The word “custom” implies a website is unique in ways that benefit financial advisors. Uniqueness also benefits investors who use the information on financial advisor websites to screen and contact them.
The opposite of a custom website is a generic, mass-produced website that is frequently leased to financial advisors.
So, the two questions that need to be answered are:
- How are generic and custom websites different?
- Why should advisors select custom websites?
The most valuable space on a financial advisor website is above-the-fold on the home page so no scrolling is required to find information.
Most home pages have what some people refer to as an elevator pitch, the big bold messaging that is designed to create interest and keep visitors on the advisors’ websites.
As visitors scroll down the home page, they will find more messaging and information that is designed to create interaction between them and the financial advisor. Perhaps, it is learn-more about the firm or register for a free offer.
Most financial advisor websites deliver the same information: Who We Are, What We Do, Who We Serve, and Why Select Us. So, by the time investors have visited a few advisor websites they are conditioned to look for the same information.
The role of navigation is to make information about the financial advisor easy to find. This is crucial because Paladin surveys show investors will exit sites before they will search for information.
Most of the content on advisor websites is pretty similar when they describe their services and key features. As you might imagine, similar content makes it more difficult for investors to rely on this information when they use the Internet to research advisors.
It makes sense, that the categories of information may be similar, but the information itself varies by firm and it helps investors learn more about what makes particular firms different and better.
Every financial advisor website contains graphics. Most of the time they are pleasant stock photos that depict couples on the beach, mountain tops, or the skylines of cities. Although the graphics depict pleasant scenes, they have nothing to do with the financial advisory firms. A frequent exception would be scenes that are geo-specific and have some relationship with the advisors’ locations.
Most financial advisory firms will have one or more free offers on their websites:
- Consultations that include plan or portfolio reviews
- Calculators that measure risk tolerance
- eBooks that solve financial problems
Free information offers on advisor websites are important because there are more investors seeking financial information than they are advisors. The challenge for advisor CRM systems is to convert information-seekers into advisor-seekers.
Most advisor websites have blogs where they publish articles that could be of interest to investors who are seeking financial information on the Internet.
The primary role of the blog is to attract visitors to advisor websites. Like free offers, blog content may attract visitors who are seeking financial information.
Financial advisor websites will have a one-time opportunity to convert visitors into leads or contacts.
Custom Advisor Websites
So, what are the key differences between custom and generic, mass-produced websites? Actually, there are several:
- Strategic Purpose
- Persona-Based Marketing
- Blog Content
- Leads & Contacts
1. Strategic Purpose
A generic website acts like an online sales brochure that delivers basic information about the financial advisor. A custom website is designed to convert visitors into leads and contacts for advisor CRM systems.
This major difference in strategic purpose defines many of the key differences between generic and custom websites. At their core is what the websites are designed to do – convey information or produce leads.2. Persona-Based Marketing
A key characteristic of custom websites is who they are trying to reach on the Internet. For example, if a primary type of prospect is a pre-retiree, then the website is designed to cater to the interests and needs of pre-retirees. That’s because the role of the website is to create a connection between the financial advisor and the visitor.3. Blog Content
Most of the generic financial advisor websites publish content from libraries on their websites. Unfortunately, mass-produced content has no SEO value because the search engines have already seen it, perhaps thousands of times.
Custom websites use original content that meets all of Google’s requirements to increase the visibility of financial advisor websites in the major search engines.
This means pillar pages that describe the financial advisor’s expertise are loaded on their websites. And articles are published on advisor blog sites.4. Differentiation
One of the more complex topics that is addressed by custom websites is differentiation. How can a financial advisor website stand-out in a very crowded field?
It is not enough to have a function titled “Why Select Us” on a website. The financial advisor has to provide high-value reasons that resonate with investors.
Some of the more frequently used differentiators are: Fiduciary, fee-only, independent, and open-architected. Unfortunately, most investors do not understand how these features impact or benefit them.
So, part of the process for custom websites it to introduce these differentiating characteristics and educate investors about their importance. This way the advisors’ marketing is not limited to what investors do and do not know.5. Leads & Contacts
Financial advisors benefit when custom websites are designed to produce leads and contacts.
Leads are investors who are seeking financial advisors they can interview in the next 30 days. Leads submit their contact information so advisors can contact them and schedule interviews.
This is an ideal result for a website because financial advisors can convert visitors into leads, leads into prospects, and prospects into revenue-producing clients.
Custom websites use a variety of tactics to make this happen. For example, investors have to find the advisors on the Internet. What they find has to be compelling enough to move investors from the Internet to the advisors’ blog or websites. What investors see on websites has to be compelling enough to convince them to give up their anonymity and submit their contact information.