The Office Audit
Back when I first started as a financial adviser, Van Kampen mutual funds was doing a big ‘value add’ push to attract more business. I’m not sure how successful their effort was for them, but one of the positive outcomes I received was an introduction to their office audit (along with a few books like “Storyselling for Financial Advisers” and “Millionaire’s Advisor“) which helped advisers understand the non verbal messages an office can communicate to clients and prospects. The typical suggestions usually consisted of things like “remove clutter,” “add pictures of family,” and “display your hobbies.” All of which were intended to instill confidence and make connections. The same is true (perhaps more so) of your website.
Financial Advisor Websites Audit
Pull up your website and pretend it’s one of your competitors. If you were looking at it for the first time what would it say about you and your company? Does it help someone learn anything meaningful about your firm or differentiate you from all the other advisors out there?
Here are a few questions to help you conduct an audit on your firm’s website:
- How often to you add content?
- Is the content written by you or someone at your firm?
- Does your home page answer the WIFM question for prospects?
- Is your website build to be search engine friendly?
- How does your website look on a mobile phone or tablet?
Write down your answers to these questions. Have your staff do the same. Unless your answers were weekly, yes, yes yes, and great, there is room for improvement. Enhancements to anyone of these areas can lead to significant improvement in the conversion of visitors (or getting more visitors) into clients.
In reality there are many factors that go into building great looking, high performing financial advisor websites, but by starting with these 5 you’ll have an advantage (assuming you do something after asking the questions) over your competition. I’d also recommend reading Storyselling for Financial Advisers and Millionaire’s Advisor, they are great books that will help you connect with clients and run your practice more efficiently. If you need help or have questions, you can get them answered with a quick message here:
How to Pick Your Next Blog Post Topic for Financial Advisers
Writing a blog post with any regularity is challenging. Writing for your business needs to generate results in order to justify the investment in time and effort. A few years ago one of the companies in my portfolio was in the news and I wrote a post about my thoughts on the potential consequences. Mainly I did it because I was sick of repeating myself to clients on the phone so I thought that writing a blog post about it would save me some time. While it may have saved me a little time and prevented some boredom, it wasn’t until several months later that I discovered the real benefit.
The Long Tail
One afternoon while I was checking my blog stats instead of making calls, I noticed some search traffic related to the investment I had written about months before. It wasn’t much, but it was the first time I’d noticed organic traffic for something so specific. For months I’d get a hit or two every few days, nothing significant, but it was consistent. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d stumbled on to what’s now commonly referred to as “long tail keywords.”
By this time I’d already read Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More,” but I didn’t connect the dots between selling things and search terms. Essentially its the same thing. People are searching for something they want, be it products or information. Similar to the way you can find almost any product on Amazon…Google does the same for information.
Why It Matters
Google has an army of brilliant engineers trying to make sure you get good information when using their search engine. If you write something that is relevant to a question someone asks in Google you stand a good chance of getting found…assuming the question they are asking is specific enough IE a long tail question. In the example I used earlier, the particular investment I wrote about wasn’t well known, and when people started searching about it, there wasn’t much information available so my blog post was ranked high enough in the search results to get read.
Leveraging the Long Tail
I blogged sporadically over the next few years, but in 2013 I put what I learned about long tails to good use. An investment in my portfolio was making plans to go public and the information they were providing was vague and confusing. Recalling what I had observed a few years prior, I tried to identify questions people would be asking about the investment. Whenever the company released new information, I’d write a blog post. Eventually I created a special page on my website so people could easily read through all the information I’d collected.
At one point in my little experiment, I was ranked on the first page in the search results and I was getting over 500 page views a day. I realize that this isn’t much traffic in the grand scheme of things, but these were people who had no idea who I was…and they were asking me for advice. Some of my posts from that period had dozens of comments which led to multiple phone conversations with people who needed my help.
The next time you are trying to pick your next blog post topic, be sure to check your analytics to see if there are any search terms you can use as a starting point. If you don’t have that kind of data (contact me), try to recall recent questions from clients. Is there something there you can write about?
Let me know how it works for you, I’d love to hear your stories or answer any questions.
If writing blog posts isn’t your thing that’s cool too, we’d be happy to do it for you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a time to talk.