We know every financial advisor in America has a website. We also know, based on Paladin surveys, that 82% of these websites do not produce sufficient leads for the firms that own them.
In the context of this article, a financial advisor is a firm that provides planning and investment services to individual and institutional investors. Some firms also provide risk management, tax, and legal services. Also, the firms can be independent RIA or IAR firms and fee only or fee-based. This means some of the financial advisors have Broker/Dealer relationships and some of the BDs are also the RIAs for IAR based firms.
Why are these important distinctions? They impact how these firms market their advice and services to potential clients on the Internet.
This article will describe the top five reasons why so many financial advisor websites do not produce adequate results for their owners.
Perhaps you are asking yourself some of the following questions.
Does my financial advisor website have enough Internet visibility to produce a steady flow of leads?
This is a major challenge for many financial advisor websites. They have newer websites based on appearance and content, there are no digital marketing efforts that produce Internet visibility.
So the culprit is Internet visibility and not the website. When there is no Internet visibility, there is no traffic to financial advisor websites.
The solution is to launch a digital marketing strategy that produces Internet visibility: Blog articles, pillar pages, social media, local SEO, email marketing, and paid advertising campaigns.
The role of digital marketing for financial advisors is to make it easy for investors to find you on the Internet so they can initiate contact.
Is my financial advisor website designed to produce the right types of leads?
We know from years of experience producing leads for financial advisors that investors are seeking firms that work with clients like themselves. They believe “specialists” have experience and services that will benefit them.
When visitors go to the Who We Serve page on financial advisor websites, investors expect to see descriptions of investors like themselves. For example, the visitor is a pre-retiree and the financial advisor works with pre-retirees.
Unfortunately, many advisors use generic descriptions for the types of investors they work with. For example, they work with HNW investors instead of pre-retirees, business owners, or other more specific types of investors.
Is my financial advisor website delivering the right information to investors?
If your website is converting a reasonable number of visitors into leads, then it is reasonable to assume your website is delivering the right information in the right format. On the other hand, if you have hundreds of visitors per month on the website, and very few leads, then the answer is no. There is a high probability the website is not designed to convert visitors into financial advisor leads.
Unfortunately, the latter description fits the majority of financial advisor websites. The question is why? We believe most financial advisor websites are designed to act like online sales brochures when they deliver basic information about the firms that own them: About Us, Who We Serve, What We Do, and Why Us. But, they fall short of converting those visitors into leads.
Part of the problem is the intent of the investors. The majority of website visitors are not seeking financial advisors. They are seeking information.
The information they are seeking may be about a particular firm or advisors in general. Or, they are seeking specific types of financial information.
This makes the Information Center on many financial advisor websites a valuable resource for building credibility, brand name recognition, and trust.
Should my financial advisor website practice full disclosure?
This is a two-edged sword. We can spend a lot of time describing what appears on financial advisor websites, but we should also consider what is withheld on the websites.
It stands to reason that financial advisors want to emphasize their strengths on their websites and avoid content that may describe weaknesses.
Why avoid weaknesses? A high percentage of investors use a process of exclusion when they select financial advisors.
Let’s assume a typical investor will visit ten advisor websites, select four for interviews, and hire one. How do they get from ten to one? They have to exclude nine.
Investors use this process because a high percentage of them do not know how to select the best financial advisors. They tend to use subjective processes that cause them to select the advisors they like the best. This subjectivity is the basis for their processes of exclusion.
What is an example of sensitive information on a financial advisor website? Many advisors describe themselves as fee-only or fee-based, but they rarely publish their fee schedules. Or, they rarely describe how their fees work except for a short sales message: “We charge asset-based fees so we do better when our clients do better”.
What if one firm publishes a fee schedule and another does not? Does the firm that publishes the fee schedule have a competitive advantage because they are practicing a higher level of disclosure to build trust? Or, will the publishing of fees cause them to be excluded from the search?
Why is withholding information a serious topic? Keep in mind, that most investors are visiting several financial advisor websites before they decide to contact the ones they like the best.
Is my website competitive with other financial advisor websites?
As you saw in the “process of exclusion” this is a numbers game for most investors and the Internet has given this investor-driven process some serious teeth.
What does that mean? It means the Internet gives investors access to the information they need to screen financial advisors without actually talking to the advisors. They give up their anonymity after they have visited financial advisor websites and Google searched their names.
The primary role of the website is to make sure they contact your firm.
The information on the Internet helps them select the firms they want to contact. Let’s call this “making the cut”. If advisors don’t make the cut they have website visitors, but no leads. Does this sound familiar?
Therefore investors have the power to determine who they want to contact and who they want to exclude.
The role of financial advisor websites is to make sure the firm is contacted by visitors for two reasons. The best reason for contact is to schedule an interview to get to know each other.
The second reason is to access information about financial topics including picking the best financial advisor. This information should be gated so they have to register to obtain it. The first reason produces leads. The second reason produces contacts for the advisors’ CRM systems.