Categories
Financial Advisor

Why Your Financial Firm Needs a Custom Website 

The idea of commissioning a custom website for your financial planning firm may sound expensive and intimidating, especially if this is your first time building a website from scratch. 

If you try out one of the many online website building platforms, you’ll find that it still takes a lot of work and expertise to make an amazing website. It requires a good eye for design, technical know how, in-depth SEO knowledge, and copywriting skills—among many other things.

Are you willing to take on the job yourself? Can you deal with all the issues that are likely to come up?  

Here are a few reasons why you should seriously consider hiring a professional web designer for your financial advisory firm’s website. 

Focus on Your Business

Figuring out all the ins and outs of building a great website will take up a lot of your time and resources. You may be able to find someone who can help you for a really low price, but there’s no assurance that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

An experienced web designer will listen to your ideas and actively make suggestions about what will work and what won’t. All it takes is a bit of communication and you can let your designer take care of everything for you. 

When you have a reliable web designer, you’re free to focus on essential business matters. You won’t be stressed out dealing with lots of tiny issues, and you’ll have a great looking website in a shorter amount of time.

Establish Brand Identity

Your website is crucial to building a strong brand identity. It’s going to be your firm’s online presence, so it has to reflect your company’s vision and values. It has to look professional and put your business in a positive light. 

A professional web designer can help you build your brand identity if you don’t already have one, or seamlessly incorporate your current branding into the website. This will make your website stand out and help distinguish your firm from all the other financial advisors in your market. 

Effortless Usability

When potential leads and clients check out your website, they want to find out more about you and your firm. Even if you have all the right content on the site, it’s not going to be very helpful if it’s not easily accessible. You also need to make your website easy to use on both desktops and mobile devices.

Web designers can not only come up with a great looking design, they’re also experts when it comes to creating intuitive user interfaces and layouts. This lets your website visitors quickly reach the information they’re looking for, which helps reinforce a positive association with your company. 

In a lot of cases, your website will be the first thing your clients will come across, so it has to make a good impression on anyone who visits. 

Extra Features 

With a custom website, you have the freedom to include fancy designs and features like animations, chat boxes, landing pages, apps, and calculators to your website. Your web designer can easily add or remove elements to your website whenever you see fit. And every time you make a change, you’re 100% sure that it’s going to work flawlessly. 

Still Not Convinced?

Your website is going to be the face of your organization online, so it shouldn’t be taken too lightly. It should look presentable and make people feel comfortable doing business with you. It can give or take away credibility and plays an important role in gaining people’s respect. It’s also an extremely helpful marketing tool that can turn mildly interested leads into long-term clients. If you have a good SEO and content strategy, you can widen your reach to different markets. 

A custom-designed website requires a minimal one-time investment but plays a huge role in establishing your brand and increasing your client base.

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Financial Advisor Website Design

How Web Design Affects SEO Performance

SEO and web design may, at first, seem like completely unrelated disciplines. But in the real world, web design can significantly impact your site’s SEO rankings – both directly and indirectly.

If your web design focuses purely on looks and aesthetics, you’re going to end up ignoring other aspects that matter more to your users and search engines. 

It’s important to have a balanced approach that addresses good design while effectively delivering your content.

Read on to find out which SEO concerns you should pay attention to when developing your website’s overall look and design.

User Interface (UI) and Bounce Rates

It’s best to think of a web page’s design as a user interface first and foremost. Even if your site has extremely valuable information to offer, it’s not going to be as useful if people can’t easily access the content they’re looking for.

Search engines also keep track of how much time a user spends on your site after they click on a search result. The algorithm sees the time spent on a site as an indicator of the site’s usefulness. 

Alternatively, if someone only looks at a single page for a few seconds and quickly backs out of it, then your site’s credibility, and your SEO rankings, will go down. This metric is called bounce rate. You want to keep your bounce rate as low as possible if you want to increase your entire website’s credibility and improve your SEO performance.

Your page needs to be easy to read and very simple to use. You can’t just fill it with random buttons, links, ads, graphics, and extra features that people don’t really use. If you do want to add features, it has to be placed strategically so it doesn’t get in the user’s way.

Web design plays a huge role in creating a positive user experience. If your visitors and customers feel comfortable while using your site, you’ll get a lot more traffic and conversions.

Page Load Speed

Another reason to not just add a bunch of unnecessary graphic elements and features to your website is page load times. 

If your pages take more than a couple of seconds to load completely, then people will lose interest. It will give them more reason to click the back button and move on to the next search result. 

You have to make sure your images are properly compressed and optimized. Some of your site visitors may be using their mobile devices and have spotty connections. If your site takes ages to load, they might assume that it’s just broken and won’t bother waiting. 

You also have to make sure everything on the back end is running properly. Get rid of unnecessary code or buggy scripts that are slowing down your page. Every second you cut from your page load times can make a huge difference in your bounce rates and SEO efforts.

Responsive and Mobile-Friendly Design

When you address the needs of your mobile users, you’re also addressing how search engines index your site.

In fact, Google has switched over to mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of your website will be the first thing it tries to crawl, and will be the basis for your SEO rankings.

Aside from optimizing your website to work well on slow mobile connections, everything also has to show up properly once it’s done loading. This means making sure your text is easy to read, buttons are easy to click, and that the page’s layout makes sense on smaller screens and different resolutions.

Responsive design is an approach that ensures that web pages adapt well to all sorts of different screen sizes. This allows you to use the same page elements for both desktop and mobile views – the layout is just resized.

However, websites that have a lot of features might require a separate mobile site or mobile app. There are situations where responsive design is a little too limiting, and it’s just better to create an entirely different layout for mobile users.

