Not long ago, financial advisors didn’t really need to worry about things like “improving online presence.” After all, when most of your new business comes from networking and referrals, why should it matter what your website, search engine and social media presence look like?
But these days, with most consumers using the internet to discover and vet potential service providers, having an optimized web presence has gone from luxury to necessity for independent advisors and planners. Here are three reasons why:
1. Referrals are Googling you. Are you visible on the major search engines, and if so, what search results appear? Does your web presence convey that you are trustworthy and credible?
2. Recruits are Googling you. Does your web presence showcase a modern, professional firm or an out-of-touch dinosaur? Will young, talented advisors want to join your team based on your online appearance?
3. Online competition is fierce. If a prospect viewed your website vs. a tech-savvy competitor’s, who would they choose?
Clearly, online presence management is no longer a “nice-to-have.” In today’s digital-first world, it’s a requirement for a successful advisor practice.
The definition of online presence has evolved over the years. Once upon a time, having a website was pretty much the extent of it. Today, there are multiple strategies to consider.
The easiest way to think of online presence is to imagine how and where your current and future clients might look for you, learn about you and/or vet you on the web. For example:
Fortunately, improving your web presence is not rocket science. There are dozens of effective ways to make your mark on the web in a way that enhances your brand, builds credibility and drives new business. Here are 25 methods we recommend.
Your website is often a potential client’s first impression of your practice, so you want to make sure it reflects who you are and the value you provide. If you only have a limited amount of time and money to spend, we recommend focusing your energy on your site.
1. Invest in professional photos. Instead of generic stock photos, fill your site with individual headshots, formal and candid team pictures, and snapshots of your office.
3. Upgrade the design. Use consistent fonts and colors throughout your site, and consider investing in a more modern logo if the current one feels dated.
4. Dial in your messaging. Get super clear on your target audience and unique selling proposition, then hammer your message home on every page of your site.
5. Add a blog. Blogging can be a great way to showcase your expertise to prospective clients (it also helps with SEO – see below). Use our Financial Content Planning Calendar for year-round topic inspiration.
According to Forrester, 93 percent of web experiences begin with a search engine. Optimizing your site for SEO will not only help you rank well for searches made by referrals (who are typing in your name or business name), but also for searches made by strangers (who are typing in generic “financial advisor” keywords).
6. Think local. It’s much easier to rank for local business searches (e.g., “financial advisor in San Jose”) vs. national searches (e.g., “best financial advisors”).
7. Know your keywords. Make a list of the keywords you’d ideally like to rank for in search engines. Your best bets are your name, your business name and terms like “financial advisor” + “(your city or region).”
8. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions. You can adjust what shows up on search engine results pages (SERPs) by editing the headline (title tag) and the copy underneath it (meta description) for each page of your website. Use a target keyword from your list above in the title tag.
9. Claim your Google My Business profile. Creating your Google My Business page is a vital first step in making your site show up for local search results.
10. Include your business name, address and phone number on every page of your site. Name/address/phone number (NAP) is another crucial factor in local search visibility. Most businesses put this info in the footer.
11. Build backlinks. Backlinks, or links to your site from other sites, are one of Google’s most important ranking factors. You can earn backlinks through guest blogging, press interviews and directory listings, to name a few.
12. Publish blogs. Here’s where you can target more generic search terms that your ideal audience might be looking for. For example, “managing finances after divorce.”
Most advisors are familiar with online marketing methods like blogging and social media, but there are plenty of other ways that digital marketing can help you improve your online footprint.
13. Optimize your social media profiles. Twitter and Facebook profiles often show up in searches for your business name, so make sure your social media bios convey who you are and what you do.
14. Share blog posts, events and 3rd party articles on social media. Consistency is more important than volume. If you don’t have original content or events to share, start with articles from reputable writers and publishers on topics relevant to your ideal clients.
16. Contribute to question-and-answer sites. Check out Quora, Reddit and/or Investopedia’s Advisor Insights program for relevant financial questions to answer.
17. List your events online. Hosting an in-person educational or networking event? Post it to Meetup or another event site and share the link on social media.
18. Optimize directory listings. Improve your NAPFA, FPA or other directory listings with your professional headshot, preferred keywords and marketing message.
19. Speak at industry conferences. The event website will often link to your site and promote you on social media.
20. Host a webinar. Share your expertise with prospective clients and/or centers of influence (e.g., CPAs). Promote it on social media and blog about the topic.
21. Put your conference/webinar presentation deck on Slideshare. Optimize your Slideshare bio and the presentation’s description with target keywords.
Just as it’s easier to rank for local SEO keywords, it’s also much easier to land local press coverage vs. national press coverage. As you think through the opportunities below, don’t forget to consider local TV news, magazines, newspapers, industry journals and other regional platforms that may be happy to quote your expertise on their site.
22. Find out what publications your target audience reads. Ask your clients and/or create a poll on your site to learn what publications influence your target audience, from local TV news to radio shows to online news sources.
23. Be philanthropic. Raise money, hold a team volunteer day or organize an event for your favorite non-profit cause. Often the non-profit will feature your kindness on their own site (which can show up in search results) – and it feels good, to boot.
24. Become a source for HARO. Help A Reporter Out (HARO) connects journalists with the experts they need to write their stories. Sign up for the Business & Finance beat for a daily email full of questions you can use to showcase your expertise.
25. Apply for industry awards. Check out Wealth Management, Investment News and smaller/local websites for financial advisor and planner awards – many of which are pay-to-play (but offer a dose of credibility to your site, nonetheless).
We make the web work harder for independent financial advisors and wealth managers. From sophisticated website design to intelligent SEO and other marketing strategies, we’ll help you stand out and drive more business online. Learn more about our financial advisor marketing services and schedule a free consultation today.