Why the Best Financial Advisor Websites Convert More Visitors Into Qualified Leads
Editor's note: This blog article was originally published on July 24, 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
You may believe all financial advisor websites serve the same two purposes, they are, to disseminate information about firms and to convert website visitors into qualified leads.
All financial advisor websites provide information about firms and the professionals who work there. In fact, 73% of the time they deliver the same information, which may be confusing to investors.most
What many financial advisors fail to recognize is their websites were designed to function like online sales brochures. They were not designed to convert visitors into qualified leads.
What do brochures and websites have in common? They both disseminate the same information about financial advisory firms and neither one is supposed to produce qualified leads that advisors can convert into revenue-producing clients.
Smaller firms tend to rely on mass-produced, brochure-style websites. This makes perfect sense when you consider that is all their marketing budgets can afford. Bigger firms rely on custom websites and a variety of digital marketing strategies to produce leads and promote their brands on the Internet.
Without a doubt, financial advisor websites should be powerful sales tools. Lead generation websites should be a firm’s most powerful sales tool. The website creates the first impression for the firm and has a one-time opportunity to convince visitors to give up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
Why Investors Search Online
Before answering the question about top-producing websites, let’s look at why investors use the Internet in the first place. They are:
- Seeking financial advisors to interview
- They are seeking advisors or information about advisors
- Seeking financial information
- Screening financial advisors before they contact them
- Contacting the advisors they want to interview
An investor’s initial search may be for general information about financial advisors and not specific advisors. Perhaps they are rolling assets from a 401k into an IRA and are hiring their first advisor. They want to be cautious in their approach so step one is to learn more about advisors before they start contacting and interviewing them.
Once they find advisors that seem to fit what they are looking for, their next step is to conduct in-depth interviews to learn more about the advisors’ credentials, ethics, business practices, services, and fees.
There are also two underlying reasons why so many investors prefer to use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors.
First, they have access to substantial amounts of information about financial advisors – it just depends on how deep they want to dig: Visiting websites is easy, Google searching names is easy, but checking FINRA, SEC, state commissioners, and third-party databases takes more time.
Second, and this is a big one because it impacts the performance of financial advisor websites, investors can retain their anonymity until they are ready to initiate contact with advisors.
This means advisor websites have to deliver the right information, convince investors to give up their anonymity, and facilitate the initiation of contact.
The Convenience of the Internet
There is a second perspective that is worth noting. Why are investors using the Internet to find advisors in the first place?
Why don’t these investors ask friends, family, associates, or other professionals (CPAs, attorneys) they know for referrals?
Perhaps they have just relocated to a new city and do not have any local relationships. Or, they do not have relationships they trust to refer them to the right professionals. There is always that underlying concern that a referral source likes particular advisors for the wrong reasons.
On the other hand, the Internet is a convenient alternative. It provides easy access to large numbers of advisors. It provides easy access to the advisors’ background information. And, it protects the identity of investors until they are ready to be contacted.
It is also possible that investors believe they will make better decisions when they have access to the type of information they can find on the Internet.
Finding Financial Advisors
As you know, all investors have to do is enter a few keywords (financial advisor, financial planner) into Google and they have access to hundreds of local choices at their fingertips.
Some of the choices are paid advertisers – usually bigger firms with deeper pockets. Other choices are there because they have achieved page-one visibility in the Google system for their content.
Whether they bought the visibility or earned it, they are on page one. This positioning is extremely valuable because 75% of Google users do not scroll to page two. Only 25% scroll to page two and even fewer scroll to page three.
Some surveys show investors are reluctant to click on ads because they know the visibility was purchased and has nothing to do with the quality of the firm.
Regardless of how they got there, page one visibility makes advisors more accessible to more investors.
What Investors Seek on Financial Advisor Websites
Based on our 20 years of experience, we know investors are seeking four types of information when they visit financial advisor websites. They are seeking information for:
- About Us (Background information)
- Who We Serve (Investors like me)
- What We Do (Provide the services investors are seeking)
- Why Select Us (Differentiating characteristics)
Financial advisor websites have to deliver all four types of information to be competitive. This also means the advisors’ websites have to be competitive with the other sites the investors are visiting.
Which Financial Advisor Websites Perform the Best?