The key thing is to ensure that mobile users can properly view your website. A website that’s not optimized for mobile will not only suffer from higher bounce rates, but will also be a poor reflection on your brand.

Key Takeaways

The ultimate goal of your web design team is to provide a great user experience to everyone who visits. Design choices like colors, fonts, and other visual elements should all work together to make your site’s content easily understandable and more accessible. If you make sure that everything is optimized properly and works correctly, you’ll have lower bounce rates and people will spend more time on your site. All of this also helps create a more positive impression of your brand and gives it more credibility in people’s minds.

Categories
Financial Advisor Marketing

How Financial Advisors Can Convert More Website Visitors Into Clients

be In today’s fast-paced digital world, every financial advisor needs a website in order to establish an online presence. But simply putting up a website won’t automatically mean your inbox will soon be filled up with inquiries. 

Many of the principles you use in real life to foster new relationships and build trust among prospective clients will still apply to your Internet prospects and leads. Translating and adapting these methods over to the digital world may be difficult, but it can be very effective if you have a solid digital marketing strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at a few design and marketing ideas that can help increase your website conversions.

Have a Clear Mission Statement

If someone hasn’t ever heard of your firm before, the best way to introduce your brand is to have a clear mission statement on your homepage. 

Let people know why you’re here and what you can do for them. This establishes a solid foundation for the potential relationship, and helps ease in visitors to the different sides of your business. It’s also important to stay on-brand with all of your messaging to help develop your brand image.

An Impressive and Approachable Website

Your website says a lot about who you are and how you do business. It should be on-par with your competitors, yet distinct enough to set you apart.

If you’re targeting a specific niche, make sure the images and design elements you use will appeal to their sensibilities. 

But no matter what style or theme you choose, it should also make your company look approachable. It’s hard to get clicks even from your target audience if your design choices make your company look too exclusive.

Be Transparent About Who You Are 

Despite the tremendous reach digital marketing offers, it’s hard for someone to just take a leap of faith and hand over their financial management to someone they haven’t met before. For this reason, it’s important to have professional headshots and a thorough rundown of your experience and credentials on your website.

Make sure your ‘Our Team’ and/or ‘About Us’ pages are updated with great copywriting. Don’t be afraid to boast about your firm’s accomplishments and experience. More data about how big your Assets Under Management currently is, and your cumulative years of experience will show people that you can and should be trusted.

Provide Valuable Content

Blog posts and informational articles are a great way to show off your expertise and give helpful advice to your target audience. It also helps boost traffic and search engine rankings since you can always include competitive keywords and trending topics in your posts.

A lot of websites and businesses see blogs simply as an opportunity to improve their SEO. They fill their websites with a bunch of empty fluff that doesn’t really offer any value to the reader. 

However, as a financial advisor, your content is a great way to earn people’s trust. You can use the same approach and mindset you typically have whenever you meet with a prospective client. Talk about topics that are important to your target audience and are relevant to your local area.

Have a Unique Value Proposition

To turn more visitors into leads, you need to pique their interest. Your website and your marketing have to be clear about what sets your brand apart from your competitors. If you use generic language and uninspired copy, there’s really no reason for them to initiate contact and inquire about what else you can offer. 

You need to have a hook that can draw them in. Make it more personal so you can appeal to their emotions. But since you’re also dealing with people’s finances, it’s helpful to include numbers and percentages to reinforce the idea of growth.

Add Social Media Buttons

A lot of your website visitors won’t be immediately inclined to contact you after just a couple of minutes of browsing your website. Inviting them to follow you on social media helps further the relationship and lets them see different sides of your brand.

Social media is more dynamic when it comes to content and provides interactivity that is just not possible with websites. Website visitors who become social media followers will be able to regularly see your brand and your updates on their social media feeds even when they’re not actively thinking about financial advisors and financial planning.

Of course, you need to have a good social media strategy that can nurture relationships and build trust among your audience in order to convert them into clients.

Add a Chatbot

Adding a chatbot makes your website more interactive and accessible. People have become used to dealing with different kinds of AI (such as voice assistants) on a daily basis. Website chatbots can provide additional interactivity that they’ve grown accustomed to. 

Chatbots are always online 24 hours a day and allows you to delve deeper into your potential clients’ concerns. Even if they don’t end up signing with you, it’s a great way to gather data about your audience.

Automate Appointment Scheduling

Many of your website visitors won’t be interested in spending more than a couple of minutes on your site. They would rather just talk to an actual person and discuss their financial concerns in more detail. These individuals don’t want to go back and forth over emails or chat. They’ll prefer to talk it over in just 10 or 15 minutes to see if you’re a good fit.

To make this process easier, you can add a call-to-action button on your homepage that will lead them to an appointment scheduling app that’s automatically updated. When you let them freely choose a schedule, they’ll also feel empowered and be more comfortable with the fact that they’re in control of the situation.

Optimize Your Local SEO

Having a solid local SEO strategy increases traffic from people who live and work in and around your area. People are more likely to do business with someone who is close by and can be easily reached. It’s easier to gain someone’s confidence if they know exactly where your offices are, and that they can easily meet you in person whenever they need to.

Categories
Financial Advisor Marketing

Effective Marketing Strategies for High Net Worth Individuals 

Marketing to high net worth individuals requires a different approach compared to regular marketing and advertising efforts targeted at the general population. 

The most common definition of a high net worth individual is someone who has at least $1 million in liquid assets. Many would even put up a much higher number to be considered high net worth. One thing’s certain though – even if you live in a very affluent area, the number of high and ultra-high net worth individuals is still a very small percentage of the overall market. 

What Makes High Net Worth Individuals Different?

Wealthy individuals can come from many different backgrounds. Typical high net worth individuals are high-level corporate executives, business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and successful professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants. Quite a few are entertainers, athletes, or some other type of celebrity. There are also many who have inherited generational wealth from their families. 

