current topics. It also has videos, podcasts and other media, plus sharp,
professional photos throughout the site — and there are fresh, interesting and concise bios, plus clear descriptions of what the firm does.
The prospect rules out two of the three firms by appearances.
After all: If a firm cannot produce a good first impression online,
who knows what quality of work it will provide? He calls Firm C to
make an appointment.
Last year my firm, Vantage Financial Partners, went through a website overhaul. Moving away from a static page layout, we changed the
site to allow for multimedia integration, social media widgets and a
blog. Most important, new pages could be added from scratch in as
little as five minutes and be tracked for marketing performance.
Dynamic website design is important for attracting and retaining
employees, says Joe Polidoro, founder of the advisor marketing firm
Marketeria, which designed Vantage’s new website. “Regularly sharing your views on your website and on social media expresses who
you are, what you believe and the impact you have on clients,” he
explains. “If a prospective employee reads your content and discovers that his or her views align with yours, you’ve created an engaged
employee even before he or she is hired.
Your site needs a blog at minimum — and
videos and podcasts are even better.
“This isn’t the future of marketing,” he adds. “It’s the present. Advisors large and small will do well to embrace it.”
7 RULES FOR CHANGE
How can you be sure your firm is positioned to attract Gen Y, both as
customers and employees?
1. Be open to new technologies: Web conferencing and secure file-sharing have been the biggest business breakthroughs of the last decade.
Not only can you provide a client in Asia with a sensitive file within
minutes through a secure connection, but you can also “meet” with him
face-to-face via a video meeting. Crisp video, audio and dynamic layouts
have already pushed this envelope. Be open to new online possibilities.
2. Understand how Gen Y gets information: Forget print newspapers. Many of us in Gen Y get our information online, share it with our
online community and pick up recommendations in the same way. I
have seen numerous Facebook posts asking for recommendations for
plumbers, doctors, dentists and advisors. Advisors are restricted from
promoting or accepting online recommendations, but they should recognize that other people are discussing the profession (and its practitioners) online. How can you be recommended if no one knows about
you? And if you do get a recommendation but your website is subpar,
how many of those recommendations will evaporate?
just joined Facebook from her iPad and she’s in
her mid-80s. Here’s why: Skype and Facebook let
her stay connected to great-grandchildren 4,000
miles away. Your advisors could strengthen relationships with clients of all generations by implementing video chat technology.
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously:
Recently, someone told me about Dollar Shave
Club, a company that schedules UPS deliveries
of men’s razors. I gave them a quizzical look but
was told to check out the company’s promo
video. I did: It’s full of humor and slapstick, yet
it explains the concept of the company very
well — and left me wanting more information.
Here’s the reality: Prospects are looking for
people to work with, not financial robots. They
assume every advisor has knowledge to help
them; therefore they are looking for the service
and personality that will benefit them the most.
Let that shine through.
5. Multimedia wins the day: You don’t have
to be producing humor videos, but in today’s age,
your site must have a blog at minimum; videos
and podcasts are even better. Prospects want to
see your knowledge and your passion.
6. Keep it simple: No prospect will ever be
won over by an idea buried three clicks deep on a
website. Explain your approach and pricing, share
some significant content, be personable and then
leave prospects wanting to learn more. If they are
engaged, they will call (or email) to follow up.
7. Go mobile: Clients may be viewing your
website via a smartphone. If your site doesn’t
work on mobile, or some of its features are lost,
too bad; your prospect may just move on to the
next firm on her list.
Your website can make or break you. So
leave that templated site behind, post a video of
yourself and your team, and get blogging with a
vengeance. Embrace technology now — before
your clients and employees find another firm
that already has. FP
Dave Grant, a Financial Planning
columnist, is a financial planning analyst with
Vantage Financial Partners in Arlington
Heights, Ill. He’s also the founder of NAPFA
Genesis, a networking group for young,