Don’t take this personally, but coming from a background as a professional wrestler and designing the silliest of logos – right down to a logo for a wrestler named “Dashing Rock Ripper” – the financial advisor design spectrum can come across as limited. However, it doesn’t have to be. Just because you deal daily with words that average people may struggle to understand (like Roth IRAs, DSTs, and Fiduciaries), it doesn’t mean your design shouldn’t delight your target audience.
In 2021 there were approximately 14,800 RIAs employed in the United States. That number has been increasing every year. Towering that number, there are currently over 203,791 financial advisors employed in the US.1 That’s a lot of advisors. Which means that’s a lot of websites too.
You may ask, “But do I really need a website?” As of 2022, there are over 4.9 billion active internet users worldwide. That’s a lot of possible eyeballs. Given this figure, your website is crucial to the success of your business. Not having a website is like not being in the Yellow Pages in the 80s or 90s, and not having a well designed website is sure to wash your website away in the sea of websites that are already out there. However, here is the double edge of that sword: A bad website can be just as bad, I would argue even more harmful, to your business as having no website at all.
I have had the pleasure of redesigning and building over a hundred financial advisor websites for more than 10 years. And while that may seem like a lot, it feels as if I’ve barely made a dent. When Lone Beacon started, we had a goal to be disruptors, and my focus was to bring cutting-edge design to the financial advisory industry.
While doing that, I’ve seen many websites like the one to the left, riddled with design faux pas such as using cookie cutter drag-and-drop layouts. While these layouts are not 100% a bad thing, 99% of the time they are. These websites are designed by someone with no knowledge of design, development, the time to dedicate to it, nor an understanding of how poor design can severely hurt sales and new-client conversions.
What ends up happening is they settle on a website with little to no balance. Their brand elements are not aligned, Oftentimes the colors don’t match, there is no messaging, images have poor resolution, and there are random areas of empty space (lots and lots of empty space). However, this is a preventable issue and does a lot of harm to your business, but many think a site like this is sufficient and settle for it.
It’s time for an update, don’t you think? So let’s take a look at five must-have elements that are crucial to the success of your website as a financial advisor and how you can take your website from a lead capture zero to a lead capture hero!
Having the opportunity to build enough websites, I’ve both succeeded and failed. Many times. And one thing that I’ve learned is that lack of communication can lead to missed opportunities. Or, in this case, missed business.
I think we’ve all experienced this in our professional lives at some point. We’ve found a local business via a Google search or Instagram ad. We get to their website, and then we can’t find any contact information about that business. No address. No phone number. No nothing. What this immediately tells the viewer is that they cannot trust you or your business. Your lack of contact information immediately turns into a lack of transparency from the visitor’s perception. “Why would they not want me to be able to reach them?” the visitor starts to wonder. That’s why a good website must reiterate contact information numerous times on your website. Not only do you want to give the feeling that it’s easy to reach you and your firm, but, more importantly, you are encouraging the visitor to do so! For example, an easy way to do this is to incorporate a floating sticky contact bar so that no matter where on the site your visitor is, they are just one click away from reaching you. Utilizing this feature also provides the ability to offer numerous contact touchpoints whether by phone, Facebook, or email. Remember, the more positive information the visitor can find about you online, the more they trust you.
At the very least, please make sure that your contact information is always in your website’s header and footer.
A financial advisor website without a strong CTA is like fishing without bait. One thing I noticed when I started with Lone Beacon was that many websites’ CTAs were buried and unappealing. It would just be a field for “First Name,” “Last Name,” “Email,” and “Submit.” Furthermore, those fields wouldn’t be even or balanced. Now there are a few things wrong with this. The first being the CTA or lack thereof. “Submit” or “Click Here!” is not very attractive at all. Understand it’s 2022. My son was navigating my iPhone in his sleep by the time he was three. We don’t need to label buttons as if they are some sort of new technology. The world knows what a button is and how to use it. Instead, dress it up. Let them know what the act of clicking there does. What’s in it for them?
It’s a best practice for us to make your CTA attractive and aesthetically appealing to the eyes.
Ask yourself, which one of these are you more inclined to interact with?
Just because all copy is inherently a paragraph doesn’t mean your content should be laid out on your website like a word document. The internet is tricky; not only are we trying to impart knowledge to the visitor, but we are also trying to engage them and keep them engaged. Why not display your services or your process in a uniquely branded, interactive way? A few examples of that would be using rollover elements, pop-up elements, or animations. But remember, balance is KEY! And when it comes to interactive elements, less is more. Don’t overdo it! Or better yet, have design professionals, knowledgable in the financial advisory space like Lone Beacon to do it!
Do you ever wonder why one of the most popular sections of a magazine or gossip website is the They Are Just Like Us section? We have this strange fascination with seeing celebrities do normal everyday things like taking out the garbage or cleaning up after their dog. We like to relate and think, “Ha! I do that too!” It makes the celebrity seem real and accessible and that a relationship is attainable. Well, the same can be said for personal touches added to your website. Small, easy elements can make huge differences. It sets your company apart from every other advisory. You and your competitors both offer financial services. Instead of concentrating on what you can do, show them who you are. Set yourself apart. It’s also worth noting that in your efforts to showcase who your company is, spending the extra time and money on professional headshots pays off in spades.
Here are three of my favorite personal touch elements:
Getting To Know Videos & Personal Hobby Photos
“Getting Personal” Information Mixed With The Brand Messaging
When I talk about this with clients, they immediately think of social media. But community is much more than that. I like to think of this element as the super child of “The Personal Touch” element and your “Social Media Brand.” It’s important that people know you and know that you give back. People love to see that you enjoy enriching your neighborhood, communities, and family. A couple of ways we accomplish this is by creating a Charities page that highlights all the charitable actions you and your firm does. We may also produce a Referral Program which allows your best assets, your clients, to share you with loved ones. You can also utilize Client Testimonials. No one is a better salesperson than your best clients. As I mentioned in a previous article (QR Codes- The Comeback Kids!), people love to be involved in a community with like-minded individuals and interests. That’s why we like to find ways to not only show people who you are, but what you do, what you support, and the positive impact you are making on the world around you.
These are 4 simple yet effective elements that you, as a financial advisor, can concentrate on when developing your website. And these elements will have a profound impact on your brand when it comes to setting you apart from your competitor.