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There’s only one thing worse than not having a website for financial advisors: Having a bad website. If prospects find a website that undermines their trust, they’ll never become a client. 

Luckily, you don’t have to become a professional marketer to have a convincing website that attracts clients. In this episode, you’ll discover how the top 100 independent financial advisors get clients with their websites. 

Want to apply their lessons to create a website that attracts red-hot leads and gets you more clients? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • The 2-second gut check that gets potential clients to trust you before they read a word on your website. (4:19)
  • Why putting a phone icon on your website can reduce your lead flow by 48% (and what “icon” to use instead). (5:35)
  • How a quick 3-minute phone camera video can improve your website’s conversion rate by up to 80%. (7:05)
  • The two most likely places prospects look for financial advisors (and how to make sure you show up in both). (10:14)
  • Why more than half of investors have rejected financial advisors because of their Facebook profiles. (17:42)
  • One strategy 70% of millionaire financial advisors all have in common (you can implement this by tomorrow) (18:50)
  • The highly profitable marketing strategy only 20% of financial advisors are using. (20:53)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today. 

Go to the https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Newsletter and pick up your free 90 minute download called „5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors“ when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Links mentioned on the show: 


Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: Welcome to another episode of Financial Advisor Marketing. I'm so glad to have you here. I'm going to do things a little bit differently this week. It's not going to be as structured; it's not going to be as organized because I'm going to talk about probably shouldn't start off the show saying, Hey, we're not going to be as organized this week, but here we are. I'm going to talk about an article I recently wrote called, ‘I analyze the websites of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors. Here's what they do differently.’ And we're going to try to link this in the show notes. So, if you're listening somewhere that has show notes, like on iTunes or a podcast player app, then click the link in the show notes and just read the article if you'd like. If you're listening somewhere that doesn't have show notes, like the podcast player on TheAdvisorCoach.com, then you can go to Google and you can type in The Advisor Coach Barron’s 100 and it should pop up in the search results or you can go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/blog, and it should show up in the blog. Both ways are there for you to access the article. [01:28.0]

But I got a lot of feedback from people about this article and a lot of really positive feedback. I was really impressed at how much this article has blown up, both with social shares. And I actually put a little bit of money behind it and turned it into a paid ad. And it's doing really well because financial advisors are interested in the topic of what successful financial advisors actually do differently on their websites. Because there are so many different companies out there and marketing “coaches and consultants”, and everybody's got their little programs and it's just, the market is really saturated with these people being like, yeah, I can help financial advisors, but they don't have any substance. They don't have any meat behind what they do. And I know that sometimes I joke about like the value thing, but it is true. There are people who make baseless claims. They don't give real data. They don't give actual, empirical, tangible evidence. And I noticed that there are a lot of people who give advice about websites and I've built multiple websites. TheAdvisorCoach.com is a fairly successful website. Now I say that not to toot my own horn, but just to tell you like, I'm, I build successful websites and I've done hundreds of financial advisor website critiques, and I pretty much have a good idea of what makes websites work for financial advisors. And we've done other podcast episodes on this, but I never actually took a deep dive into what Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors did with their websites. [02:49.9]

I wanted to take a look because I wanted to see if they had any common themes or any commonalities that I had never noticed before and so that's essentially what I did. I went to a list of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors, and I basically clicked through all of them and looked at their websites. And I stuck to the homepage only because it would take me forever if I went to their about us page and the contact page, I just wanted to stick with what I saw on the homepage, because that is the most visited page on most financial advisors’ websites. So, if a prospective client is going to your website, he or she is almost certainly going to go to your homepage and the homepage is going to make the biggest impact. So, I basically clicked through every single one and it took me a little over two hours to do it, but I got it done. And right away I noticed a following. I noticed I wouldn't be able to go through 100 or basically include 100 in my research because there's, some of them were Ameriprise financial advisors’ others were advisors at banks like The First Republic Investment Management Advisors. [03:51.1]

