the other sole traders or small business mortgage brokers that are out there.
I could go on for ages but I'm conscious of the time though. So, I'm going to stop there. If there are any sort of final questions on any of it, then, do pop them into the chat. If you've found that useful, actually, again, just put a comment. If you'd like me to run a session like this again, or if maybe some of you are perhaps a bit shy to submit your site for the very first one. Now you've seen that, hopefully I'm not too unkind about them. I hope you would be up for having yours reviewed and another one, then, put a message on there, symbol Lincoln. If there's enough interest, we can do another one of these sessions in a few weeks time.
I think that's probably all. I'd say that, I hope that's given you some useful tips. Hopefully you can see that they are all things you can change quite easily without them to spend a fortune or get a whole new website. If any of you want some specific advice. Post something in the group. If you would like some advice for me on your site, put a link in the group. Also, if the other people can chip in as well and say what they think of it because mine is just one opinion. The more opinions you get, potentially the better.
Thank you so much for joining us. If you're watching this on the replay, feel free to ask questions and I'll come back to those as soon as I can.Thank you very much and I will see you next time.