How One Advisor’s Website Lands a New Client a Week

May 13, 2014

by Dan Richards

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Last week an advisor responded to my recent article on building your reputation, The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients, in which I outlined five strategies for building credibility. In that email and a subsequent conversation, Tony Farella described how last year his registered investment advisory (RIA) attracted 58 new clients from its website.

Here’s Tony’s email:

I read with interest your recent Advisor Perspectives article. We have never had much luck with client referral and have had very few referrals from centers of influence. So we opted for building a better website. To my surprise it has been the No. 1 driver of our above average growth rate. Last year 70% of our new clients came via our website.

We do get a fair share of young tech-savvy professionals, however the bulk of the new clients were retirees or very close to retiring. (Older people love Google!) Most advisor sites are pretty bad. The independent fee-only advisors are marginally better than the truly awful wirehouse websites. This is definitely our competitive advantage.

Many advisory firms have excellent websites but see little success in attracting clients online. Tony’s firm   stands out because it has invested in search-engine optimization (SEO), which helps the website jump to the top of online searches.

Telling your story to prospects

Tony is one of two partners at Rockbridge Investment Management in Syracuse, N.Y. In addition to the two partners, they have six other advisors and four support staff. They’ve had a website for a number of years and seen a steady stream of leads from it (as Tony’s email said, this has been the source of 70% of new clients). Early last year, they decided to invest the time and money to upgrade it.

An obvious option was to sign up with one of the national firms that specializes in developing websites for financial advisors. Instead, Tony and his partner hired a local website designer to build a customized solution. They wanted to feature a video on the home page of the site, but quotes of $15,000-$20,000 from commercial production firms were beyond their budget. Instead, hey engaged a second-year student in computer graphics at nearby Cornell University to create a video to tell their story and hired an experienced broadcaster they found online to record the voiceover. For less than $3,500, they produced a highly professional video.

To keep people coming back, Tony and his partner regularly post articles on their blog that they write themselves, with the goal of one new article each month.

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