Financial advisor websites serve several electronic marketing roles:
- Electronic first impressions that keep visitors on websites
- Delivery of information about firms and professionals
- Educational content that impacts financial advisor credibility
- Converting visitors into leads who are seeking financial advisors
- Convert visitors into contacts who are seeking information
A high percentage of contacts (versus leads) are investors who have an immediate need for information and a deferred need for a financial advisor. An example of deferral is they are retiring in six to twelve months and want to learn more before they start interviewing financial advisors. Their need for information creates a major marketing opportunity for the financial advisors who provide the information on their websites. Financial advisors should view this as an opportunity to build credibility and create a competitive advantage.
Investors using the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors make the advisors’ websites very powerful sales tools. In fact, websites are near the top of the financial advisors’ sales funnels when they produce the leads that financial advisors depend on for organic growth. Financial advisor websites fail to do their jobs if they are not creating a positive first impression, delivering the right information, and converting more visitors into qualified contacts (leads).
This dependency may seem like a contradiction for financial advisors who continue to rely on outbound sales tactics to create leads and convert them into prospects and clients. However, this process is not about converting prospects into clients - that is part of sales. It is about websites converting visitors into prospects.
Financial Advisor Websites Produce Leads and Contacts
Let’s dive a little deeper into leads and contacts and the digital marketing services that create them. First of all, we already know investors use the Internet to find advisors (advisor-seekers) and information (information-seekers). Both types create major marketing opportunities when they visit financial advisor websites and submit their contact information.
A high percentage of financial advisors measure the productivity of their websites based on the number of investors who contact them to schedule interviews (advisor-seekers). This makes sense because they represent the best opportunity for producing short-term revenue. Therefore, they pay more attention to the advisor-seekers than they do to the information-seekers.
This is a big mistake. Some of the advisors’ best prospects will be the information-seekers, who are not ready to interview financial advisors. They have chosen to go through their learning curves before they start interviewing financial advisors. It was not that the advisors’ websites failed to produce a great first impression and deliver the right information. In fact, financial advisor websites may not deliver all of the information that investors are seeking. They may only deliver part of the information, but it is an important part because it establishes contact and nothing else would have fulfilled that need for investors.
It is a Numbers Game
It stands to reason there are a lot more people retiring in the next few years than there are people who are retiring in the next 60 days. So, timing should be an integral part of every financial advisor’s website marketing strategy.
The advisors’ goal for this marketing strategy is simple. They want to be the trusted source of the information that investors are seeking. When they are the source, they have the contact information they need to build credibility, name recognition, and rapport. Even more important, they have a competitive edge compared to advisors who have not provided financial information to investors before the interview process starts.
This makes sense because all marketing strategies are based on a fairly consistent set of numbers:
- How many investors visited an advisor’s website?
- How many investors downloaded an eBook?
- How many investors filled out a landing page?
- How many investors had an immediate need to schedule an interview?
- How many investors had a deferred need?
- Numbers, numbers, and more numbers
The more sales opportunities that are created by financial advisor websites the more clients they produce for their firms – both now and in the future.
Most investors have very little knowledge about advisors, their credentials, their compliance records, their planning and investment services, and their methods of compensation. This makes them vulnerable to lower quality advisors, the advisors with the best sales skills, and the advisors with the best personalities. Note, none of these characteristics have anything to do with the advisors’ competence or trustworthiness.
The Internet opens the door to vast amounts of information on financial advisors and third-party websites that help them make better decisions starting with selecting the best financial advisors.
Financial advisor websites should be the source of information that investors rely on to learn more about financial advisors and the firms that they work for.
Power Transfers to Investors
One of an investor’s biggest fears is selecting an incompetent or unethical financial advisor. This fear is exacerbated ten-fold if they have had a bad experience with a previous advisor.
Their risk also escalates when their only source of information is the advisor. Astute investors know information that is controlled by financial advisors can be manipulated by the advisors This is one of the primary reasons why increasing numbers of investors use the Internet to find and research advisors.
The SEC made this process easier for investors when it approved the use of testimonials, ratings, and reviews.
The Internet is not only the investors’ best source of valuable information about financial advisors, they can also maintain their anonymity while they are conducting their research and they can determine who they want to contact when they are ready to start their interview processes.
Advisors add to their credibility when they are the source of information that investors rely on to make their financial decisions.
Subjectivity vs Objectivity
Advisors open the door to more marketing opportunities when they use their websites to convert investors’ subjective selection processes into rational decisions based on objective criteria.
We all know a high percentage of investors use subjective decision-making processes when they select financial advisors. For example, they select the advisors they like the best or the advisors who:
- Create the highest expectations
- Tell them what they want to hear
- Work at brand name firms
- Take them to a free lunch
They do not select the advisors with the best credentials, ethics, business practices, and services. Some say it is because investors do not know how to evaluate the criteria. For example, how do they compare CFAs to CFPs and what did they have to do to earn the credentials?
This creates a major business opportunity for advisors who rely on their websites to produce qualified prospects for their services. They introduce as many objective criteria as possible on their websites, although some advisors are beginning to use video to convey the personalities of their firms.
How Important Is Your Financial Advisor Website?
Every financial advisor has a website, but the websites do not produce their own traffic. Websites need traffic to be productive and this traffic is produced by Internet visibility – investors have to be able to find financial advisors to visit their websites.
This is not a lot different than the experiences of most consumers when they visit a shopping mall to buy a particular product. They visit the mall because that is the easiest way to find what they are looking for. Their searches lead them to particular stores that sell what they are seeking. They may visit several stores and they become buyers when they find what they are seeking for the best price. This is an ingrained practice based on human behavior.
Their searches are complicated when there are several stores in the mall that sell the same products. Each store has a one-time opportunity to convince shoppers (visitors) to buy what the store is selling. Or, in the case of financial advisors, investors initiate contact with one or more advisors to schedule interviews or obtain information about a financial topic.
It pays to remember financial advisor websites have a one-time opportunity to generate a lead or a contact and they are equally valuable.
Originally published on March 12, 2020
Updated on January 18, 2022