There's more than just numbers involved when clients are considering financial planning. Your website can establish your firm as a reliable, trusted source that reinforces your relationship with core clients and introduces you to prospective clients.
Before you redesign, take a good look at what works and what doesn't on your existing website. Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your current visitors. What pages are the most popular? What browsers are they using? How many are using mobile phones to view your website? Your new website should be optimized to meet the needs of your current and future clients. Then, think about how your content is presented.
Is your website fluid and mobile-friendly? Some studies show that two-thirds of all web users are on mobile devices. Thinking about content in mobile really forces you to examine the length and rethink images and words for maximum impact.
Importantly, your website must differentiate you from your competitors. What makes you special?
GET THE MECHANICS DOWN
Use professional photography. Choose colors that are warm. Give the site breathing room which makes it reader-friendly. Avoid clutter. Feature your logo on each page. Use fonts carefully. Be sure it's easy-to-read, larger type size — anything to make the site pleasing to the eye. And, keep layouts open with nothing too complicated, or you will lose the reader quickly.
TELL YOUR STORY
You should provide a short history of your firm with photos and bios of key professionals, a description of your services and highlights of the types of clients you serve. You should explain your investment strategy and expand communication with existing and prospective clients by commenting on current news and trends. What is your approach and process for evaluating an investment? For instance, if you are actively managing investments, you may define how your process and experience differentiates your firm from index funds. It is crucial that you update your website as you announce firm developments such as new services, people and achievements.
CREATE A MEDIA CENTER
Every advisory firm should be creating thought leadership articles, and that content should reside on your website. Create a media center that houses your current and past articles and press mentions. Your website should host content that may also be posted on other websites and promoted through social media. This will improve your search engine optimization. Everything should link back to your media center. Then, position your advisers as thought leaders with an electronic press kit on the website that features short bios, photos and an archive of their reports. Embed video clips of media appearances.
TARGET YOUR MESSAGE
Your messaging should be targeted to your ideal prospects. If you serve multiple audiences, you can segregate content with dedicated landing pages. For example, one could be devoted to institutions and another could focus on high-net-worth individuals. Provide case histories and anecdotes, wherever possible.
First, number feeds can be created to populate your website with data from your transfer agent, or at least consider a simple content management system that allows you to easily update the numbers yourself. Second, begin creating a marketing automation program where you can track online visitors and create a path of discovery that builds a relationship with each prospective client. If appropriate, you may drive more visitors to your website with blog or social media posts that deliver thought leadership content to your clients and prospects.
LET YOUR WEBSITE WORK FOR YOU
Ultimately your website should showcase your brand and communicate to your prospects and existing client base a sense of your professionalism, consistency and commitment. If your website is not helping you attract key prospects, retain clients and position your firm for growth, then it's time for a change.
David Langton is founder and president of the branding and digital design firm Langton Creative Group.