PART 3 OF 5
Financial Advisor Websites – Makeover Tips
In Part 3 of our 5 part series we’ll deal with overcoming the challenges of helping you position your brand on your website as well as helping your website visitors take action (download content) on your website.
- Part I of this series looked at the challenges and opportunities with improving the Focus, Flow and Continuity on your website. Click here to start with that post.
- Part II dealt with your website’s Purpose and Depth. Click here to read it.
One important role for many financial advisor websites is user engagement. This is the equivalent of a call-to-action but its purpose should not be limited to the ubiquitous “call us” or worse, a static contact-us link with the expectation that this will actually generate results. Engagement is getting an ideal prospect (website visitor) to “click” on something to learn more about your firm’s insights or to begin experiencing what it would be like to be a client. Engagement keeps them on your site longer, gets them experiencing your firm and builds trust.
When I started my first marketing company nearly 15 years ago, we built websites that were nothing compared to what we build now. What we build now wasn’t even possible 15 years ago. These days there are so many interesting ways to engage your website visitors. The web is actually the first place people go now when they are looking for a new financial advisor (or BD or RIA). That wasn’t the case 15 years ago either. More than ever you need quality content, the first step to engaging people.
Once you have quality content, you need to entice visitors to click it (view, take, download or sign up). In some cases you may want to ask for their name and email. You’ll need a visually compelling graphic to help entice them. A clear and valuable call-to-action is also a necessity. You’ll need to position “content” in the right place on your site.
Think about tiering your content as follows:
The most enticing and compelling content (tier 1) goes just below the introduction on the website. Consider featuring 2 or 3 pieces of content across the website on the home page. You can also repeat these offers in the sidebar within each page.
Tier 2 content can go below the Tier 1 content and often has less prominent graphics to promote it. Use simple but visually appealing icons with text to express these items. You can also position this tier of content to a large footer area. On specific pages you might want to pull out the most relevant content and add it at the end of the main content on that page.
You’ll need a talented designer and coder to make the most out of how you position content and engage visitors. It’s a delicate balance of visual stimulation, placement, call-to-action and simplicity.
Another great form of engagement is blog articles and social media channels. If you make your social media icons tiny links in an area they aren’t likely to be seen, don’t expect much engagement there. You should use high impact images for all posts or articles so that when these are fed into a footer or sidebar, they have punch and the images attract visitors’ eyes.
It’s also important to use catchy phrases to attract people to click. “Advisor Branding Strategies” is much less catchy than “My Advisor Brand…I Put That %^%$# on Everything”. There are plenty of great articles on this subject but here’s one I particularly enjoyed.
Next to lack of depth, differentiation is the most deficient, yet critical, website attribute. In an industry that seems similar in many ways to many people, being seen as different can’t be marginalized or ignored. Lets face it, to the general consumer, all FIs are seen as the same – unless they have a compelling reason to choose one over another, they will gravitate towards a brand they recognize or one that is slightly more convenient. When there is no differentiation, that decision process can boil down to nothing more than selecting the service provider that is on the right side of the road for their drive home from work. Finding and articulating your uniqueness in a way that resonates and seems different or better, is critical to people wanting to take next steps with you. Since “the internet” is often the first place prospects go before they ever visit, it is critical that your financial advisor website quickly positions you as “different” in a way that adds value to the types of clients you want to attract.
Your financial advisor website needs to make you stand out, not blend in. Ensure your first impression (you have at most 10 seconds) positions your value in a way that intrigues and inspires your target audience. Ask yourself who you want to attract, what are those people looking for, and let them know they’ve landed in the right place.
Average financial firms who really understand their target audience and have exceptional advisor marketing can be very successful companies.