“If you don’t show up on Google, then you don’t exist.”
I’m not sure who first spoke those wise words but they were right. In wealth management marketing, a website is one of the most critical pieces of collateral in an advisor’s arsenal. It can serve as:
· a widely available and dynamic brochure to describe services and value prop;
· verification for those seeking your firm, location or staff;
· a source of information and thought leadership;
· and a point of affirmation for those researching your firm.
In our marketing and communications work with wealth advisors, we complete a great deal of industry research and often look at websites all day long for competitive analysis and inspiration. While there are professional and perfectly beautiful advisor websites, more often than not, websites we see are less than inspirational. Most of the time, the wealth advisor websites we find are unprofessional, unattractive and uninformative. This is not only a missed opportunity, but can also act as a deterrent!
Knowing that the first step of vetting a firm is often a quick Google search, why would a wealth advisor not make their website amazing? A good website with informative content can score instant credibility! That said, simplicity is the key; less is more.
There are a few faux pas that I often see – here are the top five:
1. No Website At All -
The most heinous mistake I see happens when I search for a firm - and find nothing. Even worse, when I search for the firm I am seeking, I'll incorrectly stumble on similarly-named competitors who have websites optimized for search. This can make it difficult for prospects to find your firm - even a client coming in for a meeting can be frustrated at not being able to find your address easily. Not having a website makes it seem like your firm is either non-existent or not professional enough to have one.
2. Typos –
Websites that have grammatical errors and misspellings make the firm in question appear sloppy. Your website is a reflection of you and your firm – would you send client documents with typos? No way! Your website is the most widely available piece of collateral your firm produces. It needs
to be properly edited for mistakes.
3. Poorly Structured Navigation -
Many times when I see a wealth advisor website, my first impression is that it is a jumbled mess, often with choppy navigation and many more pages than necessary. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and a prospect is not going to take the time to search through a confusing maze of sub-navigation pages to find the information they want. The content of your website should be written for your prospects – and less is more! A simple navigation structure and easy-to-read content makes it easier for the reader to understand your offering.
4. Out of Date content -
There is a reason we don’t wear clothes from high school. An out-of-date website leaves the impression that your firm is not current in technology capabilities and communication methods. Firms who embrace technology to benefit their clients should also make sure this forward-thinking approach is reflected in their public materials. A website is not “set it and forget it” - rather it should be refreshed every 3-4 years to ensure current design and technology standards.
5. Basic Unattractive Look and Feel -
Why is a website often the most unattractive piece of collateral a firm has to offer? Your firm’s website should be the MOST appealing part of your marketing arsenal! In an age of digital marketing, the investor is constantly bombarded with images, information and shiny objects, so it is important to make sure your website is an appropriate reflection of your firm’s caliber of service. Keeping your website consistent with your firm’s brand standards help a reader seeking your website know they’ve come to the right place. In an era when there may be several firms with similar names to yours, it is critical to use visuals that are attractive and consistent with the rest of your firm’s collateral and brand.