Every financial advisor we talk to wants a website that generates a consistent flow of new leads each month. So why do four out of five tell us their websites do not produce adequate lead flow. What is the disconnect that impacts the productivity of their sites?
The answer lies in five requirements that are relatively unique to the websites of financial advisors. You might even call these requirements the secret sauce.
What Makes RIA Websites Unique?
This answer is relatively simple. The advice and services of advisors impact the financial well-being of their clients. Good advice means their clients will have more assets for their future use. Bad advice means they will have fewer assets to provide financial security and a comfortable lifestyle during their later years. This makes the selection of a financial advisor one of their most important decisions.
The need for quality advice creates a major dilemma for many investors. Simply said, they do not know how to determine the quality of financial advisors so they are prone to making subjective decisions. For example, they select the advisors they “like” the best.
This selection process makes them more likely to select advisors with the best sales skills. And, to add gasoline to the fire, a high percentage of investors have already been damaged by bad financial advice.
Suffice it to say, there is a major financial risk when investors select financial advisors. This makes investors extremely cautious when they use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors. Their caution has a major impact on the results that are produced by financial advisor websites.
Since their searches start by visiting financial advisor websites, what they see on the websites impacts whether or not they are comfortable submitting their contact information to advisors.
They do not have these same concerns when they use the Internet to find, research, and contact CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals. Why not? Tax and Legal are not dominated by a sales culture and trust is not as big an issue when consumers select these types of professionals.
So what is the secret sauce?
Your Home Page
Home pages are the most valuable real estate on financial advisor websites. Even more important is the space above the fold that does not require scrolling to view information that identifies firms and delivers strong marketing messages that are designed to keep visitors on advisor websites.
This is basic requirement #1 for financial advisor websites. Investors who visit your website should know who you are and what you do in ten seconds or less. This connection starts with your name and logo in the upper left corner of the home page. Then there is the marketing message above the fold that describes what financial advisor firms do and why investors hire them.
Many advisors add introductory videos to their home pages. This can be a warmer way to make the introduction.
Add intuitive navigation to the mix and advisors have created a positive first impression that is the first step in getting investors to contact them.
The Right Information
It is reasonable to assume most investors are visiting multiple financial advisor websites in their quest to find a top-quality financial advisor.
What they see on the websites of these RIAs will determine who they contact to learn more about:
- The team of professionals who work there
- The services of the firms
- The firms’ ideal types of clients
- What makes the firms’ services unique
- Why they should interview/select the firms
The Need for Transparency
As the saying goes “life is choices”. Every financial advisor gets to choose what information is displayed on their websites. However, as noted earlier, investors are visiting multiple websites which puts them in a position to compare the information that is provided to them on each website. It will be pretty obvious which advisors are practicing transparency and those that are restricting the flow of information.
Let’s use an example that illustrates the choices that are available to financial advisors on their websites. The topic is how particular advisors are compensated.
An advisor, with a very competitive fee schedule, may publish the firm’s fees because they believe this level of transparency creates a competitive advantage.
Another financial advisor is comfortable describing how the firm is compensated without disclosing an actual fee schedule. For example, the firm is paid an asset-based fee that is billed quarterly in arrears so it is a pay-as-you-go system.
A third advisory firm chooses to ignore the topic in its entirety. This may leave investors wondering why this advisor chose to provide no information about the way(s) the firm is compensated. In this case, no information is bad for investors.
Compelling Reasons for Contact
Another unique requirement for financial advisor websites that produce a steady flow of new leads is publishing compelling reasons why investors should initiate the contact. This is the very definition of Inbound Marketing - the buyer initiates contact with the seller. It is not as simple as it may sound - investors are reluctant to provide their contact information to just anyone.
The more compelling the reasons for contact the higher the probability investors will give up their anonymity and contact financial advisors.
If investors have an immediate need for the services of financial advisors, they can go to Contact Us to start a conversation.
On the other hand, if they are surfing the web seeking information about financial topics, a free offer may be the best strategy. That is, financial advisors, create an exchange of information, a free eBook for the visitors’ contact information.
The best eBooks provide solutions to serious financial issues.
The Process of Exclusion
At the end of the day, it is all about exclusion. This is another unique characteristic that is based on the ways investors select financial advisors. For example, very few investors know how to select the best advisors. Part of the issue is the way financial advisors market themselves. There are no audited, GIPS-compliant track records. Advisors are just getting started with reviews. Testimonials and references are less trustworthy because they can be controlled by financial advisors.
It is much easier for investors to exclude advisors for reasons that may or may not make sense. The winner is the last firm standing.
Every financial advisor has been impacted by this process when they are excluded from searches for reasons they may have no control over. For example, they are excluded because they are too far away, or the RIA is too small, or the investor is predisposed to select a brand name firm.
This creates a unique marketing requirement for financial advisor websites. Do not get excluded before the advisor has had an opportunity to talk to investors.
Inbound marketing produces online visibility and traffic for websites. The unique role of websites is to deliver information and convince investors to contact financial advisors. This challenge is impacted by the limited amount of time investors actually spend on advisor websites - our last survey showed two minutes and thirty-three seconds. That is not a lot of time to convince visitors to give up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
This means financial advisors have to check all of the boxes when they expect their websites to be their best source for quality leads.