As a financial advisor, your website is often your first chance to make a great impression. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to impress your prospects. Whether your prospects find your site by searching online or researching you after being referred by a friend, failing to make the most out of this initial encounter could mean the difference between signing an ideal new client or missing out on potential business, again and again.
In the not-so-distant past, financial advisors could get away with a basic website. As long as your firm had a site of any kind, you were doing better than the competition. However, the landscape has changed and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The way you show up in the digital space matters, and it can mean the difference between achieving your goals and missing the mark.
If your website is more than a few years old, it’s time for an update.
If you’ve invested in a website and it’s not bringing in new business, you are due for a refresh. Your site could need a minor update or a complete rebrand.
Here’s how to tell if your financial advisor website stuck in the past and, if it is, how to position it for success.
Why Update Your Website
Updating your website is about more than just replacing the old with the new. Having an updated website shows potential clients that you care about your business, are actively engaged and paying attention, and are putting in the effort to share your knowledge and insights.
Having an out-of-date website makes you appear out of touch, like you don’t care enough to keep pace with technological changes, and are too busy to be bothered. And if prospects suspect you aren’t on top of your game, they will be less likely to trust their financial future to you.
Fair or not, this is the way impressions work.
It’s like driving by a restaurant that looks shabby with peeling paint and 1980s signage; it might have the most delicious food, but you’re less likely to give it a try.
Updating your website lets you implement an effective digital marketing strategy. Whereas websites from a decade ago were little more than digital brochures, now you have the opportunity to do content marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, Facebook advertising, and more. Your website and branding need to be updated in order to get results.
Updating your website shows the world who you are now, rather than who you were several years ago. Change is the only constant, you are not the same advisor and your firm is not the same company. As you evolve over time, your presence online should evolve too.
How to Know If Your Website Needs Updating
As I mentioned above, if your website is more than a few years old, it probably needs to be updated. And in some cases, it could be time for a full overhaul of your brand. But whether you’re too close to the brand to be objective or you don’t spend enough time online to be familiar with what consumers have come to expect from company websites, here is some guidance and the indicators signaling an outdated website.
Ask yourself the following seven questions:
1. Is my message still relevant?
Your brand message should speak directly to your ideal client and convey that you can help them solve a particular problem or fulfill a desire they have.
Did you start off focusing on helping young professionals begin planning for retirement, and now your firm focuses on working with pre-retirees? Did you previously work exclusively with high-net-worth families only to realize you’re more passionate about advising your upper-income middle-class American neighbors? Then the brand message on your website needs to be revised accordingly.
2. Are my images outdated?
Imagery conveys powerful meaning. When a prospective client lands on your site, they should recognize they are in the right place by seeing relatable images. Old stock photos that look like they were taken decades ago need to be replaced with fresh new pictures with an updated aesthetic.
If a prospect would have trouble recognizing you from your headshot, it’s time for a new one—yes, even if you’ve put on some weight, gained a few laugh lines, or lost hair since your last one. An updated, friendly headshot that looks like you is a must. (See my article Tips for Taking Your Own Headshots for more information.)
3. Does my website stand out?
Back in the days when having a website—any website at all—helped you stand out, you could get away with a cookie-cutter template site. Today, you have less than 15 seconds to capture a website visitor’s attention to give them a reason to stick around and learn more about you.
They are looking for an advisor they can trust to help them meet their goals. Having a website that paints you no differently from the advisor across town isn’t doing you any favors. If your website is a beige, boring, run-of-the-mill site, it’s time to update your brand.
4. Has my business changed?
The answer to this question is likely yes, but is this change reflected online? If not, it’s time for a change to your website.
Maybe you started as a one-person shop, and now you have multiple advisors or you’ve hired operations support that plays a critical role in your success. Maybe your firm started with one office, and you’ve expanded to a second location. Maybe you’ve shifted from selling products to a fee-only model. Maybe you’ve developed a signature process that you walk each client through. If there’s no sign of these changes on your website, it is time to refresh or rebrand.
5. Am I sharing content regularly?
A static brochure-like website is no longer enough. Most consumers are doing research online before making even small purchasing decisions. Hiring a financial advisor is a serious commitment, and your prospects want to know that you’re knowledgeable. They want to know your approach and perspective. Therefore you need to incorporate regular sharing and updates into your website.
The content you share can be in the form of a blog, new articles you’ve written, a podcast, YouTube videos, or new free resources such as guides or whitepapers. The point is, you’ll want to keep people on your site and keep them coming back for more, so it’s important to incorporate a way to share content regularly and easily into your website.
6. Is my brand engaging?
This is a challenge for many financial advisors and other conservative industries. Consumers tend to be turned off by overly formal, stuffy brands, and even wealthy audiences want you to loosen your tie a bit. This doesn’t mean your website needs to be edgy or provocative; it should be engaging, friendly, and approachable.
Look over your website. Is the language formal and dry or more conversational? Will it bore readers or pique their interest? Does it sound like you or someone else? Are you speaking at people like an expert on high or telling relatable stories and asking questions?
If your brand isn’t drawing interest and your messaging doesn’t feel like part of an ongoing conversation with clients and prospects, it needs some work.
7. Is my technology antiquated?
If you have an old website that you haven’t kept updated, your technology needs an overhaul. While the tech side of your website is happening behind the scenes, it is a critical part of the client experience. If the site runs slowly, has broken links, or glitches, it will send the wrong message. People will click away or feel frustrated.
If you are planning to use digital marketing, you need a website that’s blog enabled, allows you to embed social media and social sharing elements, includes an email opt-in form, let’s you add or update content without relying on a webmaster, enables you to add pixels for Facebook advertising, gives you the opportunity to optimize for search engines, and more.
Old website technology limits your reach and puts your brand at a disadvantage.
How to Rebrand Your Website
If it’s time for a new website, you’ve been in business long enough to turn to a professional. Maybe your first site was a do-it-yourself job, or your teenage daughter took care of it. But for the next round, it’s best to hire someone who knows exactly what you need to bring your brand up to today’s standards.
When looking for support in rebranding your website, select a professional or agency that understands marketing for financial advisors, rather than a web designer who only wants to make your website look nice. The point of updating your website is to enhance the performance of your marketing and get better results.
In addition to presenting your firm in a better light, your goals should be to attract traffic, generate leads, and convert more business. Keep in mind that as a financial advisor, you should always follow compliance guidelines when creating any content for your website, so it’s best to work with someone who understands this.
It will take your time and attention. You’ll need to get clear on exactly what you want and stay involved in the process. But an experienced professional or agency will make the website rebranding process painless and set your mind at ease, ensuring you come out of the other end of it with a website you’re confident about that helps you reach your goals.
Realigning your brand is similar to rebalancing a portfolio. Over time you can drift, but think about this like a retirement plan and adjust as needed to stay true to your goals.
I hope you found this overview about website rebranding helpful. If you already have a website, and you think it might need a refresh, investigate rebranding, so you can better connect with the people you want to serve.
Whether you’re too close to the brand to be objective or you don’t spend enough time online to be familiar with what consumers expect from websites, you may need some guidance in determining what indicators would signal an outdated website. That is where Crystal Marketing Solutions comes in! Get in touch with us to see how we can help.