Every financial advisory firm has a website. Some of the websites produce leads for firms that own them and some have never produced a lead.
Why are some financial advisor websites great sources of new clients, while other sites are nothing more than online sales brochures?
In general, financial advisors who view the Internet as a source of new clients have custom websites that are designed to generate leads. Other advisors have websites because all of their competitors have websites. However, they do not view the Internet and Digital Marketing as a way to accelerate the growth of their firms.
Financial advisor websites do not generate traffic. Advisors can refer people they know to their websites, but the real goal is to reach people (strangers) who do not know the firm. This means they have to be able to find the financial advisors’ websites on the Internet.
A website without any effective Inbound Marketing will not have the traffic that financial advisor websites need to produce leads for the firm.
So, advisors who want to use the Internet to produce new clients must use Inbound Marketing to produce website traffic and they need custom websites that are designed to convert the traffic into leads.
Top 7 Strategies
It takes a commitment to Digital Marketing to have a successful experience on the Internet. The financial advisor websites that produce the most leads share seven common characteristics:
- Persona-Based Content
- Continuity of Content
- Intuitive Navigation
- Features and Benefits
- Compelling Free Offers
- Relevant Drip Emails
- Performance Monitoring
A core strategy for effective Digital Marketing is publishing blog articles that target the interests of the advisors’ ideal types of clients.
For example, if a firm likes to work with pre-retirees, then the content that is produced by the firm should target the goals, interests and concerns of pre-retirees. What are the pain-points for people who are in transition from working years to retirement years? Or, what are the issues that will be confronted by people who are rolling 401k assets into IRAs?
Relevant content is critical when advisors want to drive this type of person to their websites.
Continuity of Content
In an ideal world, the content on websites will match the content that brings people to the financial advisors’ websites.
For example, people find an article about pre-retirement that routes them to an advisor’s website. Then they find pre-retirement content on the website.
The opposite of this strategy would be to find pre-retirement content on the Internet and content that targets Millennials on the financial advisors’ websites. This is a major disconnect.
This continuity gives people the confidence that they have come to the right website and increases the odds they will submit their contact information.
Numerous studies have shown that people will not search for information on financial advisor websites. They will exit the site before they will search for particular types of information.
Step one is to know what types of information people are looking for when they use the Internet to find and research investors. Then, advisors’ navigation has to lead them to the information.
This means most advisors will have similar navigation: Who We Are, Why Select Us, What We Do, Who We Service, Insights (Blog) and Contact Us.
If an advisory firm is trying to be different, navigation is not the place to do that. Any differences are described in the content and not in the navigation.
Features and Benefits
Poorly designed financial advisor websites are all about the advisory firm and are not about the people who visit the site.
This means the best advisor websites provide firm information and they describe how that information benefits visitors who are using the Internet to find and research financial advisors.
For example, describe a feature of the firm and then the related benefit for the investor.
The more advisor websites relate to the interests of potential clients, the higher the probability the sites will produce leads for the firms.
Compelling Free Offers
Content on the best websites provide the information that people are seeking, but that may not be enough to convince visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact data. The back-up strategy for many advisors is to add free offers to their websites.
Free offers can take many forms: Plan reviews, portfolio reviews, initial consultations and calculators. However, these are not the ideal free offers. Plan and portfolio reviews require people to submit personal financial data to firms they don’t know. Calculators may divert people’s attention away from what advisors really want – learning more about the firm.
The best free offers are eBooks that have compelling titles and relevant content. For example: “What are your five biggest financial risks when you retire?” Everyone should want to know about risks they can avoid.
Relevant Drip Emails
Financial advisors’ Digital Marketing strategies should not assume every visitor to their websites has an immediate need for an advisor. In fact, a lot of visitors are conducting research and are not ready to initiate contact that will lead to interviews.
For example, website visitors may be using the Internet to find advisors in their communities, but they won’t contact advisors until they are closer to retirement. Some people want to learn more about particular advisory firms before they contact them or initiate the interview process.
Timing, when people want to interview advisors, can be a big issue.
People, in particular those who have had bad experiences with previous financial advisors, will be cautious. Advisor CRM systems should be designed to build credibility and trust while staying in touch with people until they are ready to schedule interviews.
Digital Marketing experts say advisors should send investors monthly emails that have some relevance to their current situations – for example pending retirement.
Generic newsletters are not the best way to keep advisor names in front of future clients. After one or two newsletters, people may unsubscribe or delete future newsletters without reading them. This strategy could be more offensive than productive.
The best financial advisor websites are using Google Analytics and other tools to monitor all aspects of their Digital Marketing strategies.
It is not enough to know how many people visited advisor websites. The advisor should also know which pages were visited, how much time was spent on each page and the pages’ bounce rates. The best pages are the ones that produced the most leads.
Financial advisors should be very aware of what is working on the website and what is not working and may require changes or enhancements.
Financial advisors work in what is arguably the most competitive marketplace in the country. The Internet increases competitive pressure when thousands of firms are competing for the same space and clients.
Marginal efforts will not get the job done when financial advisors decide to use Inbound Marketing and lead generation to accelerate the growth of their firms.
Advisors need Digital Marketing strategies that produce results.