Regardless of where their money and assets come from, high net worth individuals will have different goals compared to someone who works a normal job – even one who makes six figures annually.

They’re not losing sleep over mortgage payments or college tuitions, nor are they worried about saving up enough for a comfortable retirement. They’re more interested in seeing their portfolio grow and having more time to enjoy their wealth. 

They can easily afford all of their needs and wants, so it’s useless to try to attract them with free consultations, special promotions and amazing deals. They’re also not easily impressed with abstract ideas of achieving their dreams – they’re already living it.

What they are looking for is someone who can make their lives easier. 

Where to Start

To come up with an effective direction for your marketing strategy, you’ll need to identify your target audience first. You can’t simply come up with a campaign to target every rich person in the world. 

As mentioned earlier, these individuals can come from different backgrounds and each one will have different tastes. Just like regular people, every one of them will have different expectations for growth and varying appetites for risk.

Get to know your ideal client first by finding out what makes them tick.

  • What do they read?
  • Who do they listen to?
  • Where do they shop?
  • Where do they eat?
  • What do they do in their spare time?

In marketing terms, this process is called creating a buyer persona.

Immerse yourself in their world and you’ll be able to speak their language better. This allows you to make stronger connections with your marketing campaigns. It’s also a good idea to target a specific niche or a specific buyer persona in the beginning, so you can test your campaigns much easier.

Make New Connections

In order to make yourself heard, you’ll have to reach out to individuals and organizations who your target clients already know and trust. 

High net worth individuals won’t listen to just anyone off the street. They get dozens of proposals and solicitations a week from people trying to get their business. If you want them to single you out or at least give you any sort of consideration, your message should come from someone they already listen to. People who regularly work with the wealthy get all of their business through their reputation and referrals.

To build up your reputation, your brand needs to be regularly seen in publications and events that rich people patronize. Look for special events you can sponsor or participate in so you can build up brand awareness and create healthy associations with your company. 

Make sure your ads and press releases get published in industry publications, websites, and social media pages that your target clients read. Write articles and posts that cater to these websites’ target audiences and ask them to link to your page or at least make references to your brand.

Don’t forget about the power of social media. Simply connecting and engaging with social media pages that your target markets follow is free and gives you more exposure. Even just observing what topics and posts get the most engagement and interaction allows you to get a better idea of what people actually like to see and hear. 

It goes without saying that a top financial advisor won’t be spamming posts just to get attention. So make sure that whatever you share is properly curated and thought provoking so you can make a lasting impression.

Highly Personalized Services 

High net worth individuals are used to having exclusive access and perks. These individuals expect bespoke products and extra services that are not available to the mainstream market.  It’s important that your marketing reflects the specialized services that you are able to offer.

Wealthy individuals hire personal assistants and professionals like lawyers and accountants to handle all the tedious legwork for them. More often than not, they choose people who will go the extra mile and do their bidding without any questions asked. 

High net worth clients also have no qualms about spending more than the average person as long as they can get exactly what they want. As such, your marketing should not only present you as someone who is reliable and available at all times, but also as someone who will listen and understand exactly what they need – sometimes, even before they realize they need something.

Along with specialty VIP service, wealthy clients expect absolute discretion when it comes to dealing with their finances. They value their privacy above everything else, and will choose a service that can guarantee it. 

Adding extra features to your website like AltaStreet’s Client VAULT, for example, allows you to securely share sensitive documents with your clients. Access is protected by unique usernames and passwords so clients can easily communicate and collaborate with their financial advisors whenever and wherever they are. 

Show Off Your Expertise

Wealthy clients have the freedom to choose from hundreds of financial advisors, so give them a good reason to pick you over the others. Your branding should clearly communicate what sets you apart. You only have a short amount of time to get their attention, so be clear about your firm’s expertise from the very beginning. 

State how many years of combined experience your office has. Let people know you can handle large accounts by promoting the total value of your AUM (Assets Under Management). Set proper expectations and show how much consistent growth you’re able to deliver year-over-year. Make sure your brand messaging reflects that you’re the best of the best, and what you offer is not available anywhere else.

Most important of all, make sure you can deliver on any promises you make. VIP clients are very discerning and sophisticated. They can easily tell if someone is selling them something that’s too good to be true. 

One thing high net worth individuals are always wary of is people who are just trying to take advantage of them. If anything, most wealthy clients want assurances that you can deliver what you promise. You’ll only get their attention if your marketing reflects the sophistication and expertise they expect from a top-tier team.

To further bolster your firm’s image and credibility, you can write articles, blog and social media posts, and email newsletters to show that you know what you are talking about. Publish these in-depth write-ups on your own website and social media pages, as well as other well-known publications, or send them out to your mailing list. This lets people see how well you know the business and how much work you put into your financial analysis and investment strategies. It also helps keep your brand on top of people’s minds and become a more respected authority in specific areas.

The Allure of Exclusivity and Rarity

Luxury brands can justify charging higher than normal prices not just because their products and services are the best that money can buy. A large part of their success and popularity comes from the exclusivity of their brand, since only a select few can afford them. When you add the aspect of rarity, prices and values skyrocket even more.

Many top financial advisors and wealth management firms apply these same principles by requiring new clients to put up a large initial investment if they want to open an account. It’s not to discriminate against people with less money. It’s so they can properly allocate their available resources to deliver the best service and returns possible. 

Unless you’re a large corporation, you probably don’t have hundreds or even dozens of people working for you. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Managing a smaller team composed of highly talented people allows you to provide a more personalized approach that high net worth clients value more dearly.

