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This Christmas we had an ugly sweater party. In honor of that event here are the most unattractive things I consistently see on advisor websites. Just like the tacky sweater, let these five unbecoming blights collect dust instead of allowing them to appear on your website.

1. Generic downloads

A point about the number of downloads: any more than two prompts to download and you’re a nuisance. I can miss it once and maybe I’ll take you up on if it you ask me again, but the third time is a strikeout.

Secondly, if you’re going to ask someone to trade their contact information (and hence give you permission to bug them for the rest of their life), make it worth their while by actually offering something of value. Take a moment to set yourself apart. Make it unique and branded by including your company’s specific take on things. There is a lack of branding in the advisor marketing space, and this is your opportunity to take advantage of your competition’s shortcomings.

Don’t offer one of those mass-produced e-books created by some marketing company who doesn’t take the time to incorporate any of your messaging. You know what I mean: the e-book about the five best retirement tips. Generic, thoughtless, and phony. It’s as cheesy as that re-gifted sweater you got from your sister-in-law.

2. Boring and excessive discussions of the fiduciary standard

The RIA community has had nothing new to say on this topic in months. It’s become insipid.

It’s not that I disagree with the idea of being objective, independent and transparent about fee structures. But make the point in two sentences and then leave it alone. Don’t make it your entire brand.

There are over 15,000 RIA firms. They could all profess to be fiduciaries and most say it over and over because they can’t think of anything else better to say about what sets them apart. It’s mere jargon and #financialcliche. Get creative.

If you’re a broker-dealer rep, make the point that you accept commissions for recommendations. The RIA community has made “commission” a four-letter word, so just state the word clearly and use it to your advantage. If someone doesn’t want to do business with a commission-based rep, then so be it. Most reps are dual-registered anyways. As much as I don’t like seeing RIA firms overindulge on this point, I also don’t like seeing b/d reps fail to present clearly in plain language the fact that they get paid commissions.