To help attract new clients and deepen relationships with existing clients, your firm’s website should serve as the hub for all of your marketing and client communications activities. Ideally, it should include a blog and links to your social media channels (you are using social media, right?). The site’s navigation should be simple and uncluttered.
While aesthetic considerations are important, I believe the most critical component of an effective website is the copy. As a writer by profession, I am certainly biased toward the written word. But the fact remains that pretty pictures alone will not communicate your firm’s unique value proposition. You still need good old fashioned words.
In my experience reviewing and rewriting copy for advisors’ websites, I have found three common areas where most advisors can improve:
1. Communicate a Unique Firm Story
Many advisor websites convey the same generic marketing messages, such as:
- We offer independent, unbiased advice
- We value our clients
- We’re not crooks—really!
While these messages are important, they won’t set your firm apart from its competitors. To do that, you need to dig a little deeper and develop a unique “firm story.”
Step one in this process is to take a step back and identify your strengths. What problems do you solve for your clients? Do you have a niche or expertise that sets you apart? Do you specialize in serving a particular market, such as medical professionals, or a specific geographic area, or a combination of the two? Perhaps you employ a unique investment management process or client service approach.
Whatever it is that makes you even slightly different from the thousands of other advisors vying for investors’ business should be readily apparent on your website’s home page. You can then go into more detail on your “about us” page.
A compelling firm story should be simple, memorable, and repeatable. It should include a brief history of how your firm came into existence, your core values, and what gets you and your team out of bed in the morning. Keep the language simple and avoid jargon.
To be effective, your employees and your clients should be able repeat your firm story easily to others. You should also communicate your story consistently across multiple channels, including your brochure, LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, or Facebook page.
For more information on developing a compelling firm story, advisors who are on the Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services platform can contact their relationship manager for a copy of Fidelity’s Firm Story Development Guide.
2. Add More Details about Your Investment Philosophy and Processes
Many advisors fail to provide what I believe to be the most critical piece of information potential clients want to know: how will you invest my money? Your website should address the following common questions:
- Do you invest in individual stocks and bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, or some combination of these?
- Do you favor active management, passive management, or a combination? Why do you favor this approach?
- If you believe in active management, how do you select individual securities or mutual funds?
- Do you receive any type of compensation from the fund companies in which you invest?
- Do you trade frequently or favor a buy and hold strategy?
- Do you tailor portfolios for each investor or utilize model portfolios?
Detailed, specific answers to these questions can help prospects understand whether your firm is a good fit for their assets. This may result in more highly qualified leads coming your way.
3. Include Your Fees and Minimums
Fees and minimums are like an invisible elephant in the room. Prospects are definitely thinking about them, but are often reluctant to raise the issue when they first contact you.
From what I have seen, few advisory firms publish their fees and minimums on their websites. Given that transparency and the fee-only model are things that most independent advisors promote as competitive advantages, why not practice what you preach and make this information readily available?
I recognize that there are different schools of thought as to whether it makes sense to make your fees and minimums available to your competitors. But advisory fees are not exactly an industry secret and most firms’ fees are within the same general range. Making this information public can save a lot of needless dancing around this topic.
If your fees are on the low end, this competitive advantage may help you attract more prospects. Conversely, if your fees are on the high end, there is probably a good reason for that. Publishing your fees on your website can ensure that only qualified investors will contact you. This could save you a lot of wasted time in the long run.
If you’re concerned about turning away those who can’t pay your fees or meet your investment minimums, a good copywriter can help you word this information so that it’s clear there may be some wiggle room. If you’re still hesitant, at the very least include a “contact us” link on your website that makes it easy for prospects to email you and request this information.
About the Author
Neil Rhein is Chief of Content Development for Bull’s-eye Financial Communications, where he specializes in creating customized, authentic communications for financial services clients, including financial advisors and wealth managers, asset managers and broker dealers, custom publishers, and in-house financial marketing agencies.