You don’t need to explicitly state that you only take on a limited number of clients. But your branding and marketing has to have the same look and feel that high end brands use to attract high end clients. Your messaging also has to incorporate the idea that your unique set of services are only available to the most discerning clientele in order to add a sense of exclusivity to your product offerings. 

Don’t Try to Do Everything Yourself

In order to give your brand the image needed to attract high value clients, it has to be designed and developed by experts. Unless you’re also a marketing guru in addition to being a financial management expert, you should hire marketing professionals who can guarantee results. Your time is better spent talking to clients, building your network, analyzing the market, and coming up with new investment strategies and products. 

Recent studies have shown that high net worth individuals have a high level of digital literacy . 98% use the Internet daily, while 85% have three or more digital devices. They’ve got tons of exposure to all sorts of digital marketing on different platforms. They’ll be able to easily tell whether something’s been quickly thrown together, or properly planned and laid out by experts. So everything about your brand has to look high quality if you want to stand out and make a good impression.

Marketing professionals also have access to tools that can analyze how well your campaigns are performing. This information is extremely valuable and necessary if you’re determined to increase conversion rates. 

Key Takeaways

Marketing to high net worth individuals requires a lot of finesse and skill if you want to do it right. You have to work on getting the emotional drivers right, as well as highlight the soundness and competitive edge of your financial strategies. 

In addition, the barriers to entry are difficult to break through. You’ll need to build and develop relationships with people who can help put your brand on your target clientele’s radar. 

It’s better to start by developing an overall marketing strategy with the help of an expert, then focus on perfecting one or two things at a time. You can then slowly improve the other aspects of your marketing campaigns until you’ve refined everything down to a science. 

Categories
Financial Advisor

How to Start a New Financial Advisor Practice

Launching and working in your own financial advisor practice or firm may sound like an ideal career path, but it’s not as easy as it sounds and it definitely cannot be done overnight. It requires a lot more planning and hard work than most businesses, and requires a lot of dedication to make your practice succeed. 

It’s even harder if you have no experience in the financial services and financial planning industry. It’s an uphill battle even for experienced financial advisors starting out on their own, because the process of building up a sustainable client base while trying to keep up with your personal and business expenses can be quite taxing. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the basic things you’ll need to start up your own financial advisor firm.

Startup Capital and Ongoing Expenses

The good thing about launching your own financial advisor practice is that it’s not as capital intensive as other businesses. You don’t really need to purchase equipment or inventory to get started. You probably already have a decent computer and a phone, so that takes care of many of your communication and marketing needs. 

Realistically, you probably need around $5,000 to $10,000 to get your financial advisor practice off the ground. This should take care of your compliance and business filings, and also allow you to set up your website and subscriptions for software and tools.

Here’s a short list of the things you’ll need:

      • Registration Costs
      • Website 
      • Financial planning software
      • Monthly subscriptions
      • Insurance
      • Office space
      • Staff

 

Renting an office space and hiring staff will significantly add to your overhead expenses, which means you’ll probably need more than $10,000 to cover your rent and payroll for the year. But these expenses aren’t absolutely necessary unless you want to start out with a small team of administrative assistants and junior advisors. 

Technology has made managing a financial planning business much easier and you don’t really need to rely on administrative staff anymore especially if you’re just planning on a small or medium-sized operation.

Many solo financial advisors have been very successful doing business purely online from home or from co-working spaces and only occasionally meet prospects and clients at their homes, businesses or in restaurants over lunch for presentations and discussions.

All the other costs we’ve listed are absolutely necessary if you want to be successful. Luckily, in most cases, both the initial and recurring costs are not really that high considering the returns you can realize as your business grows. 

What you do need to consider is how you’re going to cover your personal monthly expenses as you’re building up a client base that can sustain both you and your business. The first few months or even years are going to be tough if you don’t have a steady stream of clients signing up, so you need to be prepared financially for those tough times. 

Licensing and Compliance 

When most people think of a financial advisor, they’re most likely thinking about an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor). RIAs have a fiduciary duty to do what’s best for their clients. 

Someone who is purely a registered representative for a broker-dealer is not bound by the same fiduciary oath as an RIA, but is licensed to sell securities and a wide array of investment products. However, many RIAs are also independent broker-dealers so they can meet the demands of their clients.

To become a RIA and be able to legitimately provide financial advice and get compensated for it, you need to be registered with your state. If you plan on doing business in other states, you need to be registered there too. 

You can also register with the SEC, but that will require your firm to have at least $25 to $100 million in AUM (Assets Under Management) or you have to be doing business in more than 15 states. 

To be able to register your business as an RIA, you, as the principal and IAR (Investment Adviser Representative), should have passed the Series 65 exam. If you’re already a registered representative for a broker-dealer, you should already have taken the Series 66 and Series 7 exam which also qualifies you for the Series 65 exam. 

In addition, most states will also waive the Series 65 requirement and allow you to start an RIA if you have any of the following professional qualifications:

      • CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
      • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
      • ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)

 

While the Series 65 is the minimum requirement to start your own RIA, most clients will want to see that you have a CFP title as well since you’ll be competing with financial advisors who have CFPs which is often seen as the gold standard for professional qualifications in the financial planning industry.

There are many companies like RIA in a Box and XY Planning Network that can help you with your compliance requirements if you’re having any trouble navigating the registration process yourself.

Brand Development and Marketing

Before registering anything, you first need to think about your company name and how you’re going to develop your brand. It may seem like a small detail, but it’s going to be the foundation of your business and your marketing once you start officially registering things. 

You also need to come up with a good logo so that people can easily identify your brand. It’s best to find an experienced professional who can help you with the design aspect so that you can present your company in the best light possible.

