Make Your Website An Asset-Gathering Powerhouse

By Dan Solin

April 15, 2014

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I can’t sugarcoat my assessment of many advisor websites. They are data-dense, boring and filled with trite homilies (like how much you really “care” about your clients and how “trustworthy” and “sincere” you are). They are so bland and uninspired that they are often interchangeable.

Many advisor websites are nothing more than a placeholder, rarely updated and not a destination a viewer would look forward to visiting frequently.

Although e-commerce does not involve personal meetings, the need to establish an emotional connection with your prospective clients remains the same. Achieving this goal requires a change in strategy. Here are some tips.

Cultivate trust

The purpose of most websites seems to be to inundate the viewer with a wealth of information. That’s the wrong approach. The true goal of your website should be to establish you and your company as reliable, credible, honest and trustworthy.

How can you gain people’s trust online? As a general rule, sites that are perceived as a valuable resource will be deemed more trustworthy than those that only provide information about products and services. If you are a niche firm with predominately physicians as clients, writing blogs that discuss financial issues specific to the medical profession would be an example of using your website as a resource.

Another way to establish trust is to highlight your relationship with strategic partners. Most registered investment advisors use large independent custodians. A relationship with a well-known, financially strong custodian enhances the perception of security and confidence.

Don’t forget to highlight the insurance these custodians have in place to protect clients’ assets. Clients may be concerned about both unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts by someone at your firm and the potential for hacking. Put their mind at ease by discussing the safeguards and insurance in place with your custodians that protect against these perceived dangers.

Your regulatory filings and reports provide detailed information about your business. Consider permitting prospects to download copies directly from your website or give them a hyperlink to the website of the Securities and Exchange Commission where they can find your filings.

I sometimes find that the perceptions of registered investment advisors and prospects are not in sync. Many advisers believe their knowledge and expertise is paramount. I have spoken to a number of prospects who disagree. They approach a new relationship with an advisor with great skepticism. Their primary concern is whether their money will be safe. Unless you recognize that concern and deal with it, you are unlikely to win new business.

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