Everyone’s on the lookout for the perfect investment — one that will pay returns now and over the long term.

This is especially true for marketers and people managing websites at financial and professional services firms. With limited budgets and a constant focus on the bottom line, they’re obligated to spend marketing dollars on site enhancements that generate results that can be proven.

Here are five digital investments that are pretty much guaranteed to deliver better performance, improved contact levels and higher sales.

1. Mobile. Many are predicting that within a few years, the computer will be dead, replaced by mobile technology. Even today, the majority of web searches are done on smartphones and tablets.

If the experience and content on your site aren't optimized for all devices, what are you waiting for? You're not just being viewed by visitors as behind the times, you're also delivering a bad end-user experience which impacts your search rankings (negatively) and bottom line (worse). Money put into a mobile upgrade will pay off in additional traffic, improved engagement and higher conversions.

2. Photography. When was the last time you looked at the pictures of the agents, advisors, consultants and other employees that appear on your website? Are they attractive and consistent? Or are they a confusing mix of images collected over time?

Today, quality employee portraits are more important than ever. Consumers want to work with people who seem professional yet approachable. If your online employee photos don't convey these attributes, it's time to invest in some new photography. It will likely pay off in higher contact and meeting requests.

3. Color and imagery. Websites are being viewed on better quality, higher definition and brighter screens — smartphone, tablet and television. Is your website taking full advantage of these capabilities or is it still designed for presentation on older computer screens?

People are used to living in a hi-def technicolor digital world. Your site could probably benefit from a pop of color, some unexpected photography and a few video assets. You don't have to go too far or do anything too edgy. Some simple yellow or orange call-to-action buttons, photos shot from unusual perspectives and videos that reflect your company's brand could go a long way toward improving engagement.

4. New website visitors. Is your company active in social media? Do you communicate with clients via email? Do you leverage search engine marketing?

If you’re not, how are you getting traffic to your site? Unless you invest in some form of out-bound marketing, your website is un-viewed and unread (and not generating revenue). Once you update your site, make it a point to put some money into attracting new visitors. It will pay off by getting more people to check out the products and services your firm offers now and by building credibility with search engines over time.

5. Content. Quality content is one of the most important marketing assets a firm can invest in. It’s the ultimate signal to search engines that your website is worth checking out. In addition, it's a way to demonstrate your firm’s knowledge and expertise to prospects and current clients.

Interested in learning more about making wise investments in your firm’s digital properties? Check out Carpenter Group’s current perspective on digital marketing. Then contact us to get the advice you need to ensure your digital investments pay off.