When a prospective client or referral partner becomes interested in your business, their first step is to research you. And in today’s world, that means checking out your website.
Your website plays a number of critical roles. It is there around the clock to answer any questions that people have about who you are and what you have to offer. It tells them why they should do business with you, how you can help them with their lending needs and sends that information right to your inbox. It can be the best employee you have.
Or it can be your worst. A poorly designed website immediately conveys that your business is unprofessional and can’t be trusted. A website that is hard to navigate is like an employee who refuses to answer clients’ questions. And a website with poor calls to action will never capture a visitors’ information or move them to the next step in your lending funnel.
So what does your business website need to include?
Crucial Business Information
You want to provide your potential client or referral partner everything they need to know about your business. The biggest failure that people have is that they try to build the website they want for their business, not necessarily the website their business needs. The key is to be concise. Keep text to a minimum when it comes to your tagline or mission statement. Don’t underestimate brevity — one or two sentences can be really powerful.
You should have a few things on your website that fall into the realm of “information.” For loan brokers, that means pages dedicated to what type of financing you can provide, the industries you serve, information about partner programs, and an about and/or team page. Although it is still important to be concise, you can expand your explanations to a brief paragraph. Remember you should be writing things so visitors can skim.
I can’t stress enough that the most crucial business detail is contact information. At the very least it should be located somewhere on your homepage, but better practice is to include it in its own section. How many times do you visit a website and think ‘how hard is to contact this company?’ Have your number, email, address and a contact form easily accessible and visible. It makes a difference because there’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to get in touch with a needed business or service. And you lose out on business if they can’t find a way to contact you.
When you put an email address or a phone number on the site, it should be able to be clicked on or copied right from the site in order to place the call or send an email conveniently and quickly. Most smartphones these days have the ability to do “click to call” on the web, so make the process as easy as possible for users.
Just like a map is useless without a legend, your website is useless without clear navigation. Make sure you use easy-to-understand and logical names for the various pages of your site — contact, about us, partner program, commercial lending, etc. Being clever or cryptic will just be a turnoff for users.
When developing your navigation strategy, you should consider a call to action. What is it that you want people to do on your site? Call to speak with a broker? Email for more information? Make your goals clear and obvious to your visitors.
Aesthetics are Important
We all know that making a great “first impression” can have a lasting impact on a relationship. The same is true online. Studies find that people form strong opinions about a company within the first two minutes of visiting its website. People judge books by their covers, and they judge companies by their websites.
That’s why it’s so important that not only is your website informational and functional, but that it also looks great. Make sure you’re picking a color scheme, that matches your branding material and stick to it. Also include relevant and eye-catching photos or typography. But don’t go too overboard — you want your site to be eye-catching while still looking professional.
In today’s world, just having a website isn’t enough. To truly grow your business, your website needs to look great on mobile and be easily found on search engines.
To be more specific, your site needs to be responsive. This means that your site will dynamically re-size and rearrange its content to match the width of whatever device it is being viewed on. This will ensure that your site is mobile friendly, making you look great on phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
We also include on-site search engine optimization with each site we build, making sure your broker website is Google friendly. We will write and install custom meta-tags for your site, using the right keywords in the title and description for each page. In addition, we set up your Google Analytics account on your behalf and then, when your site is ready, list it with all of the major search engines for fast indexing.
Creating a website for your loan broker business can be intimidating, but making sure you include all important information about your business and following these tips is a great start. If you don’t feel ready to create your own site, or feel that your time is better spent working on closing deals, the Commercial Loan Broker Institute can help. We build 100% custom website designs for commercial loan brokers that includes everything you need for a successful business.