By: Candice Carlton with special guest, Lindsey Gladstone, Director of Marketing, Advisor Websites–A Snappy Kraken Company
Your website is your online business card and more importantly, the anchor of your digital marketing and lead generation game. When visitors come to your site, you want to solidify their confidence that they landed in the right place and that you can satisfy their pain points as their financial advisor. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading your website or wondering how your online presence impacts your business, consider these numbers:
- 89% of consumers do their research online before doing business. If you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist.
- 94% of first impressions of your brand relate to your website design. How well do you show up when people land on your website?
- You only have 5-7 seconds to communicate that you are the best advisor to meet their needs. So a poorly designed website experience can make or break all of your other marketing efforts!
I recently hosted our first Master Class for advisors with Lindsey Gladstone, Director of Marketing at Advisor Websites–A Snappy Kraken company, on how to optimize your website to drive leads to your business. Lindsey brings 17 years of experience in digital and traditional marketing, and she advises advisors every day on how to make most of their marketing investment.“Optimizing your website may sound daunting, but it does not mean your website necessarily needs an overhaul,” Lindsey says.“It simply means making strategic improvements with the intention of converting leads into clients.”
Website Traffic: Understanding where your visitors come from
Over the past few years, digital marketing has experienced massive acceleration in the financial services sector. Consumers are more readily adopting technology and searching online more than ever for advice and information with an extreme sense of urgency.”If you’re an advisor, you have likely grown your business through referrals–from clients, from COIs, even from employees,” Lindsey says.“Referrals are still a tremendous source of new business for advisors, and your online presence plays a key role in the post-referral buyer’s experience. How? If someone gives you a referral for a service or business, what do you do? You likely immediately go online to research a website, social profiles, or content like a podcast, an eBook, or other relevant pieces that validate the referral.”
People today do the “try before you buy” approach – they follow a social media profile, they download a podcast, and yes, they visit your website and click around. They take action as a way to start building trust in your brand and your message.
Another source of traffic comes from organic and inorganic search. Inorganic traffic typically comes from your marketing spend on ads that offer content of value to the user if they click through to your website. Organic traffic comes from optimizing your site with things like link building, keywords, backlinking and tags to increase your ranking in the first search engine result pages (SERPs).
Having a website is such an important part of building new business – if you don’t have a site and content that’s getting picked up in search engines, you’re missing out on capturing potential new clients.
Five Ways to Optimize Your Website
Now that you understand the sources of web traffic and how each one is relevant to growing your business, how do you optimize your website? Here are five ways Lindsey says can enhance your existing website or serve as a guide if you’re just starting out:
- Understand your target audience and build a personalized experience to them to attracting and holding their attention and converting into leads. Who is your ideal client? If you have not already done so, assess your current client base and work with your team to create a picture of your target audience. You can use CRM data for demographics such as age, gender, location, income, investment portfolio size, occupation, etc. Client surveys are incredibly useful to gather data on why clients chose you and why they stay with you. All of this helps you create strategic and relevant messaging for a specific audience that helps build trust and confidence that you understand their needs.
- Incorporate Humanization. Sounds easy enough, but our industry is still lagging when it comes to showing our “human” side instead of our impressive credentials and experience. While those are certainly important in validating our expertise, it’s also very important to make your website engaging and for people to get to know you beyond your CFP®. One area where you can express yourself is on the About page – arguably one of the most visited on any site. Personalize this page with your interests, hobbies, and add photos and videos about yourself, your family or your team members. You want to be relatable and make a connection with people – nobody wants to do business with someone they don’t know or don’t think they can trust.
- Establish social proof. People today look for validation of their choices through an online presence, client reviews, media mentions, social media following (that blue check is worth more than you think!). With the new marketing rule in play, explore how you can use client testimonials within your website. People love to hear how your company has made a positive impact on existing clients and it communicates to prospects that you have a proven track record of satisfying client’s needs that resemble their own. Side note: this year, less than 10% of RIAs are taking advantage of the new SEC ruling and using testimonials in marketing (Financial Planning Magazine).
- Create a truly enjoyable user experience. We all search online and end up on websites whether we’re buying shoes, booking travel or shopping for a new appliance. How do you feel when a website is poorly designed and hard to navigate? Does it impact your impression of the company as a whole? It’s important to ensure that your website has a seamless site navigation for desktops, mobile devices and tablets, and gets people where they want to go quickly. Remember, you only have up to 7 seconds to communicate through your website that you are the best advisor for their needs.
- Have calls to action on your website. Getting leads to your website is the first step. The second is capturing their information so you can continue to build a relationship with them. What are your website’s goals? Do you want them to sign up for your email list? Connect with you for a consultation? Subscribe to your blog? Make these Calls to Action (CTAs) easily accessible and sprinkle them throughout your site.
These five keys steps can help elevate your website and drive targeted leads for you in addition to all of your other marketing efforts. Remember, differentiation is also key. As people are often shopping for more than one advisor – how are you differentiating yourself from the competition through your website? “Optimizing your website can help you communicate your value proposition and build new business with more of the people you enjoy working with the most,” Lindsey says. In this digital marketing era, your website is at the center of your business development efforts. With a few enhancements, you can level up your growth game and stand out from the crowd.
Ready to learn how you can drive more leads by optimizing your marketing and digital strategy?