Look for a web design agency that has lots of experience with financial advisor websites. They can make sure that your website looks professional and appealing to anyone looking for financial services. They’ll also be able to take care of your copywriting and SEO needs so that people can easily find your site. Most people will want to research more about your firm before they sign up with you, so you need to make sure your website is able to create a great first impression.

In most cases, it’s better if you focus on a specific niche so that you can properly align your branding and marketing with your target audience. Being a specialist doesn’t deter you from taking on clients outside of your niche, but it does help you appeal to a specific audience. 

It’s also easier to streamline your financial planning strategies around the needs of your niche audience. Eventually, you’ll become a recognized expert in the space and you’ll have pretty much dealt with every scenario that comes your way.

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve established your financial advisor practice, you need to focus on building your client base if you want your business to survive and thrive. This will require a lot of active marketing, cold calling, follow-ups, and networking. At the same time, you need to provide great service and deliver on your promises to your existing clients so that you can build up your brand’s reputation. You need to make your company stand out from your competitors and constantly work on increasing awareness for your brand. All of it is extremely hard work, but the end result is very rewarding.

Categories
Financial Advisor

10 Things Financial Advisors Can Do to Keep Up With Competition

In order for your financial advisor practice to succeed, you need to have a great game plan. Financial advisors who are just starting out not only have to face stiff competition from well-established firms, but also new technology developments such as robo-advisors which are much cheaper and easier to set up. 

Here are 10 things you can start doing today to be able to keep up with the times and make your financial advisor firm more successful.

1. Figure Out What The Market Wants

You can’t build demand for your services if you don’t understand what people in your target market are looking for. Before you can offer a solution, you have to identify what people’s current pain points are. 

Every time you talk to a new prospect, try to identify common issues that your ideal clients have difficulty dealing with. Pay close attention to what people are saying and gather as much information as you can so you can develop a streamlined financial strategy that will solve most of your target market’s problems..

2. Find a Niche and Specialize

Most financial advisors who are just starting out try to cast as wide a net as possible in hopes of getting more people to sign up with them. They’ll often use a generic pitch that tries to appeal to everyone, but isn’t really great at evoking the right emotions and results in low conversion rates.

It’s quite understandable if you have to resort to these sales and marketing tactics if you’re just starting out. But after a few weeks or months of talking to different prospects, you should already be able to identify a specific niche that you can specialize in. 

Once you’ve picked your niche, you have to be ready to pivot your branding and financial planning strategy to address that specific market’s every concern. For example, millennials and high-net-worth individuals have very different perspectives when it comes to their financial planning and wealth management. 

When you focus on just one niche, you’ll become an expert at handling their financial strategy. You’ll reach a point where you’ve pretty much encountered every possible scenario, and will have a tailored financial plan ready to go just because you’ve dealt with it dozens of times before. 

People in the community and your professional network will start seeing you as an authority figure in your niche and you’ll eventually be able to generate more business through referrals and word of mouth.

3. Develop a Unique Value Proposition

Just because you’ve already decided to focus on a niche, it doesn’t mean that people in your target market will pay attention. You have to carefully develop your branding so that it clearly reflects your company’s values and mission. 

If you find the right words, your marketing campaigns can cut through all the noise that people are regularly exposed to and make your audience pay attention to what you’re offering. 

Your unique value proposition has to be more than skin deep. Even if you can get them through the door through your marketing, your prospects need to be able to see that you’re truly dedicated to delivering on your promises and that your firm is structured to do so.

4. Get Your Name Out There

No matter how great your branding or financial planning strategy is, nobody will come knocking at your door if they don’t know you exist. During the first few years of your firm, you have to work extra hard to build up awareness for your brand both online and on the ground. 

You need an outstanding website that’s on par, if not better, than your competitors’. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing and is the online face of your business, so you have to make sure it looks professional and reflects your brand accurately. 

Make sure you’ve got updated profiles on all the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Sign up for different online directories like Google My Business and Yelp, as well as other sites that are relevant to your area and/or industry. All of these platforms will make your firm easily searchable and increase your brand’s visibility.

Of course, your marketing shouldn’t be isolated to the digital realm. You also need to be constantly networking with potential clients, professional groups, and local organizations so that you can generate more word of mouth for your firm.

5. Communicate Effectively

In addition to coming up with a great marketing plan, you also need to constantly be engaging with your leads and prospects. In today’s digital landscape, people expect quick response times and outstanding customer support with every business they deal with. 

If you ignore or take your time in responding to inquiries, people won’t bother waiting around and simply move on to the next available advisor. You have to treat every possible prospect as if they’re your most valued client if you want to increase your chances of getting their business. How you respond to leads and prospects reflects how you communicate with your clients. 

This is especially important when you’re dealing with public platforms like social media where the general public can easily see your people skills. How you manage your reputation online and offline is going to be a crucial part of your firm’s success. 

6. Leverage as Much Technology You Can

Many startup businesses will be tempted to pinch pennies and forego subscriptions to essential tools that can make their life easier. They assume that they can do a lot of it on their own, until they become overwhelmed with all their responsibilities. 

You don’t have to pick the most expensive plans for every piece of tech you use. You can start with basic plans or at least sign up for free trial periods so you can start learning how to use these tools to your advantage. 

You have to remember that your competitors are also using lots of different tech to automate their workflows and better serve their clientele. Don’t be afraid to check out different CRM platforms, social media tools, and financial planning software so you can find the tools that work best for you.

7. Be Flexible With Pricing Models

Unless you’ve already found a pricing model that works best for you and can sustain your business, you have to be ready to offer different options for your potential clients. Your competitors are likely going to offer just one or two options, and this may not work for a lot of people. 

