You are probably at a point in your career where you're acquiring clients in a variety of ways. If you have an active professional network, you might be finding centers of influence in lawyers and CPAs who refer you clients. If you have developed strong relationships with your current clients, you are probably also receiving referrals from them on a somewhat regular basis. Perhaps when you receive these referrals you’re introduced via email, maybe even in person. Either way, you can almost guarantee that when it comes time to make a decision, that referral will visit your website before they contact you.
This moment is more crucial than you might realize. Your website is probably the last thing you think of when you’re assessing your client acquisition and client engagement levels. If you’re like many advisors, you might have a very low number of clients that initially contact you as a direct result of your website. But what you’re probably not measuring is how many referrals or potential clients aren’t converting as a result of visiting your site.
Take a moment and, from your potential clients’ perspective, consider the following questions:
Is there a clear call to action?
Potential clients who come to your website might simply be verifying your existence before placing a call, but there is a greater chance than not that they are actually vetting you. If they are in a situation where they’re shopping around, then those first few seconds after they land on your webpage are crucial. Are they frustrated by the lack of direction? Finding themselves with too much to read? Are they landing there and immediately clicking to another page because they aren’t quickly engaged or otherwise overwhelmed?
Does it tell a story?
When it comes down to it, your credentials appeal to your expertise, but not to your actual experience or level of success. They also don’t give clients a clear idea of what interacting with you will be like, nor draw them in with success stories they can relate to. What will clients experience when they come in to see you? This needs to be reflected through the design and content on your homepage, so that potential clients feel a sense of consistency between what they hear from their friends, see on your site, and eventually know themselves once they sit down with you. This consistency puts your potential clients in a place of ease and gets the relationships started off on the right foot.
Is it visually compelling?
You might be limited in this respect if you work for a wire house, or if your firm's compliance regulations control the layout of your webpage, but if you play your cards right you might just be able to make a salient argument for improving the visual appearance of all the financial advisor bios at your firm. Google financial advisor bio pages (even those of RIAs and independents) and find examples that have the presence to convey the personality of the firm, advisor or team. Your site needs to compel your clients differently than other financial advisor sites and make them feel they are reading something they can relate to. While promoting the capabilities of your firm is important, your website shouldn’t be smattered with products. Make sure the content reflects the best interest of the client. This way they aren’t immediately intimidated by the possibility that they’ll have to put up their defenses to resist a sale or battle presumptions; rather, they’ll know you are there to meet them at their point of need.
Is it client-centric?
Is your content focused on what you do rather than what your potential clients need? For example, many advisor sites have an over-abundance of industry information that comes in through a third party’s automated news feed. Not only does this have the potential to overwhelm clients, it confuses the issue at hand. While you want to prove knowledge of your industry (this should be a given), you want to first make sure the content is helpful to the visitors to your site. Does the content on your website make a process, which is often nerve-wracking and confusing, easier or more comprehensive for your visitors? Does it do anything to further assist them in the decision-making process, or differentiate you as an advisor that might be able to uniquely serve them?
Remember, whether or not it is frequently discussed with you, your website is a place where several decisions are made about how, why, and if clients engage with your practice. Consider the questions below for guidance.
Coaching questions from this article:
When was the last time you looked at your website from your clients’ perspective?
Have you asked your current clients if they use your website, and what would drive them to use it more? Is this something you can include in your client engagement and relationship building process?
Can your website benefit you as well as your clients by streamlining or jumpstarting the process from your website? Is there information you can provide that would help better prepare your clients for meetings with you and therefore speed up the process for both parties?