And I just took them out and when it was all said and done, there were 69 financial advisors who were left, who had websites because two of them didn't have websites. And two of them took forever to load so that they were out too, right? So, there are 69 left and I just went through them and tried to figure out what they did differently. Now, my hypotheses here were that there would be five things that would come up. And that was number one, the SSL certificate, which is the secure socket layer. And that's the little green padlock in the, in the URL version of your browser. You basically let you know that a site is secure. And when someone visits your website, especially in financial services, they want to know that your site is secure. If it's kind of like air conditioning in retail. If it's you're in Texas and it's middle of the summer, and you're deciding whether to go to Whole Foods or Walmart, and only Walmart has air conditioning, you're probably going to go there, not because whole foods sucks or whatever, maybe it does. I don't know, I'm not the one to judge, but you go in there because whole foods doesn't have air conditioning. And when it comes to financial services, websites, people will actively leave and not go to a financial advisor’s website because it's not secure. It's an immediate disqualification in the eyes of prospective clients. [05:13.2]

The second hypothesis I had was that there would be photos of the financial advisor of his or her team. And they would be real photos; not like those cheesy ones where everybody stands together and like poses in a way they'll never pose, and obviously for a photo app. They'd be like real photos, maybe a nice headshot of the financial advisor, just something legit. And a split testing company called VWO, they actually ran a split test on one of their user's blogs to see if replacing a generic phone icon with his photo, like a real picture of him would lead to more people contacting him. And what happened was the original phone icon got a 3.7% conversion rate, but when they put his photo in there it went up to 5.5%. So, if do the math on that, and you realize that he got 48% more people contacting him as a result of the photo. And one of the things that I saw when I was doing website critiques and reviews for financial advisors, I would do them not necessarily one-on-one, but they would show me their URL. I would record a 10-minute video. Basically, I'd pull up my screen recorder, I’d record the website. I would make sure that I would view the website for the first time when it's recording that way, I could approach it from a marketing perspective and a perspective client Dan's point of view. [06:29.1]

That that way I could see how do I feel as someone seeing that website for the first time. And then I could put my marketing hat on and I could make specific recommendations on how to improve it. And there are tons of studies to prove that photos and videos of people actually really do increase conversions quite a bit. It depends on the situation, but that is painting with a broad brush as a rule of thumb. If you want to get more people contacting you, having real photos of yourself and real videos of you, it tends to help. And according to a company called Eyeview digital, the conversion rate for clients in their business, the conversion rate increased in almost every single video versus no video tests they run. And in some cases, the conversion rate increase was as high as 80%. So, having a video on the home page, where you're introducing yourself, where people could see that you're a real person, they can get a sense for what you're all about, that tends to help. [07:23.8]

The third hypothesis that I had was that these Barron’s top 100 independent financial advisors would have clear navigation. Now this is like, this is table stakes for making an effective website, is that when you get to the website, you want to be able to navigate clearly. And what I defined as clear navigation was a horizontal bar that you can see, like at the top of TheAdvisorCoach.com because I practice what I preach. And you can basically click different links in that horizontal navigation bar to get where you want to go. And I figured nearly all of the financial advisors on the list would have this and I was surprised. So, we'll get into that later, we’ll get into to the results. [08:00.9]

The fourth hypothesis that I had was that nearly all the financial advisors would have clear contact information. And this is another thing that came up again and again and again, when I was doing website reviews for financial advisors, and one of the ways that I immediately helped them increase conversion rates was just include, tell them to include clear contact information at the top of their page. This is a quick win. It is a home run, slam dunk. If you're not doing it, make sure you do it because there are a lot of financial advisors who include contact information somewhere on their site. Like they’d be foolish not to have an email and a phone number and an address or whatever, but the problem is that a lot of these people, they bury it in the footer of their site. So, people have to scroll all the way down just to find the address or an email or a phone number. It's much better, like quite literally virtually 100% of the split test that I've seen. If you have an email or phone number at the very tippy top of your website versus having your phone number or your email buried all the way at the bottom of the footer, simply having it above the fold, it just like it's nuts. It you're converting way, way more. And above the fold, that's if you're not in the technical terms here, it's the part of your homepage people see without scrolling down. So, the minute they load your page, the part that they see is the part above the fold. When they start scrolling, they get below the fold. You want to put your contact information above the fold. [09:22.7]

