Every financial advisor that owns its brand has a website. Some advisors own their websites. Other advisors lease their websites. All of the websites deliver similar types of information: Who We Are, What We Do, and Who We Serve. Advisors know their websites have to deliver the information that investors are seeking to be competitive. That is what financial advisor websites have in common.
However, the key to digital marketing success is not the information that makes financial advisors look the same, it is the information that makes them stand-out in a very crowded field. In a nutshell, it is the information that will cause investors to give-up their anonymity and contact advisors.
This is no easy task when the predisposition of most investors is to protect their contact information. They have to be convinced that contacting financial advisors is in their best interests.
This white paper describes five innovative strategies that will increase the productivity of financial advisor websites and their online visibility.
As you might expect, most financial advisor websites are loaded with information about the firm (features). Unfortunately, most investors do not respond to features because every firm has a different set of and most investors do not understand the critical differences.
An extreme example of features-driven information is financial advisor websites that provide a lot of content about their planning and investment processes. Investors do not respond to process-driven information because every financial advisor website may describe a different process. And, since most investors do not know a good process from a bad one, they are frequently turned off by this information.
The good news is investors will respond to benefit-driven information. For example, an advisor claims to be a financial fiduciary. How does that benefit investors? Or, an advisor claims to be fee-only. How does that benefit investors? The more benefits on a website the higher the probability investors will initiate contact.
Most financial advisor websites struggle with differentiating characteristics that benefit investors. In fact, most of the content on the websites is fairly generic because advisors want to deliver the information that investors are seeking. Unfortunately, the need for information varies by investor.
Let’s assume two financial advisors offer the same investment services – passive management for portfolios of ETFs. And, both firms charge a 1% fee on the first million dollars of assets. How do these firms differentiate their services and compensation in ways that benefit investors?
What it gets down to is what they do and do not say about these features and how they convert them into benefits. For example, one financial advisor website describes how ETF-based portfolios benefit investors. The other financial advisor assumes investors are familiar with ETFs and chooses to provide benefit-driven information that describes their method of compensation.
Specialization is More Marketable
The best financial advisor websites provide specialized services to particular types of clients: Retirees, pre-retirees, business owners, professionals, women.
Why does this work best? It is based on the connections that are made on the Internet. Connections are easier when investors find content on financial advisor websites that applies to them. For example, an investor is a pre-retiree and this person finds a financial advisor website that specializes in working with pre-retirees. This makes the connection easy and increases the odds investors will contact investors who know how to work with pre-retirees.
Websites Have to Stand-Out in a Crowded Field
When investors surf the web seeking advisors, they are going to visit five to ten financial advisor websites. They will identify the three or four websites that they like the best and contact those firms to schedule interviews.
The obvious challenge for financial advisors is to make sure their websites are more than just competitive with the other websites that investors are viewing. Their websites have to make the cut when investors select the firms they want to interview.
This represents some very unique challenges for financial advisors that range in size from local boutiques to Wall Street behemoths. The good news is the boutiques are very competitive against bigger firms as long as their messaging and benefits resonate with investors.
This makes financial advisor websites a very powerful sales tool.
Visibility & Traffic
Just about every financial advisor knows websites do not produce their own traffic. The websites are the recipients of traffic that is produced by Internet visibility. Consequently, the two should be designed to work together. Internet visibility produces traffic and websites convert the traffic into leads and contacts.
Leads are investors who are actively seeking financial advisors they can interview in the next few weeks. Contacts are investors who are seeking information. Or, they could be deferred leads in the sense they are currently seeking information about advisors they can interview at a later date – for example, closer to their retirements.
Due to the competitive nature of the industry, financial advisors need great websites that can convert traffic into leads and contacts. However, the real work is increasing the financial advisors’ visibility on the Internet. Large numbers of financial advisors are competing for the same space in the major search engines. That’s because the only space that really matters is page one. Google says 91.5% of its users do not scroll to page two. They can find what they are looking for on page one. Only 4.8% scroll to page two and 1.1% to page three.
The three most common strategies for boosting Internet visibility is content marketing (blog articles), social media, and Local SEO. Some advisors also use paid advertising to reach more investors. There is usually a free offer (eBook, webinar) associated with their advertisement.
The Internet has definitely changed the game for investors and financial advisors.