The financial services industry has a trust problem: Studies show that the public is still leery of financial advisors they don’t know. While many people are perfectly willing to engage with a CPA or attorney based solely on professional information, consumers still think of financial advisors as salespeople, with lots of negative baggage, and as a consequence, they are afraid of them. That’s why good, strong financial advisor bios on your website are so important.
An investor’s apprehension begins to melt away when he or she gets a sense that the advisor is actually an individual. That’s why having a first-rate bio is a critical element in your marketing plan. Your bio is your opening shot at overcoming readers’ ingrained apprehension about financial salespeople.
Please note: The bio isn’t sufficient by itself. You’ll still need to come across well in person and on the phone, especially during the initial prospect interview and fact-finding process. But a well-written and crafted bio can go a long way to neutralizing the trust issue and give you a shot at turning that prospect into a client.
Here are 14 steps to creating dynamite financial advisor bios:
- Focus on the first line. Your first sentence is the most important part of your bio, because that’s the sentence that tells the reader whether they want to read more. So, spend extra time on the opening.
- Write three versions. Write out a few bios and keep them handy on your hard drive. Write one “blurb” about 40 words long, keep one middle-length at about 200 words, and make the last version a bit longer, perhaps two or three paragraphs. As you continue to market yourself and your financial planning practice, you’ll use these bios over and over again, so keep them handy and up-to-date.
- Tell your story. This is your first and best chance to humanize yourself. This is a key element in building trust. Your credentials and professional experiences are important, but your bio should incorporate them in your story.
- Begin your bio with your first and last name. Both your first and last name should appear in the title and in the first paragraph. Incorporate your first and last name once or twice again throughout the piece. Your goal is to attract traffic from people who might search your name, looking specifically for information about you. If they get to the point that they’re looking you up by name, they’re probably hot prospects, and your bio should be a strong selling point.
- Include your city. Four out of every five web users want search results that are localized to their cities and towns. Even better, 84 percent of computer users do local searches for business services, and a whopping 88 percent of mobile users do local searches for services and products.
Including your city in your bio page can get your information in front of the most important readers of all: The ones within driving distance of your office. For best results, include the city or town where your office is, as well as where you live; for example, “Richard lives with his wife and two daughters in Springfield, where he grew up.”
- Consider your audience. Who are you trying to reach? Clients don’t care that you were a member of the Million Dollar Round Table for five years in a row. Other financial service professionals might care, but not prospects or potential clients. Clients care about your professional credentials only if they relate to them directly and speak to their own needs; for example, having the “CFP” mark still holds a lot of weight.
Don’t focus on your awards and certifications. Focus on the value that you can bring to your client relationships.
- Include your UVP. Your UVP is your Unique Value Proposition as a financial professional. The emphasis is on unique. What is it that sets you apart from the competition? What is it about you that other planners have a hard time matching? Highlight that. It not only elevates you, but potentially drives a wedge between your prospects and the competition.
- Write in the third-person, rather than in the first-person. It’s much better to say, “Michael Smith is the leading expert on estate planning issues in the Portola Valley region,” than it is to say, “I’m the leading expert …”
- Include both professional and personal information. Not everyone responds to a mere list of credentials, dates, numbers and practice information. Most people want an advisor they can relate to on a personal level as well as professional. Your readers will include both right-brained and left-brained individuals, so have something to engage both groups. Include a tidbit or two about your skydiving hobby, your military service, your passion for quilting or something funny about your cats, but keep it short and simple!
Pro tip: Don’t overdo it on the cat thing!
- Don’t complicate things for yourself. You want a bio that you don’t have to go back and change all the time, because chances are, you’ll forget. Make sure you keep your writing “evergreen.” For example, instead of writing, “Jones brings seven years of financial planning experience to the table,” write, “Jones founded Jones Financial Planning in 2011.” That way, you don’t have to update your bio every year.
- Include a Call To Action. Your bio is definitely a marketing piece. Make it easy for the reader to engage with you. Tell them to send you an email, visit your website or call you directly – and give them a link that allows them to do it immediately and easily! Don’t let a hot prospect vaporize after reading your bio. Provide at least one path (preferably multiple paths) to continue the relationship and proceed toward an appointment and an eventual client relationship.
- Link to what you want them to read. Today’s bios should include hyperlinks – to your LinkedIn account, where they can find more information about you; to your professional Twitter or Facebook account; and to your blog. If you have written articles in newspapers, magazines or trade journals, include a link to at least one of those too. White papers and other pieces of original research are good, especially if you can capture contact information for your drip marketing system.
- Update your photo. Real estate agents are famous for terrible photos. Financial advisors can’t get away with that! If your last professional photo was taken with ’80s glam hair, a mullet or has you posing in a leisure suit like the lost member of the Bee Gees, it’s time to update it.
- Proofread it. Better yet, have someone else proofread your bio for you before it goes live.