Then the fifth hypothesis and the final hypothesis that I had was that these financial advisors would have links to their social media pages. And one of the things that I stress in this podcast, I stress it in the inner circle newsletter is the idea that financial advisors should use multiple marketing strategies. And with this simple philosophy, I've been able to look like quite literally helped thousands of financial advisors get more clients. It's incredible. It's the most important thing I can ever stress about marketing, because it allows you to increase your conversion rates. It allows people to view you as more credible. It allows you to build more rapport. It's just, it's amazing. Like I can't stress it enough. And an easy way to leverage multiple marketing strategies is to have links from your website, go to your social media pages and vice versa. So, you would have links on your social media page, like your LinkedIn profile, take people to your website. [10:12.3]

And this is especially effective for financial advisors when you consider that most prospective clients will either search on Google or they’ll search on LinkedIn to find financial advisors. So why not make it easy for them? So, if someone types your, your name or your company name into Google, they're probably going to click on your website and they're probably going to click on your LinkedIn profile. Or if someone finds you on LinkedIn, that person has statistically the action that person is most likely to take when they click off of LinkedIn is to go to your website. And guess where your website is probably going to take them, the homepage. So, I figured about 80% or so of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors would have links to their social profiles because I figured that the top 100 independent financial advisors in the United States would have this figured out. So, if you ready for the results, I'm going to get into the results right now. [11:04.6]

Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.

Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [11:27.1]

As far as the SSL certificate, 93% of the websites had one, which means that only five out of the 69 didn't have one. And this wasn't surprising at all, because if you're a top 100 financial advisor at minimum, you should be investing in having a secure website. And it's pretty standard now in 2021 to like got to have an SSL certificate. 58% of the advisors had photos and or videos of themselves. I didn't break it down. If I ever go back and revamp this or make the article better, I will go back and I will specify what percent have videos and what percent had photos. And if you want to go out and you want to verify everything, I'm telling you, like you can access the list. You can just Google Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors. And this was good to see and it wasn't that surprising. Honestly, I thought it would be a little bit higher. 58% seemed kind of low, but it was good to see that instead of using cheesy stock photography, more than half of these advisors, they included real photos of themselves and real videos of themselves and their team members. [12:29.1]

And I remember being surprised at the percentage that was video. I remember distinctly feeling like, wow, I'm impressed at how many financial advisors are using video. And it makes sense because video is such an amazing tool to put yourself out there in front of people. Audio is another amazing tool. One of the reasons that financial advisors succeed when they use podcasts, especially if they do podcasting well is because you build a relationship when you podcast. People listen to you, they spend time with you, if a podcast is 20 or 30 minutes, long that's 20 or 30 minutes long every week, or every two weeks that people are spending with you. And it's like an intimate, medium, and video is not as intimate, I don't think. Because you're not like listening and really focusing because if you're scrolling down the home page, you may not even play the whole video, but the point is people see it, they resonate with it. And it just, it separates you from all the other financial advisors out there. [13:24.7]

87% go moving onto my next hypothesis or result I should say. 87% had clear navigation. So, I was actually shocked that this number wasn't higher because only 60 out of the 69 websites that I analyzed, they had clear navigation at the top of their home pages. And that was the horizontal bar that I'm talking about. The reason I was shocked at this is because having clear navigation is one of the fundamentals of web design. It's like web design 101. Visitors expect to see this horizontal navigation bar and like not seeing it at all can be confusing. They don't really know where to go. And when you get behind the scenes of these websites, that don't have clear navigation bar, you realize that the traffic to other pages is really low. And that makes sense, because if someone gets to our website and they can't see where to go, like they're not going to go there. If they can't see where to click to get to your blog, they're not going to get to your blog. So, your blog traffic is going to be low, that makes all the sense in the world. [14:22.5]

