Six ways advisors turn their websites into their worst enemies
By Bruce Johnston
Advisolocity, DBJ Associates
One thing we have never understood is why advisors view their website as a set it and forget it proposition. I’m sorry but a lighthouse, a sailboat and an older couple walking hand-in-hand on the beach does not a website make.
We encourage advisors to view their website as what might possibly be the hardest working piece of equipment in their office. Think about the impact your website has on your business: it’s the only employee you have that works 24/7 telling all those who visit about you, your firm and your differentiating proposition. Your website never asks for a day-off, never calls in sick and doesn’t require benefits. Yet we don’t treat it as the integral part of the team that it is.
It is your firm’s face to the world. In a nanosecond, which is faster than a Malcolm Gladwell Blink, visitors to your site are making stay, go, ask for more information or never return here again decisions.
We have a rule: in 10 seconds your website visitor has to be engaged. Within three clicks they need to be able to download white papers, e-books, commentary or whatever your value proposition might be.
Visitors to your website have severe Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). If you can’t make it simple, make it informative and make sure you tell them how you can help them within the time it took you to read this sentence, they’re gone. This is the age of engagement and if your website doesn’t engage, your visitors will look elsewhere for engagement.
So what are some of the ways advisors turn their websites into their own worst enemies?
1. Advisor sites are disruptive. Banner ads, pop-ups, graphics and video may have their place on your website but in moderation. If a first-time visitor is greeted with a video espousing the virtues of equities and has never purchased an equity product in their life you’ve lost them. Inform and engage your visitors and you won’t distract them.
2. We don’t want you here. That’s the message advisor websites send when they encourage visitors to click on a link to read another article, visit another website or visit a resource center other than yours. We see it all the time. Second sentence, instructions are to click this link for additional information, they do and guest what – they’re gone, never to be heard from again!
3. Most resource centers are like belly buttons – everyone has one! Next time you are reviewing websites count the number that brag about providing access to a set of valuable resources – WSJ, Business Week, Forbes, etc. What’s unique about that?
In the state of Oklahoma there are 180 RIAs listed. 160 have websites and 40 of those have the same resource center. Not only does this not add value, again you are inviting the visitor to leave your site.
4. Advisor sites have their own secret code. I can’t count the number of times we review a site that has programming code leaking through the pages. Not only does this look unprofessional but also what kind of message does that send to the visitor? Detailed oriented? Thorough?
5. Stock quotes 24/7. Ask yourself, are you a trader or an advisor? The vast majority will answer advisor so why provide up to the minute information on individual stocks on your website?
You never refer to it. Your clients don’t use it so why make it available to “looky lou’s” – those who spend all their time looking and have no intention of retaining your services.
6. Lack of analytical tools. For an industry that is so measurement oriented it never ceases to amaze us that advisor websites don’t have any analytics attached to them. At a minimum get Google Analytics so you can at lease tell how many visited your site, where they came from and what interested them.
Contrary to popular belief this is rocket science!
Please join us on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm EDT where at the invitation of ProducersWEB we will host a web chat (#prowebchat) to discuss these and other mistakes advisors make with their websites.