I was on the phone with an advisor this morning who is a good professional and nice person but — like many advisors — not an Internet marketing expert. Without identifying him, I'm going to run through the issues his firm is doing wrong and how you can avoid the same common mistakes.
Home Page. The advisor has five graphics on his home page linking to the FPA’s consumer website, magazines in which firm was listed as one of the best advisors in the country make little sense and WiserAdviser, a site that aims to help advisers get sales leads. Linking to these websites is like shooting yourself in the foot. Why would you send visitors to your website to the FPA or to other sites listing advisors competing with you? It’s nuts. Point is, don’t just put a graphic on your site with a link to another site just for the hell of it. Think about the links you create to other sites and whether they are adding anything to your marketing effort.
Boats, Sunsets And Nautical Pictures. You has pictures all over its website of boats, compasses, and maybe even sextants. I get the nautical metaphor and how you help clients navigate treacherous financial waters. But nautical motifs went out of style over the past decade. They are trite, cliché. To redesign your website, replace all nautical and other generic photos with picture of videos of you or your team.
The CFP Board Logo. The gold-embossed CFP Board logo does not translate well on the Web. The gold leaf look is passé, a remnant of an era when advisors thought it was chic to print brochures and folders with raised lettering using metallic ink. Metallic ink was expensive 15 years ago and thus differentiated successful advisors who could afford to spend an extra 50% to print a brochure. With marketing moving to the Web, however, raised gold lettering makes you stand out for the wrong reason. The CFP Board needs to change its logo. It’s way overdue. Using that logo in its four year its $40 million dollar ad campaign is a mistake. You will find more modern logos below the gold CFP Board logo on this page.
Meaningless Text. The headings for text describing your services should use more specific terms than hackneyed phrases like “Partnering,” “Communicating,” and “Learning.” These words and the text that almost always follows then do not differentiate you. Any advisor can claim to “listen to you.” I know you really, really mean it. I know you’re sincere. But you need to show me, not tell me. Marketing text with platitudes does not differentiate you. To make your marketing text work, it must be specific about how you help specific types of people.
Burying Treasure. Buried in the bio of one of the advisors working for the firm is the fact that he writes an occasional column for a major newspaper. This is essentially a third-party endorsement, a buried treasure. If a newspaper uses your contribution it gives you credibility. So figure out a way to feature your most recent columns on your website. Same is true if you are on the radio or make any other media appearances. Not highlighting this information is a totally blown opportunity.
Featuring Generic Content. The video above is from the CFP Board’s public awareness campaign toolkit. The video is good and generic content is fine, as long as you’re not relying on it to differentiate your firm. Your home page and brochure pages should differentiate you from other financial advisors. It’s not good enough to lead with. Instead of the generic CFP Board video, I suggested we make a video here at my studio in which I interview you. Advisor Products charges $1,500 for six two- to three-minute snippets of you (and other professionals) speaking into a camera about wealth management and your niches, or $2,000 for 10 snippets. We’ll post them on YouTube and embed them in your site. The camera does not lie and your honesty, integrity and compassion come through. That’s a lot more meaningful than any template video.
Niches. Web marketing requires differentiating yourself. You must describe your niches. Using local search optimization in combination with describing your niches can help you get found by your ideal clients, whether they are doctors in Jefferson County, executives at ATT being offered a buyout, or pre-retirees drawn into your town by its low-cost cost of living and easy lifestyle. Content that addresses the financial, retirement and other issues these niches care about will draw them to you by naturally improving search engine rankings. Once you set your strategic direction and define your niches, write blogs posts or create videos about them and use your search terms to improve your search engine ranking and draw prospects you want to work with to you site. Getting a website without optimizing it for your search terms is no longer acceptable.
Social Media. Most advisors are not doing any social media marketing. Advisor Products new social media content stream for advisors is proving to be an effective way to provide wealth management ideas to your social networks. It’s actually great, according to the feedback we’re getting from avdisors. See my blog post about how advisor Charlie Jones doubled his site traffic by automatically tweeting Advisor Products wealth management content. It requires almost no work by you and allows you to have a respectable social media presence. We recommend you mix authoritative wealth management content we provide with personal and human interest information. Using social media to tweet wealth management will attract people to your site. Once you bring people to your site, you can engage them with a call to action.
Call To Action. If you’re not giving a free report, free consultation or some other valuable information, then you are missing an opportunity to engage potential clients drawn to your website. The trick is you need to provide something in your call to action that is genuinely useful to your ideal clients, something that motivates people to take the next step with you. To be clear, you can’t look at your free giveaway as a cheap trick to compel prospects to give you their email address and contact information. Your content must be authentic and valuable.