If someone wants to contact you and you don't have clear contact information and you put all your contact info in or on a contact page and someone can't navigate to that contact page, well guess what? You're not going to be generating many leads through your website. It makes perfect sense. And if you get nothing else, aside from the clear, the clear contact information thing, get this, make sure you have clear navigation. Clarity is key. People get to your website. They're in a hurry. They want to look for stuff. They want it, they're impatient. They want to find things quickly. [14:52.4]

And then the fourth result was that 33%, only 33% had contact information above the fold. So, when I'm talking about having clear contact information, when I say that's one of the biggest, quick wins, it's true. One of the biggest quick wins you can have is to put your contact information above the fold. And when I talk about multiple marketing strategies, being the Holy Grail behind building financial advisors, businesses, it's, it's the same with giving people multiple ways to contact you. You want to have an address, maybe someone wants to send a letter. I don't know. Maybe people still do that. They, you can include your email address. You're can include a link to a contact form. You can include a phone number, make sure someone's going to answer. Just give people ways to contact you. But unfortunately, only 23 out of the 69 financial advisors met this requirement. And this was probably the most surprising part of this whole experiment that I did. And to be fair, more than 23 websites did have their contact information on the homepage. But as I said in the beginning, it's like buried all the way down in the footer. It's hard to find. People just, aren't going to look if you've ever done any sort of heat mapping where you analyze how far people scroll down, almost nobody gets to the fold. It's such a small percentage. It's insignificant. So, if you want to dramatically increase the number of people who are reaching out to you on your website, make sure you have your contact information above the fold. [16:16.0]

And even worse out of the ones who did have a way for people to contact them. And it was clear contact information. It was typically only a phone number. Now I'm I have nothing against putting your phone number on your website because you want people to call you. And that's one of the ways that people can contact you. But what happens if someone lands on your website at 10:00 PM on a Saturday night and they don't want to call because they're assuming that your office is closed and right. Rightfully so. They're probably assuming that of course, because it's 10:00 PM on a Saturday, but if that happens and you get that website traffic and they leave, do you think they're coming back? Well, statistically, no, they're not going to come back. So, you want to give people another way to get in touch. It is so important. [17:02.4]

Then the fifth thing, finally got it right here. This is the fifth result, is that 57% had links to social media pages. So, in other words, 39 of the Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors had links to social media pages on the website and 30 of them didn't. And most of the social media links, again, there were buried in the footer of the websites, but a few of them showcase their social media profiles loudly and proudly. As I mentioned earlier, the getting people to check out your social media pages, especially LinkedIn is one of the best ways to set more appointments, but make sure that your profiles are up to snuff. Because according to a study called, ‘Advisor Value Propositions’, one in three investors have looked at advisors, personal Facebook pages, and more than half of them decided not to work with the advisor as a result. [17:53.1]

So, keep that mind, those are the things that I found and I'm going to recap these. 57% of the advisors had links to social media pages. I wish that was higher. Not many of them had social media pages like above the fold. Only 33% of them had contact information above the fold. 87% had clear navigation, 58% had photos and or videos of themselves. And 93% of the websites had an SSL certificate. So those were my hypothesis and those are my results, but I want to keep going because there were some other things that I noticed. And there were some things that stood out to me and I wanted to share them with you. I thought I would see more podcasts in Barron's top 100, because it seems like everyone and their mother is starting a podcast these days. Everybody's got a freaking podcast, but I only saw a few. So that was surprising. And then I also enjoyed seeing the financial advisors with niches and according to CEG worldwide research, 70% of top financial advisors and that's defined as advisors who are earning at least a million dollars per year have niches. [18:59.0]

