Your website is a 24/7 marketing tool that allows you to connect with your clients, engage your prospects and tell the world why you’re the best financial advisor.
For most financial advisors, it’s difficult to quantify the intrinsic value of their website. Most of them approach their website as “cost of doing business.” In addition, majority of financial advisors can’t seem to attribute new clients to their website. And for those who do, it is likely because the person was already referred to them, and simply checked out the website along the way.
Financial industry has always been heavily segmented. Even the the most seasoned clients find it confusing to describe different segments. For the sake of simplicity, here are 5 types of financial professionals we are going to focus on.
One of the most important aspects of an exceptional website is its user engagement. Engagement is getting an ideal prospect (website visitor) to take action such as completing a consultation form or downloading a white paper to learn more about the business. Engagement keeps visitors on a site longer, reinforces brand’s authenticity and builds trust.
Many of the financial advisor websites are built with generic website templates. There’s isn’t much focus on audience segmentation or targeting so they lack content structure and provides little visitor engagement.
Due to the nature of these templates, most advisors end up cluttering their websites with every last piece of information. Given the fact that we live in the age of information overload, most visitors feel overwhelmed and don’t have any meaningful engagement.
For some financial advisors, that’s reality. They have enough referral business and don’t really care for online leads. In their mind, their website is just a cost of doing business. However, they often fail to realize that even if they can only take on 10 new clients every year, it is far better to choose these clients from 50 leads than work with the first 10 prospects that walk in the door. As a financial professional, you already know that a client with $1M portfolio is far more valuable than someone with $5K rollover account.
Often small financial advisory firms or solo financial advisors tend to go this route. Given the number of DIY website builders such as Weebly, Wix and the countless other resources, I can’t blame them. In addition, DIY solutions are very tempting when you’re on a budget!
No matter how tech savvy you are, a DIY website for a financial advisor is a terrible idea. Managing money is serious business and the last thing you want your clients to know is that you’re also a web designer. As a financial advisor, if you’re good with money, you’ll have plenty of money to pay for the professional website so focus on what you do best and leave the website design to the professionals.
Almost all broker/dealer firms have partnerships with web design agencies for design and digital marketing. From a completely free website to a fully custom design, there are several options. There are even all-in-one packages covering website, social media and e-newsletter. While it may sound like a great deal at first, your credibility will be the first causality when an educated prospect visits your cheap cookie cutter website and fake computer-generated content.
One of the benefits that broker/dealer vendors point out is the compliance aspect. A website built by an approved vendor supposed to have the content that has been reviewed by the compliance department at the broker/dealer. However, there lies the problem. If your broker/dealer has 50 financial advisors in your area, how do you differentiate when all of them have similar content? Bottom line – your broker/dealer has no real interest in helping you differentiate yourself from the other advisors and grow your financial advisory business. They are actually counting on you to grow their business.
While website design matters, it is all about content and content marketing. As a financial advisor, is your content authentic and relevant to your target market? For example, majority of financial advisor websites broadcast how great their newsletter is. Throughout the website, there are “call-to-action” elements begging visitors to “Subscribe to newsletter!” However, majority of these financial advisors are counting on third party vendors to send out generic newsletters with financial articles that are often put together by content spinner programs. There isn’t any meaningful information in these newsletters. If you’re a financial advisor, my advice is to stay away from newsletter gimmick unless you can commit time and efforts to produce one with authentic information. Fake newsletter is the worst thing you can do to your credibility and authenticity.
Often financial advisors put out so much information that it overwhelms anyone who stumbles upon their websites. On the contrary, there are financial advisors who don’t even have basic information on their websites.
It is critical to understand that a website isn’t a place to overload your prospects with financial information and random news. Most people don’t rely on financial advisor websites to get their news. Your website is a marketing tool and its primary purpose is to engage visitors and generate leads to grow your business.
Internet usage by mobile and tablet devices now exceeds desktop and laptop computers. I often meet with financial advisors who are interested in redesigning their website to make it “responsive.” For those who don’t know the term, a responsive website is the one that works on all devices – from mobile phones to desktops. However, they often fail to realize that a “mobile ready” website isn’t necessary a “mobile friendly” website. If your visitors are not engaged with your mobile website, they will leave. Thus, it is critical to invest in user experience and usability to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices and provide an extraordinary user experience.
Your website is a customer touch point. Like it or not, even word-of-mouth referrals will “Google” your name and check out your website. I know a few financial professionals who spend thousands of dollars on their office and its “look-and-feel” while totally ignore their website. If a prospect who isn’t impress by your website is highly unlikely to come visit your office.
A business image is a function of PR and advertising. Anyone can pretend to be a genius financial guru by spending some serious cash on advertising. However, credibility and authenticity is something that is built over time by following a consistent investment approach and by delivering results for your clients. For a financial advisor, credibility and authenticity are two attributes that must be managed with utmost care and defended fiercely and a professional website can be a powerful tool to support these efforts.
Whether you’re a financial advisor, RIA or any other financial professional – you need a professional website. The best financial advisor websites are focused on building trust and authenticity. At the very basic level, the primary purpose of a financial advisor’s website should to engage visitors who just discovered your site and turn them into long-term clients. If your website doesn’t have a clear and compelling purpose for your business, you are likely wasting your time and your money.
At Amplimark, we are all about client success. If you’re a financial professional who is interested in taking the next step in differentiating and growing your business, contact us to schedule a no obligation consultation.