How Four Firms Built Powerful Digital Brands
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In my 10 years of working with advisors, I’ve found that those who invest in a quality digital brand are more successful in connecting with and engaging clients.
Most prospects will land on your website first before they meet or speak with you. According to research by AdvisorEngine, 66% of prospects reported receiving 2.6 referrals from friends for financial advisors. Then they looked up each advisor online before selecting which one to contact.
Even if your business relies mostly on referrals, your website plays a critical role in creating a strong first impression and building credibility.
Your firm’s digital messaging and visual expression must all align with your ideal clients’ needs, goals and objectives.
Understanding your niche
Identifying your niche differentiates your services from other advisors and guides your marketing strategies.
I often hear advisors discuss their niche in terms of demographics and geographics. Those details are helpful, but it’s important to identify your ideal clients in terms of psychographics.
Psychographics refers to a potential client’s mindset in terms of their attitudes, priorities, concerns and objectives. By digging into these characteristics, you have a much better chance of understanding your niche and aligning your services with their needs.
Consider a client’s entire journey and what they may be thinking, feeling and doing at various stages of the decision-making process.
Your digital brand and messaging
Once you have a better understanding of your niche, tailor the messaging and visual experience on your website to align with those clients’ needs and objectives. Relevancy is one of the most important components in engaging clients.
Customer expectations are shifting and in recent research by Salesforce, 76% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations. Align your unique differentiators and competencies with your clients’ needs.
For instance, Define Financial identified its niche as individuals over the age of 50 who are planning for retirement or retired. The messaging on the firm’s website home page, pictured below, speaks directly to this audience and mentions the ideal clients’ major goals, such as reducing taxes, optimizing income and investing smarter.
Your messaging should be concise, simple and easily digestible, as visitors tend to quickly scan and scroll while navigating websites and other digital content. Avoid overwhelming clients with dense paragraphs and confusing options. Each person comes to a website with a certain amount of energy. Decision fatigue sets in quickly if you make it difficult to navigate and consume content on your site.
Creating case studies (real or hypothetical) is a great tactic to convey that you understand your ideal clients’ needs and concerns. For instance, the Swiss American Wealth Advisors’ website features hypothetical case studies for different client scenarios. Below is an example of a case study of a Swiss family’s relocation to the U.S. and their financial concerns and challenges. Potential clients will feel a greater sense of connection with an advisor who understands their concerns and offers relevant solutions.
Building trust and credibility
Due to the pandemic, more customer interactions are occurring digitally in the financial industry, so there is less opportunity to build rapport with clients face-to-face. When a visitor or potential client engages with your website, there is a transference of that feeling or connection from your site to your firm. It sets the tone for any future interactions.
Building a baseline of trust and credibility on your site helps people feel more confident in entrusting their money and investments to your firm down the road.
With a website, there are different trust strategies that you can utilize. One is to create a trust and credibility section on the home page where you showcase awards or affiliations that your firm has received. For example, the trust section below from the Quantum Financial Planning website highlights key facts about the firm. These convey the longevity of the brand and demonstrate social trust in terms of the number of clients and assets managed.
Another strategy is to present yourself or your team as a thought leader and industry expert. The example below is from a section of the Define Financial website home page and it features various publications and articles by the advisor and firm.
Converting your ideal clients
Conversion is the ultimate goal for your marketing and website. But too often, I’ve seen advisor websites with weak calls to action or a lack of direction for website visitors.
Identify your conversion objectives for visitors and how you’d like them to engage on the website. I often talk to advisors during a website redesign project about various objectives, such as guiding a visitor to sign up for an email newsletter or to schedule a call with the advisor.
Craft a strong call to action (CTA) for the website. A CTA is a feature on your site that is designed to assist in the conversion of web visitors to qualified leads.
Advisors see much better results by creating a compelling CTA that resonates with their ideal niche and guides website visitors to a high-quality conversion page. For example, the custom CTA page on the Riverbend Wealth Management website promotes its free assessment and explains what clients can expect from the process.
The messaging on the CTA page can also cover common questions in an FAQ section, so you can address any concerns that could be deterring visitors from converting.
Leverage your digital brand for growth
Clients and prospects have rapidly adapted to rely on the Internet for more functions and professional services.
With this shift, there’s an opportunity for advisors to create a strong digital brand that also provides a positive customer experience for their clients.
In recent research, PwC found that customers were willing to pay more and stay loyal to brands that offer a quality experience. This digital transformation has created opportunities for astute advisors to better leverage their digital presence for growth and competitive positioning.
Since the website is the starting point for a client’s journey, it’s the best place to make a compelling impression.
Mikel Bruce is the CEO of TinyFrog Technologies, a San Diego web design agency specializing in WordPress web design & development and secured hosting & maintenance. Founded in 2003, TinyFrog offers a conversion-based approach to web design and has built over 1,100 websites. TinyFrog also has extensive experience in designing and building websites for financial advisors.