Advisor Website 101
The majority of financial advisors have a website these days, but many of these websites fall far short of what their purpose is intended to be: A lead generation delivery tool.
Your website, and in particular your homepage, are essentially your firm’s storefront and virtual greeter. Based on a visitor’s initial first impression, they will either want to learn more about you and your firm or they will exit as they didn’t find what they were looking for or their first impression was not a positive one. Visitors can find your website a number of ways:
- They did a local Google search for financial advisors in their community
- They heard about your firm from someone or read about you
- They found your content (web pages and/or blog posts) while doing a Google search on a topic they were researching
- They found a link to your site while visiting another site
Regardless of how they found you, first impressions are lasting impressions. A recent study determined that people form their first impression of a website within a matter of seconds. Ask yourself these questions.
Does your current home page:
- Target the types of clients that you want to market to and work with?
- Have the right imagery for your target audience?
- Have the correct messaging to attract the types of clients you want to work with?
- Have a current, modern look and feel that resonates with the types of clients you want to attract?
- Is it easy for a visitor to find information on your site?
Because of the competitive nature of the Internet, any missteps on your website can cause a potential prospect to leave your site without ever getting to know more about you. If a visitor opens your homepage and there are no images or off-putting images, they may leave immediately. That is why you should spend time to make sure your website images are conveying the message you want. Additionally, your brand, name, and logo should all work in unison based on their colors, content, and imagery.
Images, colors, and font type are important, but if you don’t have content that is valuable and informative to your visitors you are missing out.
Inbound Marketing and Your Advisor Website
As a financial advisor, you’ve probably tried several Outbound Marketing campaigns like cold calling, seminars, mailers, etc. If you are moving along with the times then you are also already aware that this type of marketing is not nearly as effective as it used to be.
Enter Inbound Marketing
The whole premise of Inbound Marketing is to draw the right types of prospects to your website to learn more about your services and engage with you. There are many components to running a successful inbound marketing campaign but one of the largest components is your advisor website.
A well designed, fully-optimized advisor website is an integral part of an Inbound Marketing campaign. Producing thoughtful, useful, and informative information that people are searching for on the Internet is the gateway to attract potential prospects/clients to your site.
Your financial advisor website should include the following:
- Intuitive navigation that makes it easy for a visitor to find information on your site
- Modern graphics/imagery that resonates with the type(s) of clients you are trying to target
- Accurate on-page SEO that makes it easy for Google to index your site
- Messaging that is very targeted to the types of clients that you want to work with
- Content that is directed to the visitors’ needs and issues rather than it being just about you and what you do
With as many financial advisor websites as there are, and there are many, it has become ever-increasingly difficult for financial advisors to show up in a Google result when an investor goes to a search engine to start looking for one. That is why it is imperative to set yourself apart by being unique, and giving your target audience what they want to read and see.
Blogging and Your Advisor Website
You should think of your financial advisor website as having two components: The main website, including its related pages, and your blog. Yes, your blog!
Another critical component to a successful Inbound Marketing strategy is blogging, also known as content marketing. If you have not started a blog tied to your website then you are missing out on the opportunity to reach a broader base of visitors. Not only is blogging a proven way to drive traffic to your website, but it is also another avenue to engage with your targeted audience.
Drawing Moths to Your Light
The whole premise of Inbound Marketing is to create content that your target clients can find on the Internet, which then directs them back to either your website or your blog. Using this concept, you can turn your website and blog into a beacon of light that attracts the types of visitors that you are looking to work with over time.
Blog content is different from your website content. Where a website can provide an introductory format for you to display your services and products, a blog provides a way for you to showcase your expertise as related to financial topics.
If you are careful when researching topics that your targeted audience is searching for and include those words and phrases in the content of your blog article, you will increase the likelihood that your article will be found and read.
Your blog should also include Calls-to-Actions (CTAs) so it’s easy for a visitor to reach out and connect with you for a free offer and/or general contact. If your current blog doesn’t have CTAs, this is a lost opportunity to connect with your visitors.
The more people that see and read your blog, the more traffic to your website. The more traffic to your website the more chances you have to gain new clients!
Advisor Website Design Costs
Creating an advisor website costs money. If you are a computer programmer with website designing talents you may be able to tackle this marketing project yourself. But chances are, your skill set is better-used managing and investing money for your clients. Therefore, it makes sense to outsource the development of your advisor website.
There are several ways to go about developing your financial advisor website including:
- “Leasing” a template-based advisor website where you select a theme and then add your own content. You pay a monthly fee for the provider to host and maintain your site.
