As a product manager, I spend around 2-3 full days a week speaking to a multitude of financial advisors whose practices range from independent shops (one person) to large advisory groups and branches. One of the most popular questions I’m asked on a regular basis is the value of having a website. At times, this surprises me because I think the answer to the question is pretty obvious, however, it’s not necessarily something that a lot of us think about because we take the web for granted.
So, do you really need a website? My answer has always been the same answer since I first started developing websites in my early teens: Yes. Undoubtedly yes. Now, whether you have a website that is rich in content, has numerous pages containing videos and a blog is something you need to decide for yourself, but the point I’m trying to make here is that at the very least you need a web presence. This allows your prospects, clients, business partners and maybe even potential investors to learn more about your practice and more importantly, you. All that being said, given significant advances in web technologies over the past decade, it’s simply not enough to just have a presence. It needs to look professional and it needs to look professional on mobile devices. In a study by Fidelity (Millionaires Outlook Survey), more than 44% of millionaires look to the internet when searching for money managers, however, that was in 2011 so the number has surely increased from then. Moreover, given the ubiquity of the web and the proliferation of smartphones, your clients and your prospects will and are already judging you and your business based on how your website looks.
The beautiful thing about the web is that the barriers to entry to get a website up and running are very low. You have the same barriers as any other large financial institution, branch, advisory group or individual would have if they were to launch a website. The same chance at making a good first impression and the same chance at creating a brand and a message that will resonate with the affluent. The bottom line: if you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to your competitors who do and you’re losing that chance at making a good first impression.
However, there are times when you simply do not need a website. The only time I recommend that you do not have a website, is if your website reflects poorly on your business. After all, would you meet with a prospect in a cluttered and unorganized office? Probably not, because it’s a reflection of how dedicated and serious you are about your business and hence theirs.
Your website is one of the primary assets of your business. It helps create good first impressions. It helps establish your brand, your business philosophy and it helps connect you to your prospects and your clients.