You’re a financial advisor and you’re online – that’s great! But are you online correctly? Did you spend a lot of money for a new, upgraded website but it hasn’t generated one lead for you yet? Instead, it just resides somewhere in cyberspace like a static brochure that’s not doing anything for your business? Does your financial advisor website take a long time to load on certain platforms? Do you have old outdated listings that promote incorrect information?
If you answered yes to one of these questions, you’re not alone. Many financial advisors jump into the world of online marketing without knowing exactly what they should do. They trust an online marketing firm because of its brand name or because someone they know recommended it. But the firm may not even be an expert in the financial services field. Unfortunately, this happens a lot. And even more unfortunate, mistakes with online marketing for financial advisors can be costly!
Here are 10 common mistakes financial advisors make when they first dive into online marketing – and the top 10 reasons why they should’ve hired a professional specialized marketing firm to handle their marketing efforts for them.
1. STATIC WEBSITE
When first going digital, a financial advisor is often blinded by the exciting look of their new website and may not notice that there isn’t a single offer that encourages potential clients to take action. It’s nice to provide information to investors, but if an investor has no easy way to contact you for more questions, provide you with their contact information or schedule an appointment with you when your services are fresh on their minds, then your website is pointless. It is not doing anything for you and you will not generate any new clients.
When working with a marketing firm, you should always make sure there is at least one compelling Call To Action on every page. That way, if a lead wants more information or to take the next step in the buyer’s journey, they can. Calls to Action can be a free resource in return for a client’s contact information, a “Contact Us” button that allows them to further discuss their situation with you or a “Schedule Meeting” option that links to your calendar.
An attractive, attention-grabbing website is important, but an interactive website is critical.
2. TOO MUCH JARGON AND UNEXPLAINED ACRONYMS
Simply put, if your website uses a lot of industry jargon, you will lose your audience.
This is why it is so important to work with an online marketing firm that fully understands your industry, especially when it comes to financial services, which can be confusing and specific.
To ensure your website is “speaking” to the right audience, the first step in creating a website for your firm should be developing a persona – or two. Who is your potential client? What are their pain points and how can you help with them? Your website should not talk to financial advisors like you; it should talk to your clients.
If a visitor chooses to click on your website and sees a lot of acronyms and terms they don’t understand, it can be overwhelming, and chances are, they’ll quickly jump to another site that is more user-friendly and less intimidating.
3. TOO MUCH TEXT
A picture can really be worth a thousand words.
If the first thing a potential client sees when they visit your website is a long, daunting paragraph of what you do and who you work with, it can be off-putting. There’s nothing exciting about a large block of text. Not wanting to read a long description, leads will leave your site and search for another.
An investor has many options when it comes to working with a financial advisor. Your website should offer a clean, welcoming first impression.
Instead of explaining in painful detail the types of clients you serve, show active images of what your potential client looks like. If a visitor can relate to the people in a photo, they’ll feel comfortable to move forward on the site.
4. NOT MOBILE-FRIENDLY
Are you aware that a website looks different on different platforms? For example, a website may look fine on a desktop, but is cut off or loads incorrectly when opened on a Smartphone. The problem with this is, more and more investors are using these mobile devices to do their research. And many advisors don’t realize that one-size-does-NOT-fit-all when it comes to website design.
Statistics show that in the U.S., 94% of people with Smartphones search for local information on their phones, and 77% of these mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. You can lose a potential client just as quickly as they found you if your site doesn’t load correctly. Use this tool to see if your site is mobile-friendly.
5. NO SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
When many financial advisors reach out to Paladin for services, it’s because they’ve trusted a marketing firm that didn’t provide them with everything they need. Many times, that includes a social media presence.
We can’t stress this enough: Social media is no longer only being used by Millennials. More and more people are turning to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find reviews and more information about a financial advisor.
And the best part: Most of these social media platforms are free! Any free opportunity to promote your firm should be taken advantage of.
6. FOLLOWING CONTROVERSIAL PEOPLE
Since we’re on the topic of social media, remember that investors are using these platforms to learn more about you. If you follow controversial people or make political statements, this can be a turnoff for some clients.
Instead, make a list of helpful experts in your field and follow them. Take any political or controversial comments offline in private messages or email.
7. SHARING TOO MUCH
Sharing too much is another common mistake often made on social media.
Clients should never see you over-partying with old college buddies or sharing too much personal information. If you want to share photos of your vacation or high school reunion, it’s good practice to create a separate business page and save these posts for a personal page.
Again, your business social media presence is another way to generate leads, and your page should stay professional.
8. INCORRECT OR OUTDATED CITATIONS
At one point or another, you’ve probably searched for a local business online and seen outdated or inaccurate information. Whether it’s a wrong telephone number or an old address, this frustration leaves a negative first impression.
The good news? This can be fixed (and prevented).
Many of these mistakes happen because of a lack of follow-up – a listing is created, but no one makes a conscious effort to check on it and make sure the information included is still current. For example, is an employee who is referenced in your contact information still on staff? Has your firm changed phone numbers? What about an address? Sending potential customers to the wrong address can not only cause you to lose their business but others who hear of the mistake.
Additionally, search engines like Google use algorithms that determine which businesses appear in search results. And these formulas penalize listings with discrepancies or inconsistent information, as well as those that are incomplete, making the chance of appearing in someone’s search results smaller than other businesses with correct and complete listings.
When choosing to work with an online marketing firm, make sure they provide local SEO services and will monitor your online listings.
9. CONTINUING OUTBOUND MARKETING STRATEGIES
Cold calls, junk mailers – they don’t work anymore! In fact, they have the opposite effect. Outbound Marketing tactics make people mad. Potential clients will eliminate you immediately as a possibility if you use these “interruption” strategies. Outbound Marketing is a waste of money and receives a negative reaction.
Online marketing for financial advisors is based on an investor finding you, and not the other way around. Instead of bothering potential clients by phone and mail, creating an interactive website, scheduling automatic emails and generating original content on a regular basis establishes you as an expert in your field and encourages investors to contact you, even outside of working hours.
10. DOING TOO MUCH YOURSELF
Taking on your own marketing plan can be an expensive mistake. Think about it: You are a financial advisor because you are good at financial planning, investing and reporting. Hiring a specialized firm with knowledge in your industry to handle your marketing needs can free up more time for you to do what you do best!
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.