Ignoring Websites Can Be Hazardous To Growing an Advisors’ Practice

Many advisors concur in theory that a periodic, systematic review of their firm's website and digital marketing presence is an essential and foundational best practice. Unfortunately, numerous investment advisors, especially smaller ones, give infrequent attention to their sites and digital marketing practices, which puts them at a strategic disadvantage relative to rivals and in the eyes of prospective institutional and individual investors clients.

The virtues of an ongoing evaluation should be apparent. The company's website is typically the most public, first viewed marketing tool in an asset advisors' toolbox. Virtually anyone getting acquainted with an advisor will visit the company's website as part of their initial vetting process. A strong digital presence is a great method for advisors to introduce their story and differentiate their firm, services and overall financial products and strategies.

Advisors can do themselves a favor by avoiding common, preventable site issues. Among the most common mistakes that investment advisors make is not acknowledging that a web page is a completely different medium than a printed sales brochure. Too many advisor sites continue to display long blocks of text and large paragraphs with font style that is too small to read.

In addition, many registered investment advisors’ websites are littered with generic investment language and jargon, opaque language, and over-abundance of technical language. For example, "best in class," "leading edge," "smart people," "highly proficient" and "time-tested performance history" appear all too often. Lots of websites have too much focus on advisor-centric functions and inadequate emphasis on client-centric benefits.

Another typical weakness is making use of generic stock images such as handshakes, dartboards, skyscrapers and bicycles. Advisors also do themselves an injustice when they fail to clearly describe the company's investment differentiators -- such as tax-efficient investing, asset allocation investing or alternative strategies-- right on the web page.

We also discovered that too frequently an advisor’s comment after launching when a new website is "to set it and forget it.” This attitude is a not optimal and a huge, missed opportunity. Leaving a website alone will guarantee that both the innovation and material grow stagnant over time, which can damage a company's reputation in two ways:

First, advisors fail to understand that website design innovation keeps improving, enabling improved functionality every year. Any website built on eight-year-old technology and design innovation and content strategy will appear outdated, and that will impact perceptions relating to the asset advisor's level of professionalism and skills.

Secondly, we cannot count the variety of times we have clicked through to an advisor's "news" or "insights" page just to discover the most current material is dated 2015. Anybody who sees this would ask, "Is this firm still in operation? If so, is their company so stagnant that they do not care to update their clients and prospects".

Visitors to a site without any upgraded content might assume that there has been no evolution in the firm's procedure or viewpoint, with no contributions to industry thought leadership via white papers.

Advisors should be updating their sites continuously to share the most up-to-date news and views of the firm and team, alert customers, and potential customers of material insights and other related information. It holds true that investment advisors will have to use up extra resources to make sure that their Web presence remains fresh and dynamic. Unbelievably, as soon as one project on the website is complete, it is time to start all over again.

Nevertheless, an ongoing investment in your site can quickly pay off. Since numerous financial advisors ignore their websites, a company that chooses to invest in enhancing its digital footprint can easily develop a point of distinction. Every asset advisor should keep in mind that if its website cannot show why, then prospective client may view the firm as a commodity, with absolutely nothing to distinguish its value from competitors.

Related: Why Do Advisors Need Digital Marketing?