One of the AW team’s favourite websites is that of PSM Private Wealth Management LLC, so I reached out to Krista Murray, CDFA, Chief Financial Officer and chief website builder, to talk about the site - what it took to put together and where it’s going in the future.
Through discussions with her AW project managers and her own research, Murray developed a theme for the website that would speak to their audience. Since the firm is located in sunny southern California, “We wanted a Californian-type theme,” said Krista, “elegant but a little more casual, fresh, new, clean, and aspirational as far as places you'd want to go and how you feel - a lot of it has to do with how the website makes you feel.”
Tapping further into the psychology behind web design, Murray curated images that would both aid the theme and give visitors an extra push in their direction. Using luxurious colours and inviting locations, PSM has really nailed the visual language on their website. Each gorgeous image ties together to create a reality we all aspire to achieve one day in life.
The image of the smiling couple helps subtly persuade visitors that they need the firm’s services. “The reason why I have that couple in there is because I didn't want to just have pictures with no people it it - there has to be some kind of connection.” Murray cites a study that took neutral- and happy-faced photographs of young people - a demographic that tends not to save toward retirement - aged the photos by 40 years, and found that people are more inclined to save if they see themselves happy in their later life. When looking at the website, Murray says she wants people to think: "I want to be that person some day - they look like they're having fun and that's what I want to do,” and PSM certainly comes across as the experts to help attain it.
Together with its aesthetic appeal, PSM also has strong written content. Despite being the most daunting part of building the website, Krista put her college marketing degree to good use and produced crystal clear, concise copy. “I had fun with it, but it's one of those things where you have to be away from the office and have a clear head; you can't be fighting fires and then think creatively about what you want to say. You have to do it off-hours or on a vacation when you can actually let your mind roam a little bit.”
“We knew going into it that many financial advisor websites are too copy-bound and talk a lot about the advisor, and clients do want to know that you have experience and that you're going to do a good job, but they also want to know what the result is for them. And the result is being able to enjoy their lives and not worry about the day-to-day management of their money. I wanted the content to be there for people who say 'what are your credentials, what is your process, tell me more,' so they can click through, but with the understanding that a lot of people spend maybe 1-2 minutes on a website before they're out.” The result is comprehensive copy that doesn’t overwhelm the site and stresses the benefits of their services, rather than the features.
PSM helps market their website and firm online through social media. Part of their strategy? “I trawl Twitter and find articles that I like and think are of interest to our clients and prospects, and then through Hootsuite, I upload them to our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages - it all goes up at the same time.”
Along with trying to get their clients to use social media, PSM is also trying to drive traffic to their website to keep processes centralized and help with SEO. “When clients want to log into their financial plan or see their accounts, we tell them not to go directly to the Black Diamond site or MoneyGuidePro, but to go to our website and to the login page there.”
Importantly, Krista recognizes that a website’s work is never done. “I do envision that as time goes on we’ll have to update it. I don’t think it's a 'set and forget' - I think it's a ton of work, ‘yay we're happy!’, then bits and pieces, and then maybe once every year or two, going through it with a fine-tooth comb and asking, 'does this still feel current?'” But for now, PSM is happy with the final (for now) product - as they should be.