“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
Warren Buffett probably wasn’t talking about your website when he said that, but he could have been because many advisers and planners use cost as an excuse for not developing a great website.
In our experience there are two reasons why:
- They don’t understand why their website is a critical step in a prospect’s journey to their door
- They focus on cost rather than value
Let’s try and address both of these today.
Your website is your shop window
An effective website will convert suspects into prospects.
A suspect is someone who knows you, but you don’t know them. They might have been recommended to you, driven past your office or seen you on social media. They first meet you on a Google search results page (having searched for you or your business) and start getting to know you on your website. A prospect is a suspect who has contacted you and started a conversation.
To maximise the number of suspects who turn into prospects you need to be:
- Visible online
- Impressive online
An effective website helps you achieve both by:
- Ensuring you dominate the top of the results page following a brand search
- Positioning you as the expert who can address their trigger (the problem or aspiration which means they need help)
- Demonstrating the value of financial advice and planning to prospects
So, you’re convinced about the importance of developing a great website, let’s move on to the elephant in the room; cost.
Consider value, not cost
We occasionally have financial advisers and planners, many of whom have decent sized businesses, push back on the cost of a website. I’ve heard things such as:
Adviser #1: “We’ll rebuild our website when we have more clients.”
Me (scratching my head): “Er…your website will help you attract more clients. Your clients don’t start contributing to their pension when they’ve achieved their retirement goals!”
Adviser #2: “My website is just a business card.”
Me: “You might want to reconsider. Your business card (if you still use one) communicates your contact details, and that’s it. A website should explain how you help clients, that you can help the prospect, and why people should use you. It’s your shop window, not a business card that’s more likely than not to be thrown away.”
Adviser #3: “I can’t afford it.”
Me: “If you’re a start-up without the cashflow, we understand that it might be a problem. However, one of the start-up costs is marketing, which includes developing a great website. It’s no coincidence that, in my experience, new-start firms do better when they get their marketing right from day one. Furthermore, if you amortise the cost over five years (the typical shelf-life for a website) it looks even more affordable.”
That said, let’s consider value rather than cost.
Next Wealth’s 2020 Business Benchmarks Financial Advice report (which you can download here, it really is very good) shows that:
- 39% of planners manage portfolios of between £100,000 and £250,000
- 32% of planners manage portfolios of between £250,000 and £500,000
Our research shows that the average ongoing fee, when expressed as a percentage, is 0.82%.
Therefore, the average ongoing fees would be between:
- £820 and £2,050 per year for the first group
- £2,050 and £4,100 per year for the second group
The average cost of a website we produce is between £4,500 and £6,500 plus VAT. Some larger sites are more expensive, but that’s a typical range. And, on average, a site probably has a shelf-life of five years before it needs significant updating.
Looking at those numbers, it’s pretty clear that your website costs are covered even if it generates just one new client in those five years.
However, an effective website should do far more than that, especially when it comes to supporting your marketing and referrals strategies.
For example, one new client per year at the mid-point of £250,000, would generate income of £2,050 per year, plus initial fees. Over five years that would build to £10,250 each year the clients remain engaged, which we know could be 10, 15 or 20 years. That pays for the website many times over.
We would say that, though, wouldn’t we?
We’ve clearly got a vested interest in more advisers and planners having great websites; we sell them!
So, don’t just take our word for it. Here’s the view of three planners we’ve worked with recently.
Helena Wardle, Smith & Wardle (website launched July 2020)
“We expected to get a return on our investment within a few months, but we have been surprised by one of the indirect consequences of launching our new site and brand.
“Our clients love it, and our client referrals have increased immensely just in our first month without us doing anything other than sharing our new site with our clients.
We have also had really positive feedback from new direct enquiries.
“Where we thought the website would pay for itself in a few months it has done that in month one. It is an investment worth spending time and money on.”
Darren Cooke, Red Circle Financial Planning (website launched January 2019)
We launched the Red Circle Financial Planning website in early 2019. In 2020 it won IFA Website of the Year at the Professional Adviser Awards and has helped to generate new clients for Darren Cooke. We asked Darren about the value of having a great website.
“The fees I earned in one year from the first client to contact me through the website paid for it twice over.”
“A quality website will bring quality clients to your door and in reality the website will probably cost no more than the initial fees paid by one or two clients.”
Ian Else, 4 Financial Planning (website launched January 2020)
“The value of an effective website can be summed up by the words of a new client when they first got in touch: “I contacted you because of the simplicity and transparency of your website. I ended up fatigued looking at all the others.
“That person became a client. I’ve calculated that, on average, a client is worth £37,800 to me, so that single client has given an 800% ROI compared to the cost of my website.”
We’ll leave you with one more quote about the difference between cost and value:
“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Red Adair.
If now’s the time to review your website, we’re here to help. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.