SunStar’s Marilyn Dale, Creative and Digital Services Director, spoke with Jill Gregorie of IGNITES. Dale offered recommendations on what fund companies should consider when building out their websites.
Gregorie spoke with Dale and two others to discuss key features for financial websites. These comments are presented as overall recommendations for financial websites and support the author's reporting on the findings of a recent research effort by Kurtosys, a New York-based marketing consultancy. Kurtosys interviewed 200 marketing professionals about plans to improve their websites. They found that nearly two-thirds expected to invest more in improving their sites in the year ahead than they had in the prior 12 months.
Websites need regular analysis and updates
They found that websites have a fairly short shelf life and are constantly evolving. They’ve shifted from being viewed as a billboard to house general company information to a useful tool that is a key element in the marketing arsenal.
When discussing how websites are changing, the overarching theme that emerged was one of honoring time, simplicity and ease of use.
Ease of use
Marketers shared information on recent web updates based on their own analytics and observations. They found site visitors appeared pressed for time and preferred small, digestible nuggets of information as opposed to long prose dissecting complex market events or subject matter. Sites are being overhauled with this in mind, with some sites leaving the complex long-form commentary analysis in particular sections such as the Black Rock Investment Institute.
Site visitors don’t want to have to hunt for information, so sites and tools are being designed with ease of use in mind. Most popular content is featured front and center, search tools are obvious in placement.
In the past, clients received information in emails or PDFs, but there has a been a shift to “on demand” information. Clients want to be able to visit a site and get the information they need at their convenience.
Analysis is key
Larger firms, like BlackRock and T. Rowe Price, are making regular updates and analyzing the impact of each change. They’re testing to see which tools are used most or which sections are most popular. As a result, they’re writing new code every few weeks and analyzing the impact of the change.
T. Rowe Price looked at where most site activity dropped off and made improvements to that section. They found that legacy systems were getting in the way of client activity so developed new technology to improve those particular areas.
46% of the marketers surveyed reported generating new business as the digital marketing team’s primary goal. Thanks to the constant changes necessary to keep a website up-to-date and client friendly, a website will likely always be a work in progress.
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