The definitive guide to creating the best financial advisor website
Everything you should know before you select a digital marketing agency to do the work for you.
If you are reading this article, we assume you are thinking about a makeover of your current website. If you are like most financial advisors, you are considering a redesign because your current website is not producing meaningful results for your firm.
This Guide will provide the information you need to make the right choice when you select a digital marketing agency that can design and develop a lead generation website for you.
Many of the tips in this Guide will make great questions when you interview digital marketing agencies that provide website services for financial advisors.
Table of Contents
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Your most powerful sales tool is a website that converts visitors into qualified buyers for your firm’s financial advice and services. It is like a store in a local shopping mall that is open 24/7 to introduce your firm to prospects and produce new sales opportunities.
Part one in this process is the design of a storefront that attracts attention and creates interest. In the context of a website, this is your home page.
If visitors like what they see, they walk in the store and browse for a while before they eventually make a purchase. In other words, they stay in the store long enough for you to sell them a service or a product. Initial impressions get them in your store. Positive experiences keep them in the store. The longer they are in the store, this is called time-on-site in website jargon, the higher the probability they will buy what you are selling.
In the case of financial advisors, they do not make buying decisions on websites. What they see on websites impacts who they contact for interviews or whether they register for free offers such as eBooks.
There are a lot of reasons why investors have negative experiences on financial advisor websites:
- Their first impression has no impact
- They have a bad experience – slow loading time
- They can’t find what they are looking for
- They do not make a positive connection
Any of the above reasons may cause investors to exit your store. And, if they leave the store after a bad experience there is very little chance they will return to the store. This means you have a one-time opportunity to convert this visitor into a qualified lead for your advice and services.
Getting people in the door of your store may sound simple until you realize there are hundreds of stores in the mall that are competing for the same buyers that you are. Consequently, your ideal types of clients (buyers) have a bewildering number of choices.
Ironically, many of these potential buyers do not know how to identify the best service provider, so they tend to resort to subjective selection criteria. No doubt you have seen investors select the advisors they like the best. They did not select the advisors with the best credentials and ethics. They selected the advisors with the best personalities and sales spiel. This makes what they see on your website even more important.
What makes the best financial advisor websites stand-out? How do you develop a website that investors like or websites that make investors feel comfortable? These are critical design issues because websites must do their jobs to produce qualified leads that can be converted into revenue-producing clients.
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So why is it that every financial advisor in America has a website, but more than 80% say their websites do not produce meaningful results. The short answer is most of these websites act like online sales brochures. They deliver information, but they were not designed to convert visitors into leads.
Financial advisor websites do not generate their own leads. Internet visibility produces traffic that websites convert into leads.
What do investors see before they visit your website? Step one is they have to be able to find you on the Internet. The challenge is they do not know your firm exists. They are on the Internet looking for advisors or they are seeking information that solves major financial problems. Either way, this is an opportunity for them to find your website and this creates the opportunity to convert a visitor into a qualified lead.
It is the role of Inbound Marketing to expand your online visibility so you are easier to find among the thousands of choices that reside on the major search engine websites. Plus, high-quality Inbound Marketing services route the traffic to advisor websites. These visitors represent sales opportunities if your website delivers what they are looking for.
It is important to note, visitors to your site may be seeking financial advisors, information about your firm, general financial information, or information about financial advisors.
Your website should be designed to deliver these types of information in a way that creates leads for your services. The best financial advisor websites deliver this information in an easy access, easy to read format. The sites minimize the use of financial jargon that may confuse visitors. Investors who are seeking advisors are routed to a page that collects their contact information.
Another design aspect of the best financial advisor website is the use of CTAs (Call-to-Action) to encourage visitors to take the next step. For example, register to obtain a free eBook or another type of free offer. CTAs make it easy for visitors to interact with your website and firm.
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Chances are you are not a website designer or programmer, therefore, it makes perfect sense to outsource the development of your advisor website to an agency that has these skills.
From an expense perspective, there 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. Let’s call these websites online sales brochures. They deliver information, but they do not produce leads.
The next level of website is designed to produce leads. It gives investors several reasons to initiate contact with your firm. Free offers, for example, a relevant eBook, can produce leads for your firm.
Then there is a high-level website that is more elaborate. It has video and other features that are designed to build the brand as well as generate leads for the firm.
None of the three are that expensive if you consider their purpose – your online office that creates new clients and revenue for your firm. Think of it this way: How much would you spend to open a new office in another city? Opening an office and staffing it is expensive. Opening an online office is relatively inexpensive by comparison.
There are also other financial advisor website options that impact cost:
- You can lease a website. All you have to do is select a theme, choose some graphics, and add your own content. You pay a monthly fee for the theme, graphics, hosting, and maintenance.
- You can build your own website on a platform like WIX, Weebly, or Squarespace. Similar to template-based leased financial advisor websites, you select a theme, choose your own images, and create your own content.
- You can hire a web development firm to create a website for you on a platform like WordPress. You or the firm may provide the content.
- You can hire an agency that provides a fully integrated package of custom website and Inbound Marketing services that produce traffic for the website. In this case, the agency does all of the work including writing content that reflects the unique characteristics and qualities of your firm.