In order to appeal to more potential clients and differentiate yourself from other financial advisors, you can offer several options such as:

  • Percent of AUM
  • Fee-based
  • Hourly
  • Monthly retainer

 

Remember that you also have to compete with robo-advisors which have very minimal investment requirements and cost significantly less than hiring an actual financial advisor. By lowering your firm’s barrier-to-entry, your prospects won’t feel as intimidated as they would when they sign up with a more established practice. Eventually, as your client base grows and your business becomes self-sustaining, you can choose the pricing models that work best for you.

8. Choose Experienced Consultants and Agencies

When you’re running a business, you can’t spread yourself too thin because it’s going to affect the quality of your work. If you don’t have any expertise in a particular field, it’s best to outsource it to a more experienced professional. Now is not the time for trial and error, and you don’t want to give people the impression that you barely know what you’re doing. 

It’s best if you can find people who have years of experience working with financial advisors so that they’ll know exactly what kind of service or product the market wants. 

For example, when you’re setting up a website or developing a digital marketing strategy, you’ll want to partner with agencies that know the financial services industry inside and out. This will guarantee at least some level of success with whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve.

9. Research Your Competition

While you want to set yourself apart from your competition, it’s always a good idea to check in on them from time to time to find out what they’re up to. There’s always going to be an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and also incorporate what they’re doing right into your own business. Using competitor research you can avoid making the same mistakes which can be extremely costly for both startups and middle-stage firms.  

10. Provide Personalized Service

Well-established firms and large financial institutions will have large teams of salespeople and junior advisors working for them and are often more concerned with their bottom line and their shareholders. As a smaller practice, you can differentiate yourself by offering personalized services that other firms and robo-advisors simply cannot provide. You can tailor your services to the needs of each client which is quite rare nowadays. 

In fact, most high net worth individuals prefer a more personal approach especially when it comes to their finances. They want bespoke services that aren’t available to everyone else and they want to work with people who will listen and do exactly what they want.

Final Thoughts

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with your competitors, you have to be open to try new things. What worked in the past won’t necessarily be effective today. Don’t be afraid to take risks and dive into previously uncharted territory. There might be huge rewards waiting at the end of the road.

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Financial Advisor Website Design

7 Creative Website Design Ideas for Financial Advisors

Your website is one of the most important marketing tools you have at your disposal. It’s the foundation of your online presence and is the first thing your prospects will check out whether you caught their attention online or offline. 

A financial advisor website has to accomplish 3 main things:

      • Introduce your brand
      • Create a great first impression
      • Collect information from leads

 

It’s hard enough to convince people to click on one of your links when there are so many other financial advisors trying to do the same thing as you. So you have to maximize what little time people spend on your site and convert as many casual visitors into leads you can nurture.

Let’s take a look at 5 successful financial advisor websites and find out what they’re doing right.

Jackson Wealth Management

financial web design

Jackson Wealth Management caters to high net worth individuals and uses a straightforward theme for its home page. They understand that their target market isn’t impressed by gaudy advertising. Despite using a minimalist approach, everything their leads need to know is above-the-fold. 

The main image is quite simple but definitely appeals to their high-end clientele’s tastes. The main copy is also straight to the point about what the firm does. The navigation options look nice and clean with a clear call-to-action button on the right to schedule and appointment. The Broker Check badge on the bottom right also adds credibility to the brand.

What we like:

      • Minimalist design
      • Great use of space above the fold
      • Clear and distinct call-to-action button

 

Cornerstone Financial Team

financial web design

The Cornerstone Financial Team home page does a great job of combining traditional family values with modern video marketing. The background video inspires people to start planning their financial future wisely so they can have more time to spend with their families. One of the two call-to-action buttons leads to their Youtube explainer videos, while the other redirects to their Facebook’s webinar page. The videos are not only highly educational and engaging, but also provide a great introduction to their social media profiles where people can easily follow their brand. Their ‘Fee Planning or Free Planning’ slogan is also very catchy and intriguing — making people want to find out more.

What we like:

      • Smart use of video marketing
      • Great tagline
      • Awesome social media integration

 

Peak Brokerage Services

financial web design

Peak Brokerage Services does a great job at capitalizing on their industry accolades as a highly rated broker-dealer. It takes hard work to reach the top and letting people know how well reviewed they are inspires even more confidence in their brand. 

A lot of important information is visible above-the-fold without looking cluttered. It’s easy to see their phone number, as well as the links to their Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

The home page’s main image is great at keeping everything on-brand, and is consistent with the blue and white color scheme of the entire site.

What we like:

      • Accolades and badges inspire confidence in the brand
      • Above-the-fold space is loaded with info but not cluttered
      • Thematic and inspirational images

 

Husk Trading & Investments

financial web design

Husk Trading specializes in the farm and agribusiness sector, and it definitely shows. They’ve chosen several great-looking images that will not only appeal to their target clients, but also lets people immediately know what type of industry they specialize in. Their copy is also simple yet manages to stay on-brand with the use of the word ‘growth’. The color scheme of green and gold they’ve gone with is very pleasing to the eye and blends well with their main images. 

What we like:

      • Magazine worthy images
      • Clear branding
      • Great choice of colors

 

Ferguson Johnson Wealth Management

financial web design

Ferguson Johnson Wealth Management’s website is clean and simple which is never a bad thing. It’s still very pleasing to the eye because it uses a lot of whitespace. The foreground image isn’t very large and doesn’t take up the whole screen. It also does a great job at supporting the main copy’s message. In addition, the background image gives the page some much needed color.

When you land on the page, the text at the bottom of the fold invites you to scroll vertically. Once you start scrolling, you’ll see that the copy and design elements are nicely arranged using grids. 

