5 Essentials for an Effective Financial Advisor Website
Do you remember the last time you read an actual newspaper? Or printed out a map to get you where you needed to go? How about shopping? Did you go to the actual store or simply visit Amazon.com?
Think about the now-enormous Amazon. Jeff Bezos launched it out of his garage 24 years ago. The website officially opened for business as an online bookseller but now functions as an e-commerce giant. It’s unbelievable to look back at changes this website has undergone over the years.
We can all learn an important lesson from Amazon and its website; change can be good, change can be productive and most importantly, change can help us grow.
Your Digital First Impression
74% of prospects say that online information they did or did not find about a financial advisor was extremely or very influential during their evaluation. Also, 46% of prospects have eliminated an advisor from consideration based on the information they did or did not find online - proof that your online presence matters.
Prospects have the ability to evaluate and eliminate advisors even before meeting them. Your website provides an opportunity to tailor your story, to control the narrative and connect with prospects.
It’s time to analyze your website - your digital first impression - and make sure you’re addressing the questions prospects want answered. Does your content align with how you want to position yourself? Will it resonate and make you stand out above the rest? Take a closer look, take charge of your digital brand and include these 5 essential elements to ensure the effectiveness of your website:
1) Answer Questions in Your Content
Based on our research, AdvisorEngine discovered that a large gap exists between how advisors represent themselves online and how high net-worth prospects are vetting which advisor to work with. To eliminate this divide, make sure your website provides prospects answers to these four evaluation questions:
- Do you help people like me?
- Can I trust you?
- How will you help me?
- What’s the process of working together?
Go to your own website and think about the answers to these questions. Thoroughly explain your ideal client. Give examples of different life situations that current clients have come to you with. What have you done to help them achieve goals? Create clarity how the services you offer help clients feel more confident. Be specific and create a client-centric headline, or mission statement.
Explain your communication process along with the steps in your operation. Describe how you work together - frame it from a client’s perspective - make them ‘feel’ what it’s like to work with you. Walk them through first contact, on-boarding, portfolio development, trading, relationship - every part of the journey.
Include a call-to-action on each webpage. This call-to-action is a key element, acting as a signpost to let prospects know what to do next. Give people a clear pathway to the next step in working with you. Don’t make them work to find your contact information.
2) Sharpen Those ‘About Us’ and ‘Bio’ Pages
When you study Google Analytics along with website heat maps, you’ll find that a majority of visitors spend a lot of time on a website’s “about us” or team page. Prospects are extremely interested in the individuals who make up your team. These pages help visitors get to know your team on a more personal level and are a great starting point for building long-term relationships.
Make sure to explain why the company exists, how it was formed and the ways your team works together. How do you hire your employees? Don’t forget to include a team picture.
Individual bios should include:
- Updated head shots - photos should be cropped at the shoulders and just above the head, in color and in focus, with a neutral background and make sure you smile
- Specific content surrounding your “why”
- The types of clients you work with
- Proof statements - certifications, third party validations and experiences
- Who you are, your personality beyond work – what do you do outside of the office? The more specific you are about your activities, the more engaging the content
- A call-to-action at the end of your bio page – phone number or email
3) Consider Blog Content
There are three reasons to have a blog:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to try and get organic traffic from Google
- Showcase your expertise when prospects are looking on your website
- Be a source of information or advice for clients and prospects
Think of the questions your clients are asking you. Write content answering those questions on your blog. These unique pieces of content will show up in Google search results and drive traffic to your website. You can also use your blog as a place you can direct clients or prospects for resources - it adds to your credibility.
4) Cover the Technical Basics
While a stellar website can be an added component of a successful marketing strategy, it is very important to make sure all the technical basics are covered. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Easy to navigate and user-friendly website
- Readable font size
- Responsive website design
- Secure website
When a website adheres to proper responsive design principles, the website looks good on any device - computer, phone or tablet. True responsive websites means every page of your website is mobile-friendly. Google provides a tool to determine website mobile-friendliness.
Ensure your website is safe and secure by setting up a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. A SSL certificate, also called a digital certificate, creates a secure link between the website and a visitor's browser. This connection ensures that all data passed between the two remains private and secure. The encryption prevents hackers from stealing information. It is this attention to detail that prospects notice and appreciate.
5) Seek Compliance Approval
We all know that meeting financial advisor compliance requirements in your digital footprint is important but can be daunting. The key is finding a balance between risk and effectiveness.
Do your due diligence and make sure ALL your content is approved by your compliance officer before publishing. Stay up to date with the latest regulatory changes. Our own compliance officer, Beth Haddock, recommends, “It is absolutely critical that compliance be a part of your company culture.”
When you make improvements to your website, make sure to have those changes approved - don’t be someone who falls into a compliance pitfall.
News apps, map apps, shopping apps and evolving websites – they all represent change. This digital era makes information easy. We all need to realize that not only are behaviors changing; there’s also a revolution in the way we build and find relationships. By understanding this, you can position your firm for success.
AdvisorEngine has worked with over 1,400 financial advisors and we have learned a lot along the way. We have conducted in-depth research to discover what questions prospects need answered when searching for a financial advisor.
Not only do we build an open-architecture, wealth management technology platform, we also focus on end-to-end financial advice. If you are ready to improve your market presence, strengthen your online credibility and engage with more clients - let us be your “marketing brain power” and help enhance your digital first impression. Schedule a demo today to see how AdvisorEngine can help you grow and scale your business.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. (“AdvisorEngine”) and Junxure, an affiliate of AdvisorEngine. The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services.
About Craig Ramsey
Craig translates vision into action – ensuring alignment and driving operational excellence across the company. He leads the executive management committee and helps the team measure success to stay on track. Craig is a business builder with a background in corporate strategy, investment banking and consulting. He joined AdvisorEngine from WisdomTree – a global asset manager driven by research and technology (NASDAQ: WETF) – where he led strategy, helped establish an international presence and pushed the company beyond ETFs into technology solutions. Craig has prior experience at BofA Merrill Lynch, Accenture, Croft & Bender and UBS. He graduated from Vanderbilt University and completed coursework at London School of Economics and Peking University in Beijing. Craig serves on the advisory board for Back on My Feet, a nonprofit which combats homelessness through running and community support.