Most financial advisors believe the most important application for investors is using the Internet to find advisors. That is because this application is what produces leads.
However, that is only half correct. An even bigger application is investors using the Internet to research advisors and 82% of the time that starts on the financial advisors’ websites.
Finding advisors on the Internet is a critical step, but what investors see and hear during their research processes determine who they contact to schedule initial interviews.
In this case, researching financial advisors may be the more important application because there are several ways to find financial advisors. But, the Internet is by far the best way to research advisors. And, what they see should be designed to build trust, so investors are comfortable giving up their anonymity and submitting their contact information.
Why does trust start with delivering the right information on financial advisor websites?
That is because investors are visiting multiple financial advisor websites and they are comparing the information they find on the various sites.
You want to make this process as intuitive and fast as possible. It starts with certain design elements that include your navigation and a limited amount of content on each page.
Key navigation includes: About Us, Our Team, What We Do, Who We Serve, Why Select Us, and a Resource Center to educate investors.
Each page has approximately 200 words of content. That is based on the amount of time the average investor will spend on the page - if they are interested enough to commit the time.
Too much information is sometimes worse than not enough information.
What information should be front and center on every financial advisor website?
Investors have some pretty basic questions when they use the Internet to visit financial advisor websites.
- Did they come to the right websites?
- Do the advisors provide the services they are seeking?
- Do the advisors work with investors like them?
- What makes the financial advisors stand out from the others?
Should I Show Investors How to Select the Best Financial Advisor?
Every high-quality financial advisor firm should publish an eBook on their website that does the following:
- Educates investors about financial advisors
- Teaches investors how to select the best financial advisors
- Provides a questionnaire for advisors
This is not an option for lower-quality financial advisors who are more inclined to withhold information that may cause investors to exclude them from their search processes.
This eBook should be as factually accurate as possible and not promotional. This makes the information that much more trustworthy.
Most eBooks require registration to access their content. This creates a potential conflict if investors perceive this tactic as just another way to obtain their contact information.
Therefore, financial advisors should consider waiving registration for this eBook so more investors download it. This is one more way to build trust with investors who do not know your firm.
How does transparency build trust on my financial advisor website?
It makes sense when investors are seeking financial advisors they can interview on the Internet, that they are going to visit several financial advisor websites - Google says six to eight. This puts investors in a position to compare information on multiple financial advisor websites.
It stands to reason that financial advisors who are more transparent are more trustworthy than advisors who are less transparent. Of course, this presumes investors recognize transparency when they see it.
There are ways to make specific information stand out. For example, “Our firm is a financial fiduciary. We are held to the highest ethical standard in the financial service industry”.
Why should I use video to build trust on my financial advisor website?
Within reason, every professional who works for the financial advisor should have a short bio under the Our Team page that provides the following information: Education, industry experience, certifications, association memberships, compliance records, and other information that documents their knowledge and trustworthiness. However, the written word has its limitations.
Video is a superior way for investors to get to know firms and the professionals who work there.
Some firms publish videos on their websites and some don’t. Those that do have a substantial advantage over those that don’t. In some cases, it is as simple as investors trusting what they see and hear more than what they have read.
How can I be a credible source of financial information?
This is an easy one. You want to build a very robust Resource Center that publishes a consistent flow of new information each month that addresses the financial pain points of your ideal types of clients.
For example, your ideal type of client is a woman investor who has been recently divorced or widowed. You want to be a fountain of knowledge for the pain points of these investors. They have unique needs and you want to position your firm to be the source of knowledge that helps them - no strings attached.
Why should I offer several eBooks on my financial advisor website?
One reason is simple, multiple free eBooks on financial advisor websites will produce more credibility (trust) and more leads.
Ideally, the eBooks will have some relevance to the page that investors find them. This connection adds credibility to the eBook.
Most eBooks are gated so they have registration requirements. This makes them a primary source of new leads.
You cannot predict the interests of visitors to your website. So, it makes sense to publish several eBooks that appeal to a broad range of investors. For example, you publish eBooks for investors who are pre-retirees, in transition from working years to retirement years and are currently retired - three different eBooks.
How can testimonials build trust on financial advisor websites?
Testimonials will have increasing importance as more financial advisors publish them on their websites. The same is true for ratings and reviews.
You want to make the testimonials as objective as possible. Skeptical investors may believe you solicited your best clients for testimonials. The way to offset the skepticism is to make the testimonials as objective as possible.
It is also a good idea to add a disclosure at the bottom of the page that describes how the testimonials were obtained from your clients and third parties. For example, they were voluntary and you did not solicit them from your best clients.
How can financial advisor websites develop enough trust that investors will contact them?
There are three principal strategies.
First, your website has to deliver the information that investors are seeking.
Second, your website has to be competitive with other financial advisor websites.
Third, you have to play to your strengths and avoid information that may cause investors to exclude you from their searches.
How can intuitive navigation make my financial advisor website more trustworthy?
Navigation is the key to delivering the right information to investors quickly and easily.
It is a well-known fact that investors will not spend excessive amounts of time searching for information on financial advisor websites. Instead, they will exit the site and go to the next one.
You can see this data if you are running Google Analytics on your current site. You may see low time on site and high bounce rates. Then you know you have a problem.
What types of resources build the best trust on financial advisor websites?
It is the type of resource that solves financial problems.
The format is less important: Blog article, white paper, eBook, video, how-to-guides, or other publication.
As noted earlier some content requires registration, which reduces usage and trust. But registration is important because it produces leads for financial advisor services.
No registration requirements can build more trust.
How can financial advisors make it safe for investors to contact them on their websites?
This is an important design element for every financial advisor website.
Investors have to feel safe before they are willing to give up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
Therefore, every Contact Us page should provide a bold statement that financial advisors will not provide the investors’ contact information to any other person or firm. It is used exclusively to respond to the investors’ request for contact or information.