What we like:

      • Good use of whitespace
      • Clear messaging
      • Nice looking layout

 

Passage Global Capital Management

financial web design

This firm touts the use of advanced technology and quantitative analysis to provide investors with the best returns. Their main selling point is a bit harder to visualize so they chose abstract motion graphics to give the site a more modern look. 

The color theme above the fold is dark, which adds to the modern image. It’s also minimalistic with nothing much to read aside from the main copy and the navigation buttons. But if you click the arrow, it scrolls down to sections with a light theme and where more information can be easily read.

What we like:

      • Creative motion graphics/animation
      • Abstract imagery
      • Good use of contrasting color schemes

 

Avalon Investment & Advisory

financial web design

Avalon is a Houston-based financial advisor and their website reflects their heritage. Here we see a pretty simple home page with very minimal copy, the company name, and a button for client login. What does stand out though is the really nice pictures of familiar locations around the city. This gives it a very homey feel that will sit well with locals who are looking for someone they know they can trust. 

Once you scroll down, it’s still pretty simple. You’ll discover that they’ve been in business for two decades and they list all of their team members (totaling to over 60 people), which gives people the impression that they can be trusted.

What we like:

      • Images of the city helps target local audiences
      • Simple and straightforward design
      • Effective copy that gives people confidence in the team

 

If you want to have a great-looking website that will reliably drive up conversions for your firm, contact us today at AltaStreet through the Contact Form below. We’ve helped hundreds of financial advisors over the last two decades sort out their website and digital marketing issues. 

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Financial Advisor

How Reviews Can Help Grow Your Financial Advisor Practice

Most financial advisors have no interest in adding reviews or testimonials on their website. This is understandable since they want to avoid dealing with regulatory and compliance issues that concern advertisements and endorsements. In addition, established firms prefer a more traditional or conservative approach when it comes to their marketing, and are pretty much stuck in their ways.

The SEC rules can be quite confusing. But what is clear is that you can have reviews on your Google My Business and Yelp pages because these are third party sites that you have no control over. In addition, user reviews posted on these sites are unsolicited and you’re not paying for people to post their experiences. The SEC has also recently announced that it will be revising its rules regarding testimonials and endorsements.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s find out how online reviews can really help your business.

People Love Reading Reviews

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, checking online reviews is an essential part of a lot of people’s decision-making process. Millennials and younger generations grew up with the Internet as part of their daily lives and will turn to it first if they ever need more information. Even older generations are just as tech-savvy nowadays, especially with the ubiquity of smartphones that are connected to the Internet 24/7.

According to a recent study, 97% of consumers aged 18 to 34 read local business reviews online, and people over the age of 55 read reviews 81% of the time. 

Both Positive and Negative Reviews Matter

It’s not just good reviews that make a positive impact. Sites that include negative comments engender a sense of transparency and honesty that consumers appreciate.

In fact, a glut of exclusively good reviews can create a sense of distrust. According to Yelp from this post on PracticalEcommerce, when business owners use only self-selected, overly positive reviews, it creates bias in the business listing. “A bias,” said Yelp, “that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away.”

In general, leaving negative reviews and responding to them positively shows that you are able to recognize your mistakes. This is the type of information that customers value. It’s inside information that can actually help build trust in your brand and increase conversion rates.

Reviews Provide Great Content and More Exposure

Search engines, like Google, consider reviews as unique content, giving your website more authority and increases your search ranking. This is especially true when it comes to local SEO results. When you have a lot of 5 star Google reviews, you’ll show up higher up in the search results.

While many consumers trust and use Google, recent research has shown that social media is even more effective. 68% of consumers read reviews on Facebook, and many prefer to leave reviews on Facebook because they’re frequently logged into the platform.

By using social media platforms for financial advisor reviews, you’re exploiting omnichannel brand exposure and getting far more bang for your buck.

Reviews Can Grow Your Bottom Line

According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, even a one-star increase in Yelp ratings can increase business revenue by 5 to 9%. 

Reviews can literally make you more dollars and cents. And for savvy financial advisors that should make a lot of sense.

Find out how AltaStreet can help you manage your online reputation by sending us a message through the form below.

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Financial Advisor

Why Every Financial Advisor Should Have a Client Portal On Their Website

If you envision yourself as a modern financial advisor, you need to stay on top of new trends. This not only gives you an edge over your competitors, but also allows you to keep up with your clients’ ever-changing demands.

According to a recent report by Refinitiv, 46% of the people they surveyed were not completely satisfied with their financial advisor’s digital offerings. Even worse is the fact that none of the people surveyed said they were ‘very satisfied’. It’s obvious from these stats that many financial advisors are dragging their feet when it comes to adopting and integrating new technologies into their practice. 

One of the most essential pieces of client-facing tech for financial advisors these days is the client portal. It gives your clients the ability to monitor their portfolio, easily share documents securely, and contact their assigned advisor directly with a click of a button, all in one place.

Here are a couple more reasons why you need a client portal, as well as the additional benefits it can deliver to your practice and your clients.

Everything is Online

People nowadays have very high expectations when it comes to their financial transactions. And it’s not surprising, since you can pretty much do anything online via an app nowadays from basic banking to very advanced day trading. Many have probably already tried robo-advisor platforms since they’ve become more and more mainstream. 

Your clients also expect to have all their data and information easily accessible at all times via the cloud. Having a client portal allows you to offer similar experiences that other platforms have been able to provide for years which your clients have all become accustomed to.

All of your clients will love the idea of being able to view their account and portfolio anytime they want. It not only makes things more transparent, but also gives them a sense of control and extra assurance that their finances are in safe hands. 

Makes Communication Easier

A client portal makes communicating with your clients much easier because all their information can be easily accessed with a single sign in and is available instantly. You don’t have to go digging around for different files and reports, or design a new dashboard everytime a client needs an update. 

