It is a given that every financial advisor in America has a website. In modern times they would be very conspicuous if they did not have websites.
Why is a website a necessity? For many investors, websites are the first place they look for information about financial advisors. They are seeking answers to questions like “does the financial advisor provide the services the investors are seeking” and/or “does the financial advisor work with other clients like the investors who are seeking their services”?
Investors need information so they contact the right financial advisors.
It stands to reason websites are part of an important digital sales funnel that starts on the Internet and ends when investors sign the financial advisors’ service agreements.
What is a digital sales funnel for financial advisors?
Let’s say financial advisors can buy or rent a template-based website that may have existing content or the advisors are responsible for producing their own content. In this case, the website probably acts as an online sales brochure. It delivers information, but there is very little traffic and no leads.
Custom means the website design features and content are tailored to meet the specific requirements of the financial advisors. For example, these websites differentiate advisors to create a competitive advantage. Then there are the all-important inbound marketing services that produce online visibility and traffic for the websites.
The functionality on the website is designed to convert the traffic into qualified leads. This makes a custom lead generation website a critical part of a digital marketing sales funnel for financial advisors that starts on the Internet.
What is a lead generation website for financial advisors?
Much like the name implies, it is a website that is designed to convert visitors into qualified leads. These websites provide compelling reasons why investors should give up their anonymity and contact financial advisors.
These websites produce leads when investors are seeking financial advisors. The websites also produce contacts when investors are seeking financial information. Contacts are dripped on until they are ready to schedule interviews with financial advisors.
What about competitor websites?
Every financial advisor website has to be competitive with the other websites that investors are visiting. This is critical because most investors use a process of exclusion as follows:
- They visit eight financial advisor websites
- They contact the four they like the best for interviews
- They select the one that best meets their needs
What they see on the Internet impacts who they contact for interviews. This makes websites a critical part of the 8:4:1 sales funnel.
What are investors seeking on financial advisor websites? Is there a fit based on what the investor needs and what the financial advisor does? And there are some differentiating characteristics that describe the firm and benefit investors.
What are the top three elements of a financial advisor sales funnel?
The top three elements of productive sales funnels are:
- Internet visibility for keywords that bring the right types of investors to financial advisor websites.
- Advisors need a consistent flow of new visitors to their websites every month
- Websites have to convert these visitors into qualified leads
The funnel starts on the Internet because investors have to be able to find financial advisors. What they see on the Internet has to bring them to the financial advisors’ websites. What they see on the websites has to compel them to contact the advisors.
Once contact is established and there is mutual interest (investors meet advisor requirements) the financial advisors’ sales practices take over.
How important is intuitive navigation for financial advisor lead generation websites?
Intuitive navigation is critical. Investors who are visiting financial advisor websites want to find the information they are seeking in a matter of seconds. Plus, survey after survey shows investors will exit financial advisor websites before they will search for information.
This makes perfect sense when you consider how many websites the investors may be visiting to find the right advisors. When they have a lot of choices they are not going to spend too much time searching for information on any one site. It is easier to exit the site and go to the next one that may have intuitive navigation that leads to the information they are seeking.
What is the most important content for financial advisor websites?
The importance of content may vary by investor, but it is possible to divide content into basic information and differentiating information.
The basic information includes the following: Our Background, Our Team, What We Do, Who We Serve, and Why Select Us.
Differentiating information is important because it may be the information that investors are seeking. For example, the financial advisor is:
- A boutique firm, not a Wall Street firm
- Independent so the firm can do what is best for investors
- A financial fiduciary - the highest ethical standard in the industry
- Compensated with fees like other professionals
How important is full disclosure on financial advisor websites?
Very few financial advisors practice full disclosure on their websites. That is the role of their ADV - knowing full well that very few investors take the time to find and review this document.
For example, how many advisors disclose their fee schedules on their websites?
- Very few advisors disclose their fee schedules
- Most advisors disclose how they are compensated
- Some ignore the topic if it creates a disadvantage
Investors may know what is being withheld based on what they see on other financial advisor websites. Therefore, selective disclosure is important, in particular if it creates a competitive advantage.
What is the most important page on a financial advisor website?
Two equally important pages are What We Do and Who We Serve. But, the most visited page on a financial website can be the Our Team page. Investors want to see the credentials of the professionals who will be advising them: Education, experience, certifications, work histories, etc.
Does this mean one, two, and three professional RIAs are at a disadvantage? Not necessarily. They can use affiliates (CPAs, attorneys, insurance specialists) to bolster their staff with the proper disclosures.
Do financial advisor websites look cookie cutter if they have the same navigation?
The role of navigation is to make it easy to find the information investors are seeking when they visit financial advisor websites.
Intuitive navigation also makes it easier for investors to compare the credentials and services of multiple financial advisors.
And, just because the navigation is the same, all or most of the information on the pages will be different.
What are the best free offers for financial advisor websites?
All free offers should have registration requirements. That is, investors must provide their contact information in exchange for the information in the free offer.
Since most investors are reluctant to give up their anonymity, the free offer CTA (Call to action) has to be pretty compelling to get them to register to get it.
The best free offers can be eBooks and webinars that provide solutions for financial pain points. For example, pre-retirees may be concerned about running out of money late in life when they need it the most. This would be an excellent topic for the free offer.