As an advisor, your website is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to growing your business. Word-of-mouth and personal referrals are certainly a great start for bringing in new clients, but no matter what, anyone interested in your business will likely visit your website as part of the vetting process. Despite its importance, many advisors are not maximizing the potential of their website. The most common area for improvement is how advisors articulate their unique value proposition. Effectively communicating your value on your website boils down to how well you can demonstrate why visitors should be interested in your business.
Reevaluate What Makes Your Firm Unique
As a starting point, you should make sure that you’re highlighting only the most unique benefits your firm can offer. Since the wealth management industry is rapidly evolving (especially in terms of regulation and advisor demographics), what used to be exceptional value-adds years ago are now becoming the industry standard. We see three main examples of this in our reviews of advisor websites: Advisors often highlight the fact that their services are fee-based, that they are fiduciaries when it comes to retirement advice and that they possess credentials. However, all three of these features are now becoming more common within our industry. Displaying such elements prominently would tell your visitor that you are meeting the current industry standard rather than exceeding it. Instead, you should draw attention to what you do better than anyone else, such as the ways in which you work with cutting-edge technology, or how you act as a thought leader in the industry.
Specify Your Client Base
Another key way to stand out is to define your ideal client, and then focus your marketing language on speaking to that demographic. Depending on your business, your ideal client can be as specific as individuals within a single profession living in one geographic area. For example, you might note that you work with neurologists in San Diego who are nearing retirement. Where we see advisor websites miss this mark is when they describe their client base in terms that are too general; for instance, they may say they serve people who are “struggling to save for retirement.” At some stage or another, everyone wants to save for retirement, so this won’t help a visitor differentiate your practice from another advisor’s. Rather, the more specific you can be, the better they will understand whether your expertise is best suited to help them.
Use Terms That Clients Prefer
It’s also important to take a step back and assess the language you use when describing your services. One major part of this is making your website jargon-free—consider how your clients might describe the benefits of your services, and use that language to guide how you write about your offering. Rather than simply saying, “We specialize in estate and exit planning,” add language that says, “We can help prepare for challenging life events and take responsibility for difficult choices.” Or in addition to saying, “We provide tax planning services,” also say, “We can give you back time and help simplify your life.” Moreover, research suggests that certain words or phrases may even be a turnoff to clients and prospects. For example, consumers prefer not to speak about their wealth, but would rather speak about their achievements. Therefore, instead of using the phrase “high-net-worth clients,” consider using “premier clients” in order to better meet their preferences.
A polished website that makes your service offering easy to understand is like a firm handshake—it will immediately give a positive impression of your business. In today’s tech-forward world, maintaining your website is a must for making sure clients know you are prepared and capable of meeting their complete financial needs.
Matt Matrisian is Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives at AssetMark, Inc. AssetMark, Inc. is a SEC registered investment adviser.