When it comes to websites, financial advisors have some relatively unique needs. Whereas a product company may want global or national distribution, the typical financial advisor is seeking local, statewide, or regional visibility. This can be a function of the advisors’ marketing strategies for face-to-face or virtual contact with prospects and clients.
Plus, it is not enough to just have a visually appealing website that acts as an online sales brochure. Financial advisors need websites that create positive impressions and deliver the kinds of information that investors are seeking when they use the Internet to research professionals and firms.
Nothing is more important than investors’ assets and who will provide planning and investment advice for them. In fact, you could say investors have a serious emotional attachment to their money. This makes them extremely cautious when they find, research, and contact advisors. The Internet gives them a huge boost because they have access to vast amounts of online information, and they can remain anonymous while they conduct their research.
Financial Advisor Websites Have Unique Needs
Financial advisors need Internet visibility so investors can find them. They need websites that practice transparency so investors can research them. And, they need websites that can convert visitors into current and future leads for their advice and services.
These needs exist because what investors see on the Internet determines who they contact for interviews. This is true of all inbound marketing processes that depend on the potential client to initiate contact.
There is another major challenge. Like other websites in competitive industries, financial advisor websites have to stand-out in relation to their competitors. That’s because investors may visit several advisor websites and only contact a few of them for interviews. The best financial advisor websites will get the majority of the contacts.
This happens to be more complicated than it sounds when financial advisors strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Plus, it is important to note every financial advisor has a website and every big city has thousands of financial advisors. This means investors are inundated with choices that all too frequently look a lot alike.
So, what type of website would work best for your firm? This article will help you make the right digital marketing decisions.
The Size of Your Firm
The size of your firm may dictate your digital marketing strategy. At a minimum, it will impact the amount of money in your budget that is allocated to marketing and adding new clients.
Small financial advisor firms (AUM under $100mm) need basic, brochure-type websites because that may be all they can afford. They must have websites, but they do not necessarily have dedicated digital marketing budgets that will produce Internet visibility and traffic for their websites.
Bigger financial advisor firms may have more substantial marketing budgets that enable them to develop more robust websites and spend money increasing their Internet visibility and website traffic.
Major financial advisory firms are going to have inhouse resources that may be responsible for developing and executing digital marketing strategies. In fact, many of these firms are already using the Internet to build brand name awareness and contacts they can convert into clients.
Selecting a Type of Website
Every financial advisor firm must have a website, but not every firm can afford the digital marketing services that build their websites’ online visibility and traffic.
This creates a core decision for smaller firms:
- Build or lease a low-cost one-page website
- Own a more robust multi-page website
The Single-Page Financial Advisor Website
A single-page website is an economical choice for smaller financial advisory firms that have limited digital marketing budgets and/or low expectations for the productivity of their websites.
These are simple websites that are designed to deliver the information that investors are seeking when they use the Internet to find and research financial advisors.
These sites can produce a positive experience for investors because most of them spend three minutes or less on financial advisor websites. More elaborate websites may project bigger, more sophisticated images, but they may not increase the amounts of time that are spent on advisor websites by the investors they are trying to reach.
Investors like what they see, or they don’t. First impressions count a lot when investors visit five to ten advisor sites in an hour. If they have an immediate need and are screening advisors for interviews, they will initiate contact or exit the websites and disappear forever. So, these websites have a one-time opportunity to connect with investors who are visiting advisor websites.
The following are the top five reasons why one-page websites can work for financial advisors.
- A single-page website can be user-friendly. It delivers the specific information that investors are seeking when they use the Internet to find financial advisors.
- One-page sites display equally well on all types of devices. This is an important feature of the single-page financial advisor website because Google says 62% of all online searches are conducted from mobile devices.
- These sites tend to work best for companies that are marketing one product or service – for example, planning, investing, tax, legal, or risk management.
- All of the information on your website can be accessed by scrolling. There is no clicking to find information.
- A simple, low-cost website can deliver limited information that is user-friendly and minimizes potential confusion.
Single-page websites also have disadvantages that impact their effectiveness:
- This type of website may not be competitive with the multi-page sites of other advisors.
- There is no way to attach content that increases a firm’s online visibility and website traffic
- These sites have the capacity to deliver limited information
- Key information, that is important to investors, could be missing
- Digital marketing data is difficult to analyze and manage
Multi-Page Websites for Financial Advisors
One way to determine the type of website that would work best for your firm is to look at the websites of your primary competitors. Are they using single-page or multi-page websites? Your website should be competitive with these sites.
Another consideration is what investors expect to see when they use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors. Some of the core information is backgrounds, team credentials, services, types of clients, and key reasons to contact firms. It would be very difficult to deliver all of this information on a single-page website.
Larger financial advisor firms will select multi-page websites for these five reasons.
- A large number of financial advisors use their websites to promote their brands. Websites are investors first impression of who they are and what they do. A multi-page website has a much better chance of creating this positive first impression.
- Investors are seeking high-quality advisors they can trust. Therefore, financial advisor websites should be designed to convey credibility and trust. Many advisors refer to this as transparency. This is an easier task on a multi-page website that can deliver more information about the firm.
- Navigation is a critical feature on a multi-page financial advisor website. Numerous surveys show investors will exit advisor websites before they will search for information. This is tougher than it sounds when investors know very little about financial advisors and their services.
- An important feature of a multi-page website for financial advisors is how these types of websites use content marketing (blog articles) and social media to increase their internet visibility and website traffic. The bottom-line is the multi-page websites use keyword-rich content to produce better rankings in the major search engines.
- Websites have a one-time opportunity to produce a positive first impression that keeps visitors on sites and convinces them to give up their contact information. What investors see on websites has to be pretty compelling because the predisposition of investors is to withhold this information.
These multi-page financial advisor websites can also have a few disadvantages that can negatively impact marketing results if they are not developed properly. For example:
- There is always a risk of confusion if you deliver too much information
- Investors will spend a limited amount of time on advisor websites. What do advisors want them to see?
- Some advisors load their sites up with content and calculators that can distract investors who are on the sites to learn more about them
- Websites do not produce their own traffic. Internet visibility produces traffic that websites convert into qualified leads
- More important information can be obscured by less important information
The selection of the right type of website is a critical decision. It can be an online sales brochure or a web-based business office that is the gateway to the services at financial advisor firms.