New GeNeratioN BY
It’s Time to Fix Your Website
If your firm’s home page looks like it’s stuck in the 1990s, you’re likely driving
away prospects and employees. Here are 7 rules for making an upgrade.
Here’s the scenario: A prospective client has had a life event hat changes his financial situation. He knows he needs financial guidance but is not sure where to turn, so he solicits feedback from family and friends; he also reviews
professional organizations. Then he goes to Google to search for firms
in his area, and starts combing through the search results.
Here’s the critical question: If he found your website, would he give
you a call?
An outstanding website can make a powerful first impression. Unfortunately, so can a bad one. Your website should tell prospective customers a number of things: firm services and
philosophy, investment management
methodology as well as blog posts about
different financial planning topics. But it
also shows whether your firm is on the
cutting edge and how it values technology. Some of those issues are important
to potential employees, as well — so if
your company has an out-of-date and
poorly maintained website, you risk losing not only clients, but also talent.
In a recent conversation with a Gen Y advisor, I asked about his firm’s website. He hung his
head. All the pages were static, he said, the company didn’t have a blog and the ideas he had for
an online-marketing campaign were limited by
his firm’s delay in implementing technology.
He was so disheartened, he added, that when
he meets Gen Y prospects, he is too embarrassed
to direct them to his firm’s website. He also
wanted to interact with prospects and clients
using different methods of technology, such as video conferencing, but his
company wasn’t able to support it.
I asked if this lack of technology
was a deal breaker for him: Would he
leave the firm if another opportunity
presented itself? His answer: “Many fee-
only firms offer similar service, just with
different methods of delivery based on
different comfort levels with technol-
ogy. How can I bring clients to the firm
when I am not confident in either of
Let’s go back to that prospect, still searching
for nearby firms. Here’s what he’s found so far:
• Firm A has a template website and says the
planner has been in the profession for 25 years.
His bio photograph shows him to be about 40,
though. Has he been practicing since age 15?
And if not: Why is that photo so out of date?
• Firm B has the same template as the first one
— instant turnoff. In addition, this site has numerous pages full of text, grainy shots of the team,
and a “latest update” that is 18 months old.
• Firm C is something else entirely, though.
The branding is appealing, there are dynamic
graphics, blog posts are only days old and contain
One Gen Y advisor
said that when he
prospects, he is too
direct them to his
GEN Y’S GREATER DEMANDS
If you’re recruiting new workers, remember this: College students of
this generation have grown up with Web technology. They communicate via social media, get all their information from websites, and
discover the latest trends by their friends’ likes, tweets and You Tube
recommendations. So it’s only fair to think they will want to conduct
business in the same manner.
Young advisors know that engaging marketing campaigns have to
involve not just face-to-face interactions but also websites, multimedia and social media. They want a company that can and will support a
marketing campaign that involves these mediums. If a candidate was
weighing two firms — both with similar philosophies and approaches,
but only one was on the cutting edge of Web technology and the other
was stuck in the 1990s — which do you think she would choose to
November 2012 Financial Planning 41