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Investment in technology will not be in vain

In these straightened times, there is a huge temptation to make cutbacks wherever possible.

Whether it is reducing staff head count, closing offices or keeping a keen eye on unnecessary expenses, nothing is immune. But there is a danger of cutting back so much that when the recovery does come – as it surely will – your business is in no position to take advantage of it.

Significant investment in technology may be the last thing on your mind in a market downturn but it needn’t cost the earth and could well be worth the outlay.

Investing in your online presence could be crucial in generating new business as there are now just less than 30 million of us online, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau – some 63% of Clearly, if you don’t have an up-to-date website, you are missing out on a huge potential audience.

As well as the internet, social networking has really taken off in the past couple of years, with more people Twittering or logging onto Facebook or YouTube than ever before.

As far as the business community is concerned, hardly a day goes by without an invitation to join a colleague or acquaintance on LinkedIn.

But should businesses be encouraging employees to access such sites and allocating precious resources to their online presence?

We think so, certainly when it comes to our web presence. We have recently launched a revamped website with plenty of bells and whistles that weren’t there before.

Admittedly, the relaunch has been long overdue as our previous website was behind the times. But we believe we have bridged the gap with a much slicker, cleaner offering, which will promote the services of our consultants and the company.

Certain key words are embedded in the text with search engine optimisation in mind so that those researching mortgages using a facility such as Google are more likely to stumble across the site.

This should improve the flow of traffic, translating into far greater level of enquiries than in the past. Research may have shown that the majority of borrowers are not prepared to apply for a mortgage online, preferring face-to-face contact when making such a big financial commitment.

But a growing number use the internet to research different types of mortgage and compare rates, preferring to come to their meeting with a broker armed with at least a basic understanding of the rates and deals available.

The web can also be a way of grabbing new clients who wouldn’t otherwise know you exist. For many brokers who don’t have a high street presence, their website is their shop front window.

Your website can be as basic or complicated as you wish but it is important that functionality is clear and intuitive so that it is easy to navigate around the relevant pages, and that it is compliant with the FSA’s financial promotions standards.

Offering a clean, easy to navigate site with regularly updated best buys, market comment, informative articles and background information on the company should reap rewards during these tough times, as well as ensure you have a steady flow of clients when the market recovers, particularly the younger, next generation of clients.

Recommended

Marketwatch 27/04/2007

Swaps increased pretty sharply last week, more than reversing the falls of the previous week. Have we seen the bottom? Who knows.

Rich man’s world

It’s good to know that in the economic turmoil it’s not just us regular folk feeling the pinch.

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