What Should You Know Before You Start?Every financial advisor website serves the same core purpose. It is a delivery system for information about the advisor’s firm, professionals, philosophy, and processes.
All advisor websites do that, some better than others.
Financial advisors also expect their websites to produce qualified leads for their services. However, very few advisors experience a steady flow of new prospects each month. Why not and what can they do about it?
Was it because the advisors’ content was not competitive with the content on other websites? Or, was is because there was nothing interesting enough on the website to compel visitors to give up their anonymity and submit their contact information?
If you are considering an upgrade to your current financial advisor website, you should read this article before you start.
Visibility & Traffic
A current website may not produce leads because it was not designed with that purpose in mind. The main purpose was the dissemination of basic information, but not too much information.
The bigger issue may be that websites do not produce their own traffic. Internet visibility produces traffic for websites. For example, investors find articles on the Internet. They visit advisor blogs/websites to view the articles. This constitutes traffic on an advisor’s website.
Advisors have, what is frequently called a one-time opportunity, to convince investors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
This process is easier said than done. Advisors have to get the investors to their websites before they can convert them into qualified leads. Websites impact conversion rates, but they do not produce the traffic that can be converted into qualified leads.
There is one significant exception. This occurs when people input the advisor’s URL in the search engine. The inputting of the URL suggests the visitors already know the firms. The goal of most digital marketing efforts is to reach people who do not already know the firms.
Most advisors are familiar with Outbound Marketing. They have used Outbound tactics for years to initiate contact with investors. Telemarketing and direct mail have been the two most common forms of Outbound Marketing.
The Internet has created the opportunity for newer forms of Inbound Marketing. That is, investors initiate contact with advisors when they find them on the Internet and submit their contact information.
Historically, the only form of Inbound Marketing was print advertising – people responding to ads. Even that has shifted to the Internet when financial advisors advertise their firms’ services on Google and Facebook. Very few advisors use print, radio, or TV to promote their services and produce leads. The primary exception is brand name firms with very deep prospects.
Smaller RIAs cannot outspend them, so they have to outsmart them.
A high percentage of advisors view their websites as a source of leads. This happens when investors visit advisor websites and submit their contact information.
This is what all advisors would like their websites to do so they must make their websites as user-friendly as possible. There are five key elements that make this happens:
- Advisor websites deliver the information that investors are seeking
- Advisors build trust by practicing transparency
- Advisor websites are competitive with other sites
- Advisors are easy to contact to get started
- Advisors make investors feel safe when they submit contact data
Again, this is the ideal outcome when someone visits a financial advisor’s website. Visitors have an immediate need that results in their initiation of contact with the advisors.
However, not everyone has an immediate need to talk to advisors. Perhaps they have a future need and they are currently collecting information for their future use. We call these types of visitors - information seekers.
A much higher percentage of people who visit advisor websites are seeking information about the firms, about financial advisors, or about a financial topic. A chief characteristic is they are not ready to talk yet. This does not mean they are not qualified prospects. They are just not ready to talk.
An example of an information seeker is an investor in a 401k Target Date Fund who has never selected a financial advisor. The seeker will be retiring in a few months. Meanwhile, they want to learn more about financial advisors. They may also be researching financial advisors who are located in their communities. Regardless of their motivation, they are seeking information and not advisors – that comes later.
Every month hundreds of thousands of investors use the Internet to find information. Top-notch financial advisor websites are designed to deliver this information in a way that enables them to establish relationships with the seekers.
It stands to reason it is not possible to change their need for information to an immediate need for a financial advisor. The timing for interviews and selecting advisors is controlled by consumers.
It is important to note, even when there is a relatively immediate need for an advisor, advisors should not assume investors are going to make quick selection decisions based on the strength of their needs. And, even then, their assets may not be available for investment for several months.
Once advisors capture contact information, they should use their CRM technology to begin the nurturing process that converts visitors into leads, leads into active prospects, and prospects into revenue-producing clients.
At the core of the nurturing process is the need to develop credibility and trust that lead to the next step in the advisors’ marketing processes. Some people call this the rapport-building step. It is much more important than that.
Internet visibility can produce traffic to financial advisor websites. Advisor websites can convert visitors into leads, but it will always be the responsibility of advisors to convert leads into clients.