Financial advisor template-based websites are very affordable and don’t require a big development effort. Since not every firm can afford a custom website, these financial advisor websites definitely have their place and provide an important entry level option.
The problem lies when you use them out of the box and stop there.
With template-based sites, your website usually ends up looking a lot like many other advisor websites. So when a visitor views your site, it probably doesn’t do a good job of differentiating your firm:
- Doesn’t target specific types of prospects you’re after
- Doesn’t convey your unique style of providing financial advice
- Doesn’t communicate the most compelling reasons to hire your firm
So the website may look nice, but it does not capture the visitor’s interest. If the visitor is not impressed enough to contact you, your website is not doing its job.
Fortunately there are easy, affordable ways to get your website working for you without the large expense of developing a custom website from scratch.
Easy and Affordable Fixes
1 – Update your Website Messaging
A picture speaks a thousand words, but in the image-rich digital world we are all immersed in every day, the right words are needed to make an impact. And when you’re selling financial advisor services, words matter even more, since it’s such an important purchase. People are willing to read more when they are about to select a company to help manage their money.
Most template-based websites describe your firm, who you are and what you do. But really they are writing about the wrong party. Instead we need to make your prospect the focus of your website copy.
What are your the pain points of your ideal clients?
- Are they families worried if they are saving enough to be able to send their kids to college as well as retire?
- Are they self-made business owners concerned about protecting their assets?
- Are they nearly retired people wondering how to generate enough income in a low interest rate environment?
While the templates help to provide a basic structure, your messaging should never be prepackaged. Instead, your website copywriting should be customized to your firm. To do that, you need to carefully consider your targets’ pain points, then also focus on differentiating your firm.
- Given their stresses and needs, how can your firm help them?
- What benefits will they get from working with your firm instead of another one?
- What benefits will they get from working with your firm instead of handling their own money, or using a robo-advisor?
As you can see, attention also needs to be paid to your competitors’ websites. You want your message to be memorable and different enough that it stands out from the others.
Finally, your website copy needs to contain the right keywords. Keywords ensure you are found and are part of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You will want to be sure you’re using the right ones, so be sure to do some competitor keyword research to make sure you’re found along with other local firms.
2 – Upgrade your Imagery
Most advisors use stock photos on their websites. Unfortunately in most cases these are not memorable. Some even border on the cheesy side. That’s not good.
Instead of using stock photos, consider having real life photos taken of you and your team at work. Uncomfortable for many, yes, but it’s worth it: Research show that actual photos of a business can increase conversions.
Think about it. If you are looking for a new accountant, what would you want to see on their website? Stock photos that have zero relationship to the accounting firm, or actual photos of the people and the firm? If you’re serious about picking a new accountant, you’ll likely want to see actual photos of the firm:
- Their management
- Their staff
- Their offices
While it’s not exactly the same as meeting them in person or having a phone call, it helps. It will give you an initial indication of what the firm is generally like. Especially combined with the messaging on the site, you can almost feel like you have met them in person.
Unfortunately that’s where stock photos can backfire. If you know there’s stock photos on that accounting firm website, it can serve as a distraction. Worse, you may wonder: why are they not showing pictures of the actual staff and office?
Like it or not, these are the messages your website could be sending prospects.
Now I constantly hear that staff are uncomfortable with pictures, that’s normal. Fortunately, there are strategies to make it easier:
- Instead of posed pictures, use action shots of everyone at work, so no one feels like they need to pose awkwardly.
- Shots can be attractively blurred or softened by a Photoshop professional.
- Include team shots that are not close ups.
3 – Add a Lead Magnet and a Call to Action
Your website should have a single purpose: turn an anonymous visitor into a lead. To get people to do that, you need two things:
- a ‘call to action’: you’ve got to ask them to do something specific
- a ‘lead magnet’: some type of incentive to get them to take that action
Now, you may want them to call you and hire you…but that’s a big ask. Remember, you are asking someone to trust you with ideally their life savings. You have to date before you get married!
That’s not how people want to hire an advisor. It makes your firm look pushy and that type of approach makes consumers nervous.
Instead, you want to offer easy ways for prospects to sample your services and get to know your firm. That builds trust and make your firm seem easy to work with.
So the smart thing to do is to offer something of value for free, in return for their contact information. You get their email address so you can put them on a DRIP list…they get something of value, and a free way to sample your services. Win/win.
Here’s common lead magnets for financial advisors:
- Free guide (free eBook)
- Free checklist
- Complimentary second opinion on your investments
- Complimentary retirement readiness review
Whatever you choose, it’s vital to be specific about what they will get. And what they won’t get. Why? All of us fear giving our email address out and getting a ton of spam. Or giving our phone number then getting unwanted and awkward calls. So I recommend you be explicit about your policies and let them know that you take their privacy seriously.
Ideally, you’ll have multiple calls-to-action on your website so the visitor can take the action that is most appealing to them at the time.
Do-It-Yourself or Outside Firm?
If you started with a template-based website, you probably did so because of budget constraints. So watching your budget is understandable.
On the other hand, it’s vital that you’re not losing out on referrals and other vital opportunities, which has a much more significant cost than what you would pay for website upgrades.
But if you have skilled staff on your team, by all means, try it internally. You’ll find out if its working, the website either will start generating leads, or it won’t! That’s the beauty of it.
For most financial advisory firms, it makes the most sense to outsource, so you get the benefit of outside expertise. Fortunately most financial content firms will provide you with fixed fee quotes so you can carefully control what you are spending.
You can also handle your upgrades in phases if your budget is tight. Start with website copy, then add upgraded imagery and a lead magnet later.
Regardless, always treat your website as a work in progress…constant improvements will help ensure continually improving results.
While starting with a template-based website is not a problem, sticking with the standard form can cost you dearly in terms of lost sales and referrals. Fortunately, by following these steps, you can get your website on the road to continuously generating leads for your firm.
Jeanne Klimowski is the founder of Wavelength Financial Content Inc. Wavelength provides copywriting, content development and white-label financial wellness programs for financial advisors. Visit us at https://wavelengthfinancial.com/.