While still relatively new – especially considering how long it took to make happen – financial advisors are still discovering how to use testimonials and ratings with reviews on their websites and in their marketing efforts. This is, of course, thanks to the SEC’s Marketing Rule which amends a decades-old rule which enables financial advisors to do something professionals in other industries have been able to do for decades: promote client testimonials.
Why Testimonials Matter
Consumers can be hesitant to try new products and service providers, especially when those products or services involve their money and future financial security. A high percentage of consumers seek some type of validation that financial advisors are really trustworthy experts. The validation may be the difference between contacting a financial advisor and contacting someone else - the all-important generation of qualified leads.
This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as social proof. A third party has validated the quality of the financial advisor’s advice and services. The assumption is the third party has nothing to gain so the validation is accurate. This makes multiple validations even more important.
For financial advisors, what better way to connect to potential clients than to appeal to their inherent desire to hedge their risks by reviewing the experiences of others.
Testimonials can also become that much more powerful for those consumers who may not feel like they fit into the typical profile of a financial advisor’s clientele. By featuring testimonials from clients at each age, demographic, and income level, financial advisors can attract an even wider audience into their sales funnel.
And, let’s not forget, most financial advisors do not have marketable track records that document the results of current clients. Testimonials are not track records, but they do document the experience of satisfied clients.
Adding Testimonials to Financial Advisor Websites
Understanding the value of testimonials is just the beginning. From there, it’s time to implement those online reviews in ways that maximize visibility and results The first place to start is on the financial advisor website. A website not only serves as the hub of a financial advisor’s online presence but also is an ideal place to feature client testimonials.
Think about all of the insightful and relevant content on a financial advisor website. This information is powerful on its own. However, when combined with testimonials from real, live clients – the impact can be greatly enhanced.
Most financial advisors already have the standard content and are providing useful information under Resources such as eBooks, webinars, whitepapers, etc. By adding testimonials financial advisors make the other information on their websites that much more trustworthy because it is being validated by current clients.
Here are some of the ways financial advisors incorporate client testimonials on their websites.
When done correctly, a blog can be a major source of online traffic and potential leads. In particular when blog articles rank on page one of Google for keywords that are used by investors. Consider adding relevant testimonials to existing blog content, as well as creating new blog content built around specific testimonials to increase their impact.
Pro Tip: It’s important to find the right balance of blog topics with testimonials and content that stands on its own. Otherwise, the impact of those testimonials can be greatly reduced.
Add Relevant Testimonials to Specific Product Pages
Depending on the number and type of reviews a financial advisor has, sorting through existing reviews for relevance to specific website pages can be a worthwhile exercise. For example, if a financial advisor has a large number of clients with IRAs and other types of investment accounts, a testimonial from a similar client can provide validation that the advisor is, in fact, very skilled at investing assets in IRAs and other types of accounts.
This strategy can also be used as a way to increase engagement on popular website pages that have not produced meaningful results. In fact, having just one testimonial on a particular page can increase the productivity of that page. Just make sure the testimonial has some relevance to the content on the page.
Create A Dedicated Testimonials Page
In addition to incorporating client testimonials on existing website pages, client testimonials also deserve a page of their own. The type and quantity of these testimonials will determine how the page can be designed and the best way to feature the different types of reviews.
Also, while there is no rule about featuring the same testimonials on multiple pages throughout a financial advisor’s website, it can also backfire. It may appear as though there are very few testimonials, thereby creating a negative first impression with investors who are visiting the websites for the first time.
Additionally, this can create risk for financial advisors’ SEO efforts because Google has been known to reduce rankings for identical content on multiple pages. It rewards websites that provide unique, relevant content on each page.
Pro Tip: Before publishing a testimonials-only page, it would be a good idea to check with a compliance officer.
Additionally, as of this writing, it is required that financial advisor websites featuring and promoting testimonials should include a link to all testimonials – not just the glowing ones featured on that page. Examples of where to link for testimonials include 3rd-party review platforms such as Google My Business and Yelp.
Use Client Testimonials to Enhance SEO
As mentioned above, Google is known to reward unique, timely and relevant content in the form of favorable results on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Adding client testimonials to existing website content checks all of those boxes.
Unique content? Check.
These testimonials are timely? Check.
By monitoring review sites, new testimonials can be added to financial advisor websites on a regular basis.
There’s nothing more relevant than a client testimonial about their experience with a financial advisor.
The key to SEO, however, is that it is an integrated process that includes several services and a successful SEO strategy encompasses many different efforts across financial advisor websites.
While there is no current guide for promoting financial advisors’ client testimonials, especially given how new the practice is, here are some widely accepted best practices from digital marketing professionals:
- Include a CTA (Call To Action) on every review page
- Ask current clients for testimonials
- Get documented permission from clients providing the testimonials
- Use photos whenever possible
Want to take it to the next level? How about testimonial videos that describe a clients’ personal experiences.
There are likely to be many more best practices as more financial advisors begin using testimonials, reviews, and ratings. Being an early adopter of this marketing practice is a great way to validate the quality of financial advisor services and generate more leads.