Time for a Website Check-up

By Sheri Fitts • 6/6/2013 • 2 Comments

When was the last time you lifted the hood on your website?

As recently as just a few years ago, advisors were able to get by with a minimalist website with a logo, a bio, a photo and perhaps a map to your office. For many, that kind of simple “brochure-ware” met their online needs.

Times have changed.

Today, advisors need more than a bio page and a “Contact Us” form. Today’s prospects and clients are using your web presence as an indicator of how effective you are in conducting your business. More and more customers indicate that the advisor’s website plays a role in the final decision about whether to do business with you.

We’ve assembled the top five mistakes advisors are making when it comes to their websites. How does yours measure up?

Mistake #1: Too Much Jargon

The funniest part about Mistake Number 1 is that everyone agrees that they shouldn’t use industry jargon with their clients — only to find that they’re using it over and over again without even realizing it.

Speak to your audience in plain, simple English. When you go to your attorney, you don’t need him to tell you that you’ve established res ipsa loquitor, you just want to know that he can fix your problem. Your clients feel the same way.

Mistake #2: Saying The Same Old Thing

Are you saying the same thing as everyone else in your space? Do you even know?

Do you know how many advisor sites have some version of, “We offer a wide range of fully customizable options to meet the needs of today’s changing retirement environment”?

Yep … almost all of them.

Do your homework and review other websites. Look at how they are positioning themselves, and then find your niche. Perhaps it’s by customer type or investment philosophy or product mix. Whatever it is, show your prospects that you’re different and not one of the crowd.

Mistake #3: Confusing Navigation

The most important rule in developing navigation is: “Don’t make the user think at all.” If your customer has to pause to think about what might be under a certain tab or on a certain page, then you’ve failed. For example, if your website has a tab called “Academic Rigor,” you failed. Nobody knows what that is.

Do some simple user testing with some teenagers or young adults. Show them your website and tell them, “You’re a corporate customer looking for our investment philosophy.” See if they can find it quickly. If they can’t, it’s time to fix the navigation.

Mistake #4: No Current Thought Leadership

Remember when we said the days of dusty brochure-ware websites were long gone? That’s because today’s customer wants to see that you’re engaged in what’s happening in the retirement space now. What do you think about the regulatory changes or the market conditions or the economy’s impact on participation?

Blogging lets your current and future customers know that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry and you’re keeping their best interests first. Yes, it’s more work on your part, but it’s invaluable to your bottom line.

Mistake #5: Little or No Social Engagement

When you publish an article on your website and do nothing else, you’re “pushing” content. Sadly, the days of pushing content and expecting people to come to it are long gone. Today we have to “pull” our users to us — and social media is the way to do that.

Used correctly, social media will positively impact your customers’ perception of you as a thought leader who is actively engaged in their retirement plan. If a customer becomes your friend on Facebook or follows you on Twitter, every time you post an article or tell them about a conference you’re attending and what you’re learning, your credibility goes up — one tick at a time. Let’s start ticking.

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Comments (2)

The financial industry, due to heavy regulation and other factors, is an industry where website design, website promotion and social convers... Read more
6/14/2013 11:18 AM
Mark Luckinbill
Sheri, Could not agree more. LIMRA and PEW have some great stuff showing how middle market and semi affluent prospects look for info online.... Read more
6/6/2013 5:12 PM
Jason Ray