- You can build your own website on a platform like WIX, Weebly, or Squarespace. Similar to template-based advisor website services, you select a theme, choose your own images, and create your own content.
- You can hire a web development firm to create a website for you on a platform like WordPress
Pricing can vary from less than $100 per month to several thousands of dollars, depending upon what you specifically need and what expectations you have set for your advisor website in terms of serving as a marketing tool for you and your firm.
- If your website’s main purpose is to serve as an online brochure that primarily talks about you/your firm’s capabilities, then having a template-based platform might be best for you.
- If your website’s main purpose is to serve as your virtual greeter and work as a lead generation tool for your firm, then you should consider hiring a website development firm that specializes in working with financial advisors.
Website designs can be made custom to you and your needs, or they can be created using pre-made templates. There are pros and cons to each type of website design. Using a template is the less expensive option, but it also restricts you from being able to fully customize a site based on your individual needs. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for, and that is why setting a larger budget for your website design will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Advisor Website Best Practices
Your financial advisor website, when done right, should be converting traffic to prospects. Here are a few best practices to make sure that happens:
- Connect the dots: Let’s say your primary clients are retirees, however, the imagery you place on your website is that of young families. This is a disconnect as the primary people you are trying to attract are not represented visually on your website.
- Be transparent: When creating your navigation, consider including a pricing/fees page. Investors want to know what you will be charging them. You will build confidence and trust by including not only a list of the services that you provide but also a list of the costs associated with them.
- Easy navigation: It may sound simple but if you have the wrong navigation on your website, it can easily turn off a visitor from moving forward with you if they aren’t able to easily locate information on your site that is important to them. Make it intuitive and logical so any visitor can quickly find what they are looking for.
- Create relevant offers for your visitors: Add some type of free offer (eBook, checklist, infographic, complimentary review) that is of value to visitors on your site. The offer(s) should be relevant to the types of clients that you’re looking to work with and should meet a specific need they have.
- It’s not all about you: Your messaging and content should be directed to your visitors. They are searching for a solution to a need, issue, or concern. Your website messaging and content should talk to those concerns while also telling your story.
People love to read stories. They love to feel a connection. Spending time to write an informative, interesting financial advisor bio about yourself will help form a connection with your prospects and clients. It is not enough to simply state where you went to college. You should explain who you are and why you do what you do.
After you have written a financial bio that reads like a page-turning-best-seller, you certainly don’t want to include a blurry or bad picture of yourself. Or worse, have no picture at all. Remember, investors want to connect with you and they will do this by looking at the picture you have of yourself on your website. It is important to have a professional quality headshot alongside your advisor biography or even on the homepage of your site.
How does your website look on different devices? Not everyone will be viewing it on a desktop. More and more people are using mobile devices when searching for goods and services. That includes researching financial advisor firms and advisors. You should make sure your website is mobile friendly.
Once you decide on the look and feel of your website, you will decide the types of content to include. What do you want to share with your visitors? What will surprise and delight the visitors to your website? Producing content that is informative and engaging is key.
Social Media and Your Advisor Website
There are many moving parts in a successful Inbound Marketing campaign. From designing an optimized website, to starting a blog, to capturing prospect information using compelling incentives. Yet another large piece of your strategy should involve social media. There are several platforms available for you to choose from. As a financial advisor you should be using at a minimum: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and possibly YouTube. Each social media channel has different nuances and a different fan base. But each channel will allow you to shape the conversation around your brand and your image. Your website can link to all of your social media accounts and likewise, those accounts can be linked back to your website.
As you create blog posts for your blog, you may also decide to share them via your Twitter account or Facebook. In addition to using your own content on social media you can also use curated content. Planning, and executing a successful social media campaign requires time and effort but the payback is more than worth it.
Personas and Why They Matter
As a financial advisor, you already have an idea of who your ideal client is. How much money they have to invest, what their age is, their risk tolerance…and so forth.
As you are planning and designing your website it is critical that you spend time to come up with ‘buyer personas’. You may have more than one. Each buyer persona should be a complete representation of your ideal client. You will gather your data by conducting market research and by using data from your existing clients.
You will be using these buyer persona’s (fictionalized representations of your best/perfect/ideal client) as you consider the look and feel of your website as well as the content you will be including on the site.
Paladin Digital Marketing
Paladin Digital Marketing has used Inbound Marketing strategies since 2003 to produce qualified referrals for a select group of RIAs and IARs.
Paladin has packaged its unique Internet knowledge and experience into Digital Marketing and Consulting Services. No other firm provides this combination of expertise and services.