In July, Mortgage Solutions polled brokers on how they felt their own business website was performing, with a “shocking” 40% confessing they do not have a website at all. Just a third of respondents felt satisfied with their website’s performance.
The PMS service enables advisers to create a branded website with the support of PMS’s in-house marketing team.
The subscription service includes content created by PMS and tailored to each firm, with responsive design for desktop, tablet and mobile and customisable branding. The websites, which can be bolted on to existing platforms, also offer comparison tools and calculators to help potential customers research ahead of an advice session.
Lauren Bagley, marketing manager at PMS, said: “If I could recommend one course of action for firms right now it is to be visible in the same place as your customers, which increasingly is in a digital environment.”
Over 80% of consumers do research online before they make a purchase decision, so having an effective digital presence is something you simply can’t ignore, she added.
“A website will often be the initial step in a customer’s advice journey, so the challenge for advisers is to make the right first impression and then convert this contact into new enquiries and business.”
The rise of digital
Bagley points to the threat posed by tech start-up firms, who are spending millions of pounds to build direct-to-consumer brands, while also compiling richer consumer data, which she believes they will increasingly leverage through an online proposition.
Bagley said: “Advisory firms need to be thinking about digitising their service to customers, enabling consumers to interact and communicate in multiple ways and at various points of the advice journey online.”
PMS said its move was a bid to remove some of the traditional barriers to website development, such as cost and tech ‘know-how’, by offering more hands-on support to firms.
“Our vision is to combine the best of both worlds by utilising intuitive technology to create an efficient end-to-end customer journey, while at all times ensuring the personal service and expertise which only a professional adviser can provide is placed front and centre.”
Sesame and PMS MD Mark Graves said the rise of ‘robo-advice’ start ups is part of a longer-term bid to control online referrals and mortgage leads.
“Brokers get the vast majority of their leads from referrals at the moment, but how long will that continue if these firms gain traction? Although I think customers are starting with technology for research but still want to speak to an adviser.”