In a break with tradition, the Oxford Dictionaries recently announced the “Face with Tears” or emoji as the 2015 word of the year. While this news is definitely the kind that elicits an audible, “really?” when one hears it, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise.
Images – even emojis – are an incredibly useful way to convey complex concepts at a glance. They complement a message, adding crystal clear emotion to its meaning.
A phrase as simple as “Hey, what’s going on?” for example, could be interpreted a host of different ways when sent as a plain text message. But when an image is included, its meaning becomes obvious. A smiley face is a friendly inquiry, a confused face is a plea for information, an angry face means someone might be sleeping on the couch.
When applied to financial services, imagery and aesthetics have had an increasingly larger role as more and more client interactions move online. In fact, there already exist entire wealth management businesses – including start-ups, independents, and traditional companies – in which the advisor and the client never meet face-to-face, yet have a fully functioning, trusted relationship.
And when it comes to online interactions, design is key. It works with the substance of your service to create an engaging experience that will keep clients and prospects coming to you for online wealth management time and time again.
You have exactly five seconds
As the popular statistic goes, when someone visits a website they form an opinion of everything – from its legitimacy to its ease of use – within just five seconds.
Design is what makes the difference in those five seconds. The aesthetic value of your online interactions works to draw clients in and more importantly, keep them engaged.
To take a physical example, look at Disney World. Disney’s Castle might be impossible without the structure of steel and concrete, but it’s the aesthetic beauty and overall experience that these materials create that draw in the crowds. And keeps them coming back.
So how do you turn your online experience into the Disney World of online wealth management?
Judge a book by its cover
Our perception of value is heavily based on our environment. It’s the reason why people pay four dollars for a Starbucks coffee, yet refuse the same product when it sells for fifty cents at Taco Bell.
So what is the value of your client experience? Are you providing the best online “environment” for your clients? Here are some themes to consider when evaluating the aesthetic appeal of your online presence:
1. Ease of use: Finances are complicated enough. If your technology adds to this stress then it will turn clients and prospects away almost immediately. Minimalistic, clean, intuitive. Take the time to understand how to incorporate those themes into your online client experience.
2. Peace-of-mind: A design that incorporates a client’s emotions will be much more appealing than a cold, sterile one. Understand that the data is not what’s important. It’s the people and goals behind the data that truly matter.
3. Professionalism: There are plenty of places for entertainment elsewhere online. Know what it is people expect from you and have your online experience reflect that.
Aesthetics set the stage for every client or prospect interaction. Which is why using imagery to convey complex concepts such as “trustworthy” or “professional” is vital for an engaging client experience.
It’s time you start treating your online client experience with the care and attention it requires.