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20 mistakes advisers and planners make on their websites (and the solution to fix them) – Part One

Your website is the crucial first step in a journey which could ultimately decide whether the visitor becomes a client.

You need to impress.

However, the websites of too many advisers and planners are letting them down; failing to engage potential clients who might then decide to look elsewhere.

We passionately believe in the value of financial planning and want to help planners promote themselves as effectively as possible. So, we’ve put together a list of most common mistakes. Being helpful souls, we’ve also included some potential solutions too!

So, put the kettle on, open your website and see how you’re doing.

Mistake #1: Talking about financial products

No one will visit your website to understand how much they can pay into an ISA or what a SIPP is. They’ll get that information from elsewhere. So why do you need product information? You don’t. Furthermore, if you talk about products, that’s what they’ll expect to get from you, not financial planning.

Solution: Build pages which explain clearly the type of people you work with; the problems you will help them solve and the aspirations you enable them to achieve.

Mistake #2: Talking about financial planning too soon

As I said, I believe passionately in the value of financial planning. But, I’m in the tiny minority who approach their planner asking for a financial plan. Most seek professional advice because of a trigger, usually a problem they want to solve or an aspiration they’d like to achieve. However, some websites leap straight into discussing financial planning.

Solution: Start by empathising with these triggers, while showing that you have the skills and experience to solve them. When you’ve done that, then you can talk about financial planning. But the visitor, their problems and aspirations must come first.

You can read more about this problem and the potential solutions by clicking here.

Mistake #3: Not including social proof

Social proof (the thoughts and words of others to show the value you add) plays a crucial part in convincing website visitors that you might be the right adviser or planner for them. It’s not enough to simply include a page of anonymous testimonials, which our research shows only 1 – 2% of all visitors will ever look at.

Solution: Replace bland pages packed full of anonymous testimonials with detailed social proof, including attributable client feedback (ideally as videos or testimonials with images), publicise your VouchedFor rating and publish the results from client surveys.

You can see examples of great client videos by clicking here and testimonials accompanied by images of the client here.

Mistake #4: Including links to directories

We occasionally see direct links from website to Unbiased and VouchedFor. That’s a mistake; it’s hard enough to get visitors to your website, why would you then send them to a directory containing thousands of other financial advisers and planners?

Solution: Remove any links to Unbiased. And, instead of including a direct link to your profile on VouchedFor use the widget to display your rating and reviews as a pop-up in your website.

Did you know that VouchedFor now provides a rating for both individuals and firms? A handy widget is available for both. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please get in touch, I’d be happy to explain!

Mistake #5: Neglected blog / news pages

Most advisers and planners have every intention of keeping their blog up to date when their site is launched. But life gets in the way. Blogging becomes more sporadic, finally stopping altogether and leaving the site looking neglected.

Solution: Regularly adding content to your website is hugely important; it keeps your website fresh, demonstrates knowledge and Google will love you for it. If you have the time, desire and skills to write your own blogs then go for it. If not (and be honest with yourself) then outsource the task.

Mistake #6: Not including pages for members of your team

Initially, a website visitor will want to know if you are the right adviser or planner for them. If they then become a client, you and your team will play an important part of their lives for many years to come. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that the team pages of your website will be among the most popular.

However, too many advisers and planner websites have poorly constructed team pages, often including only minimal information and individual team member pages. Even worse, some websites have no team section at all, leaving the visitor guessing who they might be working with.

Solution: Spend time focusing on your team pages. Include everyone from the Managing Director to the newest apprentice.

You can find more information and a handy checklist to help you build effective team pages by clicking here.

Mistake #7: Including the FCA logo

Firms do this to show they are regulated and provide reassurance. That’s understandable. However, there’s one small problem; the FCA doesn’t allow its logo to be used in this way!

Solution: Give a detailed explanation of your regulated status while including links to the FCA Register and your Statement of Professional Standing. This information could be included on a ‘why us’ or the team pages, ideally accompanied by a brief explanation about each.

And, if your website includes the FCA logo it’s probably a good idea to remove it!

Mistake #8: Including news feeds

Some sites include third-party news feeds, showing a headline, some preview text and a ‘click here’ to read more button. There are three problems with this approach:

  1. No one will come to your website to get a current affairs update
  2. It’s a distraction, taking the visitor away to third-party sites with no guarantee they’ll return
  3. The news is all too often bad!

Solution: Simple, remove it. Then, head back to the solution for mistake #5 and consider the merits of including content which will be more relevant to your visitor.

Mistake #9: Placing social media buttons too prominently

Social media should be used to direct visitors to your website, not the other way around. Sending them off to your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is dangerous. There’s as much chance of them being distracted by their notifications as them returning to your website. We often see this mistake compounded by links to social media channels which open in the same window (not a new window), further reducing the chance of the visitor returning to your site.

Solution: Think carefully where you display your social media links. Avoid adding them where key calls to action should be placed, for example, the top right-hand corner of your website. Ensure that they open in a separate window too.

Mistake #10: Not using Google Analytics

We chat to many advisers and planners who have no idea how well their website performs.

Why? Because they either don’t have Google Analytics installed, fail to analyse the information it provides.

Solution: Firstly, check whether you have Google Analytics installed, if you don’t give us a call, we’ll do it for you for free. Secondly, start to analyse the data, and then make evidence-based changes to improve its performance.

More next week…

That’s probably enough for one week, we’ll be back with Part Two on mistakes financial advisers make on websites next Friday.

In the meantime though, click here and drop us a line. We’d love to know if you will be making changes to your website after reading our blog.

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