So, I got to see the top 100 financial advisors to how they approach niche marketing. And a lot of them did. A lot of them had account minimums. A lot of them specified who they work with. So that was really refreshing, not refreshing, it was really reassuring to see that that happened. And there were a couple that really didn't niche it all, but they seem to be the exception, not the whole. And just because someone appears to be in your target market doesn't mean that person is a good fit for your business. So many of these top advisors, they did have minimums and they made them clear on the contact forms. They would say I'm taking on clients with $750,000 or like $500,000, If you're in Minnesota and $1 million, if you're not Minnesota, something like that. And admittedly, most of the advisors with account minimums, they did not have those on their homepage. It's just that, after I did this analysis, I went back and I started clicking through just out of curiosity, to see what the workflow look like. So, if someone got to the website and wanted to really reach out to the financial advisor, how would that happen? [19:59.4]

So, I noticed that a lot of the advisors had their account minimums, clearly displayed transparently on their contact page, which is really cool and it was nice to see that. another thing I noticed was that several of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors, they were doing webinars. And this is another marketing strategy I've seen be really effective for financial advisors who are willing to do the work. And if you're curious about how you can leverage webinars in your business, I encourage you to read an article that I put together about it. It's called, ‘Three Powerful Ways Financial Advisors Can Use Webinars to Get More Clients.’ You can just Google The Advisor Coach webinars or like three powerful ways Webinar, financial advisors can use webinars to get more clients at The Advisor Coach, something like that. It should come up in Google because like, we're pretty good at SEO and we rank for this stuff. [20:45.9]

And then the most amazing thing I found, I wanted to save the best for last, because this is really, really cool. 58% of Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors were leveraging email marketing. That is mind-blowing. Now why is that mind blowing? Because in my experience, less than 20% of independent financial advisors, like just the entire group, less than 20%, I, I couldn't find an accurate statistic from like another source that I could really truly verify for you. But anecdotally based on what I've seen and like, I, I work with financial advisors all the time. Less than 20% that is my number. That is what I'm seeing, use email. So, the fact that Barron's top 100 independent financial advisors are three times as likely to use email marketing that should tell you something. And I found that many financial advisors realize that email is one of the best appointment setting strategies they can ever use, but knowing and doing are two different things. Think about this in terms of people who need financial advice. [21:52.5]

At an intellectual level, most people understand that they can't retire in comfort, if they don't spend less than they make. They've got to pay themselves first, they've got to save money. But according to a report from GObankingRates, 42% of Americans have less than $10,000 stashed away for retirement because knowing and doing are two completely different things. People intellectually, they get it. They understand, yeah, I've got to save here for retirement. I've got to put money away. I've got to protect my future self, but they don't do it. And that means that the gap is, is real people. And we're financial advisors at an intellectual level, they may understand that according to McKinsey & Company email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. They may understand that email marketing has an average return on investment of 4400%, according to Campaign Monitor. They may understand at an intellectual level that Y-charts reports that clients prefer email over every other communication channel. But for some reason they can't be bothered. They'd rather bang their heads against the wall. They'd rather stay stagnant. They'd rather suffer. Maybe they secretly hate themselves, or maybe they believe deep down that they don't deserve success. Who knows? All I know is that email is by far the most effective appointment setting, marketing strategy I've ever seen for financial advisors. And I was absolutely floored to see so many of Barron's top 100 financial advisors embracing it. [23:13.4]

So that wraps up this podcast episode. I was like, seriously, I was amazed at 58% of them. I wasn't shocked necessarily because like I kind of expected it. Of course, the Barron's top 100 financial advisors would leverage email marketing because it is such a powerful strategy, but it just felt so good to like actually put the numbers there and save for real this is actually what it is. 58% at the time of this recording, they're doing email marketing. So, I hope that helps you. I hope that improves your website somehow. You can put this advice into action and I will catch you next week. [23:48.1]

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