Pricing can range from less than $100 per month to a few thousand dollars per month depending on the number and/or quality of the website services. Online brochure websites will be at the low end of the range. Custom websites that include Inbound Marketing will be at the higher end of the range.
It will depend on what you think you can afford. But, keep in mind, websites do not produce their own traffic. Inbound Marketing produces traffic. If you can afford it, your best solution is an agency that can combine website and Inbound Marketing services.
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Your financial advisor website, done right, should be your best source for high quality leads that you can convert into revenue-producing clients.
Following are five best practices that will improve the performance of your financial advisor website:
- Positive Connections: Let’s say your primary clients are retirees, however, the imagery you place on your website is that of young families. This is a disconnect because the primary people you are trying to attract are not represented visually on your website.
- Be transparent: When creating your navigation, consider disclosing all of the information that investors will want to see. It does not pay to omit key information. Make sure you give them plenty of reasons to interview you. Perhaps the most sensitive issue is disclosing your fee schedule. At a minimum, you should describe how you are compensated, if not how much.
- Intuitive navigation: It may sound simple but if you have confusing navigation investors will exit your site before they will search for information. There are too many other sites that have intuitive navigation.
- Create relevant offers for your visitors: Add some type of free offer (eBook, checklist, infographic) that has sufficient value that visitors will complete a landing page and register to get it. The offer(s) should have some relevance to the types of clients that you want to work with and should solve a serious financial problem for them.
- It’s not all about you: A lot of your content will be features that describe your firm. Don’t forget to describe how investors benefit from the features. Investors buy benefits and not features. This works because investors are searching for solutions for their needs, problems, or concerns. Your website messaging and content should speak to those concerns while also telling your story.
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As a financial advisor, you already have a pretty good idea of who your ideal types of clients are.
All you have to do is identify the characteristics of your current clientele. For example, ages, professions, businesses, assets, goals, target dates, etc.
As you plan, design, and develop your website, it is critical that you spend time identifying the key personas that are your primary types of clients. Chances are you have more than one unless your business is highly specialized.
You will be using these buyer personas (fictionalized representations of your best/perfect/ideal client) as you consider the look and feel of your website as well as the content you will be publishing on the site. For example, you may decide to add case studies to your website that illustrate the types of clients you prefer to work with.
Most people also like to read stories. They want to feel a connection. Spending time to write an informative, interesting financial advisor bio about yourself will help form a connection with your future clients. It is not enough to simply state where you went to college or your work history. You should explain who you are and why you chose financial advice as a profession.
After you have written a financial bio that reads like a page-turning-best-seller, you certainly don’t want to include a blurry or bad picture of yourself. Or worse, have no picture at all. Remember, investors want to connect with you and they will put a maximum value on real photos versus stock photos. It is important to have a professional quality headshot alongside your advisor biography or even on the homepage of your website.
Another tip, how does your website look on different devices? Not everyone will be viewing your content or website on a desktop. According to Google, 62% of searches are initiated on mobile devices when people search for information and service providers. That includes researching financial advisor firms and professionals. You should make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
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You may already know you need a digital marketing agency versus a website developer because websites do not produce their own traffic. Inbound marketing services that are provided by agencies create Internet visibility that is the source of traffic for your website.
A website without Inbound Marketing is like a store in a mall with no traffic.
There are several moving parts in a successful Inbound Marketing campaign. From designing and optimizing a website, to producing a continuous flow of new blog articles, to convincing visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
Social Media should be an important part of your website’s SEO strategy because it has the ability to increase online visibility and drive traffic to websites. You leverage your content when you decide to share articles via company or personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. In addition to promoting your own content on social media, you can also promote relevant curated content.
Content marketing establishes you as an expert on specific topics. The content has links to your website. Investors click on a link, which puts them on your website. This creates the one-time opportunity to create the first impression and convert them into a lead for your services.
You are missing out on a major marketing opportunity if you do not have an active blog tied to your website that publishes a consistent flow of high-quality content. Not only is blogging a proven way to drive traffic to your website, but it is also another way to engage with your target audiences.
The more investors read your blog content and visit your website the more leads your website will produce for your advice and services.
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If you are convinced selecting a digital marketing agency is the way to go, the following are the Top 10 questions you should be asking the agencies.
- How much experience do you have providing digital marketing services to financial advisors?
- Do your websites produce leads for financial advisors?
- Describe your Inbound Marketing services that produce visibility and traffic?
- Can your digital marketing services target my ideal types of clients?
- How do you generate Internet visibility for my website?
- How much traffic can we expect from your Inbound Marketing services?
- Does your service include a reporting function so we can see our results?
- Can your services reach my ideal types of clients?
- How can my website compete with RIAs that have bigger marketing budgets?
- What is the upfront cost of your services?
The ideal agency will be one that has a lot of experience helping financial advisors accelerate the growth of their firms.
Read Paladin Digital Marketing’s Client Success Story: Digital Marketing Produces 10-Fold Increase In Leads
Your best bet is selecting an agency that has a lot of experience in your industry, knows how to build lead generation websites for financial advisors, stays on top of current marketing trends, and can provide the Inbound Marketing services that produce traffic the website can convert into leads. And, they can provide all of these services for a fixed monthly fee.