Every financial advisor has a website. Most of the sites were launched years ago when financial firms thought it was important to have websites because all of their competitors had websites. No one wanted to be conspicuous by their absence.
This is challenge number one when financial advisors treat their websites like online sales brochures. Sure, websites deliver information like a brochure, but brochures do not generate leads. Advisors have to know investors before they can deliver their brochures. The same is not true for custom, lead generation websites that deliver information to investors who are not known to financial advisors until they initiate contact.
Challenge number two presents itself as the low expectations that financial advisors have for their websites. They don’t view digital marketing as a source of new clients because their template-based websites have never produced leads for their firms. In fact, many financial advisors say they have had their websites for years and they have never produced one lead.
Because many financial advisor firms have such low expectations for the performance of their websites it makes some level of sense to buy cheap template-based sites for as little money as possible. Then their strategies become self-fulfilling marketing prophecies. Cheap financial advisor websites do not produce results for their owners, so the advisor was right.
Times are changing and it is not just the impact of Covid-19 on the marketing practices of financial advisors. Increasing numbers of investors are using the Internet to find, screen, validate, and contact financial advisors and firms. This trend will continue to accelerate as Robo and Virtual advisory firms spend increasing amounts of money on digital marketing.
These trends are rapidly becoming marketing challenges for financial advisors that do not want to be left behind. It is only a matter of time until more investors rely on what they see on the Internet when they select financial advisors.
It is still early in the game, based on a recent Paladin Digital Marketing survey, when 82% of financial advisors are not prepared to take advantage of these rapidly evolving trends. They continue to use obsolete, theme-based websites that fail to convert visitors into leads and contacts for their financial advice and services.
Let’s be clear that digital marketing is not for the faint of heart. It is an extraordinary competitive marketplace. There is very little room for error when financial advisor websites have seconds to create the right first impressions and two minutes to convince visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
We can help. The following are five best practices that will help your financial advisor firm increase the productivity of its website.
Sometimes the challenge is not the website. It is the Internet visibility that produces visitors to the website. It is difficult for a website to be productive if there is little or no traffic that may be interested in the advisors’ services.
1. Content on Financial Advisor WebsitesIt stands to reason, that investors visit your website to learn more about your firm and the professionals who work there. Make sure you deliver the right information in a clear, succinct fashion. Avoid any financial jargon that will turn investors off. You have a couple of minutes to deliver this content.
Because time is so critical it is imperative that the navigation on your website is as intuitive as possible. Numerous surveys show investors will not search for information on financial advisor websites. They will exit the site before they will search for information.
Keep in mind a high percentage of investors are surfing the web looking for service providers. Therefore, your website has to be competitive with the other sites they are visiting.
2. Messaging on Financial Advisor Websites
The role of content is to deliver information about the firm: Who You Are, What You Do, Who You Serve. The role of messaging is to keep investors on your website so they learn more about your firm. Messaging also serves a second purpose. It encourages investors to take action - for example, contact you or register to receive a free eBook.
Time is also a critical variable. For example, the headline that appears on the top of your home page, sometimes called an elevator pitch, has approximately 10 seconds to convince visitors to open other pages on your site.
You can measure the effectiveness of this pitch by looking at the bounce rate (Google Analytics) from your home page.
3. Free Offers on Financial Advisor Websites
Your website should give investors a lot of reasons to contact you. In fact, the more the better. A frequent tactic is to use multiple free offers on financial advisor websites that motivate investors to submit their contact data. An offer could be an eBook or access to an on-demand webinar. Both should have intriguing titles that create significant interest.
The more free offers on your website the more leads the website should produce for your firm.
4. Local SEO for Financial Advisor Websites
Make sure your site is optimized for local exposure. 24.7% of Google’s algorithm for ranking websites is based on local exposure. Even though your market may not be local, this type of exposure is still important.
Local SEO is also easier to achieve than online visibility for keywords that are not geo-specific. You are only competing with other local financial advisors. The same cannot be said for keywords that are not geo-specific.
5. Mobile Responsiveness for Financial Advisor Websites
A high percentage of older websites are not mobile responsive. However, your site must be mobile responsive to be visible on Google and the other major search engines.
Why is this so important? Google says 62% of all online searches are conducted from mobile devices. Therefore, your website is at a distinct disadvantage if it does not present your information in a mobile-friendly format.
Google rewards firms that have mobile-friendly websites because it enhances the experience of investors who rely on Google to find information and service providers.
Google will also penalize firms that create negative outcomes for their users.
Editor's note: This blog article was originally published in 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Originally published in 2016, updated November 17, 2020.