According to InvestmentNews’ 2014 Financial Performance Study of Advisory Firms, 65 percent of advisors consider their website their top marketing tool. And, in fact, when searching for an advisor, prospects use the Internet more often than any other method. When we polled more than a thousand advisors, however, we found that 67 percent were dissatisfied with their existing websites. So how do you turn a website you don’t like into your top marketing tool?
The first step. You first need to know what a website’s for and how it works. As social media marketer Victor Gaxiola notes in InvestmentNews, most advisors have seriously outdated, “Web 1.0” websites. The reason for this is partly a gap in knowledge about websites. If you build it, they may not necessarily come. If no one knows about your website, it can’t be an effective marketing tool.
You must market your #1 marketing tool. It’s helpful to think of your website as an extension of you. In effect, your website is your placeholder, your mouthpiece, a stand-in that advocates on your behalf. It’s how people know your services are better than the competition’s. Understanding this is the first step toward turning your website into the hot marketing tool you need it to be.
What’s next? Because you want to put your best Internet foot forward, it’s time to makeover your website. A good website considers the entire user experience. How quickly does it load? How visually appealing and easy to navigate is the design? How well written and informative is the content? How good does it look on a mobile device? Ensuring that you can answer all these questions with “very” is good search-engine optimization practice. Good SEO leads to a higher ranking, a higher ranking gets more views, and more views results in an even higher ranking. So marketing your website enables it to be a better marketing tool.
What else? Now that you’ve got a great-looking, optimized website, it’s time to get it out there:
Start with the basics. Mention your website to prospects during cold calls. This gives them the opportunity to do research on you after you’ve finished speaking. Include it in your email signature. Provide a link in your monthly newsletter and mention any new website content in it. Order new business cards that include your website address.
Be influential. Don’t just tell people you’re a good advisor, show them. Start a blog or contribute articles to other sites in order to share your wealth of knowledge. Found an interesting article online? Add your sage comment. Contribute to a LinkedIn group or start your own. Just remember that wherever your name goes on the Internet, your website address should follow.
Your website absolutely is the hot marketing tool you want it to be. But a great tool can only work if you know how to use it.