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Are you making this huge mistake with your website?

We gave our website a facelift this week. If you’d like to see the new site, please click here. It’s not our website I’d like to talk about this week though, but yours.

As we’ve said before, your website is much more than just a business card. It plays an essential role in ensuring you’re both visible and impressive online. It’s also the place where many people decide whether to contact you or a different financial adviser/planner.

And that’s the mistake too many financial advisers are making with their website; providing no social proof or evidence to demonstrate the benefits of working with them.

No testimonials (perhaps understandable, as the age of the traditional testimonial on one page of your website, is long gone).

No client survey results.

No client stories.

No client videos.

In fact, nothing whatsoever to demonstrate the value of working with them.

Advisers and planners who make this mistake ask prospective clients to take a huge leap of faith. They ask people to trust them about the value of financial advice/planning without offering any supporting evidence.

In an increasingly discerning world, where we all have huge search power at our fingertips, are prospective clients really going to do that?

Some will. Many won’t. How much more impressive would your business be if you demonstrated the benefits of what you do?

The obvious next question; Why are some advisers and planners making this mistake?

In our experience there are several reasons:

  1. Impatience to get their new website up. We’ve always believed that ‘good and done’ is better than perfect, but social proof is too important to miss off. Never launch a site without it.
  2. A belief that they are different and, for some reason, social proof isn’t important to them or their prospective clients. This is most common when advisers/planners work with ‘high-net-worth’ (whatever that means!) individuals. We’ve never understood it frankly. Everyone wants to know you work with people ‘like them’.
  3. A belief that their clients won’t give testimonials, take part in case studies or appear on a video. This just isn’t true. If you ask the right clients, in the right way, they will.

What’s the right mix of social proof?

We talk to financial advisers and planners about two forms of social proof; global and granular. You need a mixture of both.

Global social proof demonstrates the satisfaction of your clients as a group and includes things such as:

Granular social proof showcases individual clients. It tells their story. It explains their problems, aspirations, hopes and fears. It details what you did (in broad terms, no numbers). Most importantly, it demonstrates the outcomes. How you made them feel. How their life changed.

Granular social proof must be authentic. It should include the client’s name, their location, the date they became a client and, crucially, a photo of them.

Examples include:

  • Testimonials
  • Written client stories
  • Client videos

What do you have on your website?

We know that lockdown is enabling many advisers and planners to work on their business rather than in it. A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the marketing projects you should consider during this period. Developing your social proof was one of them.

We recommend following a three-step process:

  1. Audit your existing social proof and identify the gaps
  2. Review your website to ensure that you are displaying your existing social proof as efficiently as possible (remember, a single testimonials page is no longer enough)
  3. Build a plan to plug the gaps and more effectively display your social proof.

How can we help plug the gaps?

There are many reasons you might need help with plugging the gaps in your social proof. So, here are some examples of how we’ve helped firms during lockdown:

  • VouchedFor reviews: We set up four profiles for a firm, wrote to their clients and, within a week, had generated over 100 positive reviews.
  • Google and VouchedFor: Again, we developed a planner’s VouchedFor profile and coached them on how to ask for reviews. This led to an astonishing 90% of their clients leaving a review on one or both platforms.
  • Client surveys: We have run several surveys during lockdown. We agree on the questions with the adviser/planner, build the survey, send it to clients, collate and analyse the results, look for opportunities, present them to the firm, and then write a client communication revealing the results.
  • Interviewing clients for case studies: We know it can be awkward for advisers and planners to interview their own clients. So, we often do it for them. We interview by phone or Zoom, write up the results and display them online. We’ll even ask the clients for a photo of themselves. They usually say ‘yes’ too!
  • Client videos: These are harder during lockdown, but not impossible. Watch this space for a potential solution soon.

Remember, what a prospective client sees online increases or decreases the chances of them making contact with you. That’s why social proof is so important.

Why would you be happy with a website which doesn’t highlight your clients and the benefits of financial planning? No, we don’t know either.

If you’d like to chat about how we can help improve your existing website or develop a new one, please get in touch. Drop us a line to [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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