Your website is critical. Researchers found a significant increase in the number of clients researching financial advisors online over the past three years.
Originally published on Advisor Perspectives
When I was a young lawyer working at a prominent Wall Street firm, one of my first tasks was to proofread tombstone ads. These were announcements of a public offering placed by investment bankers who handled the underwriting.
This work was deadly, dreadfully dull. The ads themselves were intentionally mind-numbing.
Your website may fit into the same category.
That’s a problem you need to fix.
The critical role of your website
Most advisors generate leads either through referrals or from prospects doing an Internet search. Regardless of the source, the next step in the process is the same. They will check out your webpage.
According to research conducted by the web-site design firm, AdvisorEngine, prospects get more than one referral before doing their online research. They narrow their search to one advisor and then initiate a further inquiry.
While referrals still account for the majority of leads, the researchers found a significant increase in the percentage of clients researching advisors online over the past three years.
The goal of your website is to encourage visitors to initiate further contact with you.
That goal is typically not met.
There’s mounting evidence that advisors’ websites are boring, undifferentiated and filled with trite homilies. According to Matt Kress at AdvisorEngine, “If you start looking at advisors online, the majority of them start to look the same. They use all the same wording … it’s all ‘will help you achieve your financial goal, will help you achieve life goals.’”
A report from BNY Mellon/Pershing confirms this observation. Over 60% of investors think all advisors make the same promises, making it hard to tell the difference between them.
A different approach
Take a hard look at your website.
Almost all advisor websites follow a predictable pattern. The menu items are the same (“Home”, “About Us”, “Services” and “Why We Are Different”).
The stock images are familiar.
The images of the advisors from different firms look like they were taken by the same photographer.
Challenge your website designer to break the mold. Use animation, graphics, traditional and non-traditional videos.
There’s compelling research that video trumps print in conveying an impactful image.
Do you want the viewer of your webpage to remember you and your message? The average viewer remembers 95% of a video message but only 10% of a printed one.
If you were redesigning your website, and were familiar with these studies, your webpage would be predominately videos, animation and graphics, with minimal text.
Of course, you need some printed content. It should be written by a creative writer who understands investing. The biggest mistake advisors make when redoing their websites is retaining designers who also write content.
Those firms don’t know the difference between Ken French and French toast.
Inject some humor. Show imperfections. Make an emotional connection.
Prospects can’t relate to perfect people, because they are all imperfect.
By showing your human side, you make an emotional connection with the viewer.
Break the mold, take chances, be creative and show viewers you really are different.
Given the current state of advisors’ websites, this will not be difficult.