The Five Deadliest Website Mistakes
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Your website will help you put your best foot forward.
It will catapult your financial advisory practice above a crowd of competitors.
It will generate prospects and nurture them towards becoming clients, and turn into your hub of communications with all your contacts.
Yet there are five deadly mistakes that turn off prospective clients and squander your resources.
What are those all-too-common website mistakes?
What can you do to sidestep these errors?
- Not having website content that speaks to your target audience
You don’t have a specific target market? You are not alone.
This misstep prevents many advisors from customizing their website words to resonate with a specific set of individuals.
If you can’t identify an addressable market, then, you can’t develop a viable marketing plan or craft an effective website.
How to sidestep this mistake
You don’t have to commit to a niche for life. Instead, narrow your target market until you can answer some or all of the following questions:
Where, specifically, do they live?
Are they part of a profession or a definable group?
What is their life stage? (Examples are they newly married, mid-career, pre-retirement, or retirees?)
What is their income and asset level?
What are the financial problems they are looking to solve when they seek you out (and are these concerns featured on your website)?
Also, from your practice perspective what is your area of specialty? Who benefits most from your investment advice and planning services?
Create compelling content
So let’s say you have a target market. It may not be as specific as all left-handed pitchers in Major League Baseball. That’s okay.
Hopefully, though, it is at least as targeted as all the pre-retirement couples in your selected area with over $500,000 in investible assets.
Now you are ready to develop content that speaks to the hopes, fears, financial issues, dreams, and desires of your target audience.
That content will be unique on your site because you:
- focus on a specific target market; and
- solve their financial and investment problems in a unique way.
The more the content on your site connects your audience to your practice, the more powerfully your site will attract your desired audience.
- Engaging in little to no search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing, preventing even your clients and family from finding your website
If you have avoided mistake #1 then you actually do want clients, prospects, and COIs to be able to find your site.
You want your social and digital marketing to drive qualified traffic and potential leads back to your website, ideally to a landing page where you could capture their name and email and follow-up with them.
Simple SEO starts with benchmarking where your current site is now.
If your initial evaluation report shows your site scores in the 50s to 60s, in essence a failing grade, don’t be surprised.
The good news for those that have control of their site, for example if an agency created it for you or if you are using an Open-Source platform like WordPress, there are probably a dozen or so quick fixes that will get your site up to passing.
What is the difference between failure and passing in SEO?
Some of my clients have been able to track a new client from a web search within 90 days.
Others have showed up on the first page of Google around a key search term almost immediately so they are at least in the game.
And don’t forget Google search and display ads, two forms of pay-per-click (PPC), and remarketing to those who have already visited your site.
Don’t forget to incorporate your website into your email marketing campaigns, drive your subscribers back to your site to see your newsletter, presentations and videos, and content (and avoid mistake #3).
These tactics are especially effective because you can be very targeted, limit your budget, and engage in scientific A/B testing to pilot and track new marketing initiatives.
- Failing to create a hub of communications for your clients, COIs and prospects
Is there something on your website for your key audiences?
Many advisors divide their key audiences into clients and COIs, and then segment a few different types of prospects.
You don’t want to focus just on one audience as the goal of website is usually to support the entire practice, not just client communications or new prospect attraction.
For example, you could have a recent client newsletter on the site and also a recent video of your presentation to prospects.
Remember, once you get your target prospects to the site the key success factors are:
- How well they understand what you do and why you are different from all the other options;
- How much they feel that your financial advisory practice is one that can serve them well; and
- How strongly you prompt them to request information or to call you right from the site.
You can always generate more traffic through many different marketing avenues.
Once they arrive on your site, though, it is vital to keep them interested with the right message and marketing hooks.
Making your website your hub of communications will help accomplish this.
- Letting a third party or compliance make the key decisions about your website for you
Would you let an agency, salesperson, or account manager at a fintech vendor tell you who to hire for your open customer service position or junior advisor?
Of course not.
Yet time after time I see advisors delegating their website strategy and other key decisions about it to others.
Or, they take the easy way out and use a common template so they look like the majority of advisors in their broker dealer.
Say it for me three times, “Compliance is the not the first, second, or third audience for your website or marketing.”
Yes, there will always be compliance review.
But just because compliance review is built-in to a website content management system, this should not be the driving factor for your website strategy.
When you are thinking about your website think of it as hiring a Director of First Impressions.
Your job description will be your website strategy and for better or worse you are the business owner or practice leader – so you own it!
Put the same care into selecting your website platform as you would interviewing a prospective employee.
- Failing to view your website as the key pillar the marketing plan
While our surveys over the years have shown that only one-third of advisory practices have a formal marketing or growth plan, those with a plan should be sure to incorporate their website into this strategy.
A website is more important for those without a formal plan, as is it is likely to be a bigger piece in the overall marketing puzzle.
The more ways you can promote your practice and communicate with your customers and use the website to support the plan, the more likely you are to hit your growth goals.
Get a leg-up on the competition by avoiding these mistakes.
Within this article you have a simple five-point plan that gives you proven strategies and tips to turn your next website – or improvements to your existing site – into a steady prospect and client generator.
Bob Hanson is the co-author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. To get a new checklist, The 9-Point Advisor Website Audit and qualify for a free website evaluation to see how it stacks up, click here.