The financial advisor websites that perform the best have six important characteristics in common:
- They load in 2.8 seconds or less
- They create a positive first impression in ten seconds or less
- They deliver the information that investors are seeking
- They practice full transparency for important information
- They provide compelling free offers
- They make it easy to contact them
When investors are surfing the web and land on advisor websites, they want to know in a matter of seconds that they have come to the right website. The more they connect with the messaging and content on the website the higher the probability they will stay on the sites and contact the financial advisors.
The website has a maximum of three minutes to deliver the information investors are seeking: Who We Are, Who We Serve, What We Do, and Why Select Us. The more advisors can differentiate themselves from competitors the higher the probability investors will contact them.
Transparency impacts trust, so the more a website discloses the information investors are seeking, the higher the probability the investors will contact the financial advisors. This is particularly true for investors who have had bad experiences with previous advisors. Missing information may be reason enough for them to ignore certain advisors.
Investors also buy benefits more than they buy features. For example, your website says you are a financial fiduciary. How does that benefit investors?
Even if investors do not find what they are looking for, they may still be willing to register for a compelling free offer (eBook). Advisors can add these investors to their drip lists and follow up with email campaigns.
Why Don’t More Investors Contact You?
We can start with the obvious. Investors have hundreds of choices when they use the Internet to find financial advisors. And, the investors control who they contact. Let’s call this the two-edged sword.
Next, financial advisor websites have a one-time opportunity to convince investors to contact them. Based on one of our more recent surveys, advisor websites have two minutes and thirty-three seconds (average time on site) to make this happen. If investors exit advisor sites without initiating contact, they rarely come back for a second visit.
It stands to reason if they are using the Internet to find advisors, and they do not initiate contact, there is a good chance they found two, three, or four firms they liked better. It is these firms they contacted for interviews.
This creates a major challenge for websites. They have to be competitive enough to beat competitors by:
- Creating a positive first impression
- Delivering the right information
- Providing compelling free offers
- Making investors feel safe
Most of these elements are pretty obvious. The less obvious one is making investors feel safe. Investors have a natural reluctance to submit their contact data because they are not sure what advisors will do with it: Start calling them frequently? Start spamming them? Sell their data to third parties?
Be sure to disclose how you protect the privacy of investors who initiate contact on the Internet.
The safety of financial advisor websites is important. The safer financial advisor websites make visitors feel, the higher the probability they will submit their contact data.
Performance Measurement for Websites
How competitive are financial advisor websites?
Advisors should be measuring the performance of their websites. Here are a few metrics to consider:
- How many investors visited the site each month
- How many investors submitted their contact information
- How many investors became qualified prospects for advisor services
- How many investors became revenue-producing clients then track the trends for this data every month.
- Is the website ranking for more keywords
- Are more of the keywords ranking higher
How Does a Website Convert More Leads Into Clients?
It is correct that digital marketing starts on the Internet with visibility and traffic. But, how do websites convert leads into clients?
Several advisors have reported that investors are frequently pre-sold after viewing the information on their websites.
It starts on the Internet with visibility and traffic. The website is the middleman when it converts visitors into leads. Advisors are responsible for converting leads into prospects (based on mutual interest), and prospects into revenue-producing clients.
Websites help by creating a positive first impression and delivering the information that investors are seeking.
Websites should be financial advisors’ best source of high-quality leads. That is because investors have learned a lot about advisors before they decided to contact them. Plus, when websites have enough influence to convince investors to contact advisors, they can also influence investors’ selection decisions.
Paladin Digital Marketing
Paladin Digital Marketing has used Inbound Marketing strategies since 2003 to produce qualified referrals for a select group of RIAs and IARs.
Paladin has packaged its unique Internet knowledge and experience into its digital marketing advice and services.
Paladin is a digital marketing agency that has worked exclusively with financial advisors since its founding in 2003. Paladin’s team of digital marketing professionals has more than 100 years of collective financial industry experience marketing our clients' services to individuals, families, and businesses. Plus, our team has decades of experience providing digital marketing services to financial advisors. Our clients range from start-ups to firms with billions of dollars of AUM. We are a full service agency that provides website, SEO, SEM, Video, and Fractional CMO services. Want more information about our digital marketing services for financial advisors? Email: Info@PaladinDigitalMarketing.com to schedule an introductory call. We protect your privacy.