Every financial advisor in America has a website. Most of the websites deliver the same basic information: About Us, What We Do, Who We Serve, and Why Select Us. It is safe to assume every website is a delivery system for information about the advisory firms that own them.
There are a few differences that are worth mentioning. For example, a key difference can be found on the Our Team page under About Us. Smaller financial advisor firms can be at a distinct disadvantage if the team has one or two financial professionals. They have to put more emphasis on other features of the firm that produce benefits that are important to consumers.
Another variation is the amount of transparency that is practiced on financial advisor websites. It is important to note most investors will visit several advisor websites, so they have a basis for comparison. Transparency will stand-out when one advisor is practicing it and others are not. Transparency is a key variable that is utilized by the best financial advisor websites to build trust.
Leads & Contacts
Trust is a critical factor when financial advisors want their websites to produce leads. That is because their websites have to convince visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information. It is safe to assume this happens when investors find what they are looking for on advisor websites and they are comfortable submitting their contact information to get what they found – the right advisor or information.
For example, consumers are leads when they are looking for advisors who provide planning and investment services to clients with their characteristics. Location can also be important when consumers want face-to-face contact, but that requirement may be declining. These consumers spend more time on the About Us, What We Do, and Who We Serve pages.
Consumers may also be seeking particular types of information on the Internet and they find articles that were written by financial advisors. This content resides on the financial advisors’ websites or blog sites. The article and the consumers’ need for information is what brings them to advisor sites where they become contacts for advisor CRM systems.
Investors initiate contact when they find what they are looking for. Because advisors don’t know what investors are seeking, their websites must be designed to deliver information about the firm and financial information. The information about the firm resides on financial advisor websites. Financial information resides on advisor blog sites. Some financial information may be published on advisor websites under Resources or Insights.
What About Expertise?
It stands to reason every advisor will claim to be a financial expert based on their educations, years of experience, and certifications. There is no differentiation when everyone makes the same claim about their expertise.
Therefore, the best financial advisor websites make proof of expertise a critical variable: Certifications, diplomas, etc. Unfortunately, some advisors will buy fake certifications that have no requirements, curriculums, testing, or continuing education.
The best strategy for proving expertise is to be a source of information for investors. Who provides financial information? Financial experts provide information. Financial advisors use blog content to expand their visibility on the Internet. This same strategy can help them market themselves as financial experts.
What About Trust?
Every financial advisor is also going to claim to be trustworthy, but how do they prove they are trustworthy in a way that has meaning for investors? Again, there is no differentiation when everyone makes the same claim. In this case, the key is supporting the claim with actions or documentation.
There are some widely used strategies on the best websites that financial advisors use to convince investors they are trustworthy:
- We are financial fiduciaries
- Our only method of compensation is a fee
- We have a clean compliance record
- We have been in business for xx years
- We have been written about in these publications
- We are members of these organizations
These are important distinctions that should be represented on advisor websites. But is it enough to produce trust? The investor has to know why these features are important for them to have any significant value.
A second strategy that is used by the best financial advisor websites to produce trust is to be the investors best source for financial information. This puts a lot of emphasis on the information that resides on advisor websites and blog sites. However, the content can establish the advisors as trustworthy experts. At a minimum, the advisors have taken the time to produce the content.
There is a bottom-line to building trust on the best financial advisor websites. On the one hand, investors who are seeking advisors find information about the advisors that motivates them to initiate contact. Or, they find other types of information in blog articles and eBooks that motivate them to create the all-important initial contact.
Differentiation helps consumers determine who they trust enough to initiate contact. It stands to reason when all advisors look alike it is much more difficult for consumers to decide who they trust enough to contact.
Advisors who have trouble producing differentiating characteristics will have trouble down the road when consumers do not initiate contact.
The best financial advisor websites are designed to market the expertise and trustworthiness of firms. They are also designed to make consumers feel safe when they are asked to provide their contact information.
In general, consumers provide their contact information on landing pages that ask for names, locations, telephone numbers, email addresses, and the reasons for the contact.
Well-designed landing pages should also provide links to advisors’ Privacy Policies and a general statement about the security of the investors’ information. The safer the investor feels, the higher the probability the investors will submit their contact information.