ADVISOR WEBSITE MARKETING: Good News for RIAs & IARs

Independent financial firms are quickly gaining momentum on large financial firms in their ability to leverage the advisor website marketing. Back in 2008, the Securities Industry Association published research that stated over 50% of investors from their study preferred to work with advisors from big Wall Street firms. Prior to 2008 numbers came in as high as 62%.

In late 2013, PaladinRegistry.com reported:

“only 16.3% [of investors] prefer advisors at big Wall Street firms.”

The flip side of that coin is that a whopping 68.8% of investors had no preference for advisors at big Wall Street firms.

THE PLAYING FIELD HAS LEVELLED

Big firms and their advisors no longer hold all the cards when it comes to trust, know-how and depth. Assets are moving from big Wall Street firms and the Paladin survey demonstrates that the old bias towards advisors at large Wall Street firms is changing. That said, it doesn’t mean independents need to simply exist and reap. There are few advisors that would admit that’s their mindset yet I consistently see Broker-Dealers and Independent advisors flooding to cookie-cutter websites. Often times these website template firms are run by tech geniuses, not branding gurus. Your advisor website needs to be marketing savvy, not merely a presence.

Advisor Website Marketing - Proof It's Working

What’s most intriguing about the numbers above is how quickly the Internet is moving up this list. In the last 10 years it’s overtaken “referrals from CPAs and/or Attorney”.

74.8% of investors prefer anonymity when searching for advisors.

BRAND DEPTH

Investors’ inclination to anonymously research advisors may be the most mind-blowing and common sense finding of all. I’ve written numerous blog posts about how imperative a trust building marketing mindset is for advisors and advisory firms alike. Trust building starts with how you position and market your advisor website.

How investors find financial advisors - advisor websites

Before they commit to a meeting, investors want time to build trust with advisors. Investors want to be sure a new advisor is different and better. Somewhere along the way financial advisors and firms have lost focus on what it means to develop a long-term brand with a grass roots marketing approach – building trust.

While the study doesn’t clearly define what “information found on the Internet” means, I think it’s safe to presume this includes understanding and connecting with a firms core message on their advisor website. It also likely means being able to “believe” what the website is saying is true. For years I’ve been helping advisory firms build brand depth. The concept of brand depth is proving that your story is not just marketing fluff but is indeed a fair and clear snapshot of what investors can expect working with your firm.

More about Brand Depth.

YOUR END GAME: LONG-TERM ADVISOR MARKETING SUCCESS

For the average advisor, a template website with a generic story and generic content may fit their budget, and “throw enough spaghetti on the wall and some of it is sure to stick ” approach, but for ambitious firms, a generic “we’re experts at everything” approach doesn’t cut it. Being online with a reasonably professional looking website isn’t the answer to meticulously attracting and engaging ideally targeted investors you enjoy working with most.

It’s akin to comparing a fight to a war. A successful short-term marketing success does not mean you are achieving long-term brand awareness and brand engagement. Trust is earned through long-term commitments; it can’t be bought, sold or fast tracked.

3 ADVISOR WEBSITE & MARKETING TRUTHS:

  1. Investors are increasingly relying on the Internet to find advisors.
  2. Investors want anonymity when searching for advisors.
  3. Investors use information found on the Internet to determine advisor trustworthiness.

Take a moment to think like your ideal client. Put yourself in their shoes. Now take a look at your website and that of your nearest competitor and ask yourself these questions.

  • Is it professional?
  • Does it tell a compelling story?
  • Can you relate to it?
  • Do you believe it?
  • If you were referred to them, would you be interested in moving?
  • Are you building trust?
  • Is your approach winning the larger “client acquisition” war?

>> If not, it’s time to do something about it.