You can easily walk clients through their portfolio and explain everything just by pointing them to a specific section of their personal dashboard. This lets you manage their expectations better, since you can easily provide all the necessary data all in one place. 

In most cases, they won’t even have to contact you if they just need an update because they can just log in to their account to check the current status of their portfolio. And all the updates are happening in real-time. Any additional information they might need, such as historical data, is also just one click away. 

Improved Security

You can never be too careful when it comes to client confidentiality. Even if you take all the necessary precautions, there’s always the threat of hackers gaining access to your local files or office intranet. You or one of your team members could also accidentally send someone another person’s financial data or confidential information.

With a client portal, you can address a lot of potential security issues because all your clients’ data is safely stored in a secure server. You can be sure that whoever your service provider is has taken steps to keep all their client data safe at all times, which includes keeping backups to prevent data loss and reduce downtime. 

On top of this, client portals can pull data directly from different accounts. Aside from being extremely convenient for both you and your client, it greatly reduces the chances of mistakes caused by manually copying files or data.

All of these benefits will also positively impact your branding. It gives people the impression that you’re striving to provide the best user experience possible. You can even include it in your marketing to show people how easy and convenient their financial planning journey can be.

At AltaStreet, we can incorporate lots of different features into your financial advisor website. To discuss all of your options, contact us directly through the contact form below.

Categories
Financial Advisor

What is Financial Advisor’s Worst Nightmare & How to Overcome It?

You’re giving a motivational presentation to your staff. You are wooing potential business partners. Only, you discover that your Powerpoint presentation pages are in the wrong order. You panic. In fact, your entire presentation is just words from a Chinese menu.

Well, yes, this scenario could have you waking up in the middle of the night. But it’s not the worst nightmare. Surely.

Isn’t the worse nightmare getting back to work after giving your presentation, only to realize that you don’t have any clients? This is a real scenario for too many financial businesses. It’s the unfortunate reality for businesses that fail to maintain a proper online presence.

You may be a traditional financial firm with traditional practices and values, but you will have noticed that more and more of your potential customers are not traditional. They like smartphones and wearables and they want to do business with you online. If you’re not there to meet them, they’ll keep surfing.

Today’s customers want customer service, their way, and they want it now. For an increasing number of financial clients, this means being able to interact with a financial advisor’s web presence, which provides 24/7 access. If they don’t get it, don’t expect a telegram or a protest outside your building. Expect tumbleweeds.

Why does a financial advisor need a web presence?

Since more and more people are using the web to do business, you need to be online to compete. A well-maintained web presence will help your business in many ways, including by:

 

Improving discoverability – with an effective web presence, you can spend less time looking for customers, because your customers will be coming to you. By keeping your website current and employing certain tried and tested techniques, your website will attract people via Google, other search engines, and networks.

According to Google, more than three-quarters of people who search for a business via a mobile device visit that business within a day. More than a quarter of them then perform a transaction.

If people can’t find you – if you’re not even showing up on searches for “financial advisors near [LOCATION]” – you are losing business.

 

Establishing trust – A website is a sign that a business means business. It is where many potential clients go to find out more about what you do and who you are.

If two financial advisor websites are identical except has an up-to-date blog and a downloadable, this well-maintained site will have the most traction. A site that has not been updated for weeks is like a dusty shop window with the lights off.

“It could be open, but … let’s try this other store first; the one with the welcome sign and people inside.”

 

Improving customer service – If you only offer customer service by phone during business hours, you are missing out on the potential customers for whom this is not enough.

In our experience, some prefer to communicate via texting, instant messaging, Skype, or email. Your job is to know your customers well enough to know not only what they want, but how they want it. Then give to them.

With a robust internet presence, you can chat with clients and potential clients in real-time using various applications. You can be on the right social platforms for your clients – whether that is LinkedIn, Facebook, or another site or app – so that you can interact with them in a way that is most suitable and convenient

How to Wake from the Nightmare of a Tired Internet Presence

If your website is working as an online business card or brochure, it’s not working. The internet allows so much more than digital versions of static, print marketing, and clients demand much more, so here are some tips for maintaining and optimizing your web presence.

 

Optimize your branding – while your internet is not just a business card, it should still be consistent with your other marketing efforts. Your emails, brochures, downloadables, and letterheads should feature consistent branding to help establish trust. Your website is no exception. Don’t risk a cheap, DIY template solution to do a good job with your branding.

 

Be contactable – Make sure that you have a contact page with more than a phone number. Why wouldn’t a business make it easy for clients to get in touch? Include email and any social networks you and your ideal customers use.

Also, consider an online form so that it is as easy as possible for people to reach you for quotes, advice, or more information.

 

Perform SEO – Search engine optimization refers to the techniques used to help your site achieve higher rankings with search engines. The good news is that the more advanced SEO gets, the more it aims to provide good experiences for your visitors. Good SEO practices will improve the speed of your site, the helpful keywords you use, and how people in your town or city find you.

 

Optimize Conversions – A good website will attract many visitors. A great website, however, can also convert them into clients.

You can use analytics to see how your visitors find your website, where they land, how long they stay, and where they go afterward. All this information, and more, can be used to create supercharged pages that give your visitors what they want and encourage them to take action.

Maintaining a website is a cost-effective way to bring a lot of business your way. And note that this is not random traffic-generation. You can build quality traffic and reach out to people who are already interested in exactly what you are offering.

Updating your website can be a lot of work, but with a revamped framework and a clear digital strategy, it will work for you 24/7/365. We have the skills and experience to help you maintain the perfect financial advisory website.

We understand finance and digital marketing inside out. If you want to grow or streamline your business the smart way, give us a call at (216) 894 5193, email us at dan@altastreet.com, or use our online form.