Can You Build a Great Financial Website on the Cheap?

architecture

10 Mar Can You Build a Great Financial Website on the Cheap?

None of us like to spend more than we feel we have. We all have finite resources, and we like to feel like these are being used as wisely as possible.

This is especially true for IFAs and wealth managers – after all, that’s your profession!

The tricky thing about financial website design and branding is that they are intangible. You can’t feel or touch them like you can, say, a guitar – to check the quality. That can make us even more suspicious: “What am I really paying for?”

The truth is, you can approach 6 different financial website designers and get wildly different quotes. The question is, how much are you prepared to spend, and how much should you spend?

Some things to consider, then:

Features & Functionality

Often, IFAs will approach us saying they need something “simple.” That’s fine, only you need to be careful not to assume that something will be simple to create, because it looks “simple.” Many things in life appear simple, but they are actually immensely complicated.

For instance, you may think your single-page website idea would be simpler than a 10-page financial website idea. However, custom functionality, memberships, eCommerce, forums and opt-ins can be part of the brief on even a small financial website.

Or perhaps your brand’s style and proposition will be particularly tricky to communicate via the presentation and layout, even on a one-pager.

Bear in mind that financial website designers like ourselves do not merely charge based on anticipated project completion time. We charge based on value.

It’s not that it necessarily takes us longer to do the task than your £15-an-hour overseas developer. It’s more that our portfolio, team, experience and skill set in financial website design surpasses these solutions:

http://www.paradigmnorton.co.uk/
http://tandemfinancial.co.uk/
http://www.cavendishmedical.com/

Ask yourself: what would you say to a client who was considering getting cheap financial advice from overseas, instead of using you?

Designer Skill & Project Management

Would you hire a cheap builder to construct your family home?

Most people wouldn’t. They are prepared to pay more. Why? To have the peace of mind it will not fall down on their children’s heads while they sleep.

What’s funny to us is that some IFA business owners are willing to take an architectural risk when it comes to their financial website.

Okay, so your website isn’t going to kill anyone if it crashes or falls down. Granted. However, your financial website is the primary architecture of your online brand. If it falls apart or doesn’t serve its purpose, then your reputation, brand and sales pipeline are going to severely suffer.

In our experience, almost everyone we talk to who hired a cheap developer later came to regret it on some level.

The developer disappeared off the map part-way through the project.

They were cheap, but they barely spoke English. Managing the project was a nightmare.

The website security wasn’t adequate, and we had a series of hacks and security breaches.

The style, presentation and quality just wasn’t up to standard. It was cheap, and it looked cheap.

It just didn’t work properly. We lost loads of leads because the forms kept failing.

What then ends up happening, is many IFAs pass their financial website from one freelancer to another. Each one tries to correct some mistake or unfinished work from the previous designer. With more and more hands fiddling with the project, it gradually becomes more and more complicated to fix.

Eventually, when you add up the time you spent searching and managing all these people, you may as well have spent more on a financial website design agency anyway.

It’s not us. It’s you.

We’re not really supposed to talk about this, but it’s probably time to say it.

You will know, as an IFA, that some of your clients are easier to work with than others.

After a while, you become proficient at detecting the early warning signs. You can tell who is going to be difficult to work with. As an IFA, you ask yourself:

Is this person going to email me fifty times a day?

Are they going to keep me on the phone constantly, eating into time I need to be spending on X,Y,Z?

Are they going to ask for things outside the scope of our working relationship/brief?

Are their expectations realistic? Are they going to be unreasonably dissatisfied with great work?

Now, most IFAs we speak to do not take on clients like this. The fee simply wouldn’t cover the work and time involved to make these people happy.

However, in the design world it is perfectly normal and acceptable to charge a client more for work you reasonably expect will take longer, or will consume more resources.

So, if you want your financial website project to be less expensive, ask yourself what kind of client you would be. This doesn’t mean lowering your standards for excellence, but it might mean adjusting your expectations of the project and working relationship.

So, What Should I Pay for a Financial Website?

If you just wanted a family blog and didn’t expect to make any money through it, I would say find a lower-cost solution. There’s little/no expected return, so why invest significantly?

However, the financial websites we design for IFAs bring in a lot of money.

If just one visitor a month turns into a client, for instance, then that’s thousands of pounds we’ve generated in lifetime value throughout the course of just one year.

Consider the following:

IFAs will encourage their clients to put their money (hundreds of thousands) into investments which produce an expected annual return of 5%, or more.

Why, then, would you not put in thousands into an investment (your financial website) which, when designed properly by an industry professional, can provide returns which make that percentage look small in comparison?

Phil Teale is the Sales & Marketing Manager at CreativeAdviser, an agency providing bespoke website design, branding, graphic design and video production services to financial clients. Along with our sister company, MarketingAdviser, we also specialise in marketing for wealth managers and financial advisers.

Contact us on 01923 232840 or email me: phil@creativeadviser.co.uk