5 Rules for a Smarter Website

5 Rules for a Smarter Website 5 Rules for a Smarter Website

By Dave Grant

Your website should tell prospective customers a number of things: firm services and philosophy, investment management methodology, and blog posts about different financial planning topics. But it also shows whether your firm is on the cutting edge and how it values technology. Some of those issues are important to potential employees as well -- so if your company has an out-of-date and poorly maintained website, you risk losing not only clients but also talent.

This is excerpted from a longer story in the November issue of Financial Planning. To see the full story, click here

1. Be Open to New Technologies 1. Be Open to New Technologies

Web conferencing and secure file-sharing have been the biggest business breakthroughs of the last decade. Not only can you provide a client in Asia with a sensitive file within minutes, through a secure connection, but you can also ďmeetĒ with him face-to-face via a video meeting. Crisp video, audio and dynamic layouts have already pushed this envelope. Be open to new online possibilities.

2. Donít Assume New Technology Is for Young People 2. Donít Assume New Technology Is for Young People

My grandma just joined Facebook from her iPad and sheís in her mid-80s. Hereís why: Skype and Facebook let her stay connected to her great-grandchildren 4,000 miles away. Your advisors could strengthen relationships with clients of all generations by implementing video chat technology. And by making these capabilities known on your website, potential hires will know that you embrace these approaches.

3. Go Mobile 3. Go Mobile

Clients may be viewing your website via a smartphone. If your site doesn't work on mobile, or some of its features are lost, too bad -- your prospect may just move on to the next firm on her list.

4. Understand How Gen Y Gets Information 4. Understand How Gen Y Gets Information

Many of us in Gen Y get our information online, share it with our online community, and pick up recommendations in the same way. I have seen numerous Facebook posts asking for recommendations for plumbers, doctors, dentists and advisors. Advisors are restricted from promoting or accepting online recommendations, but they should recognize that other people are discussing the profession (and its practitioners) online. How can you be recommended if no one knows about you? And if you do get a recommendation and your website is subpar, how many of those recommendations will evaporate?

5. Donít Take Yourself Too Seriously 5. Donít Take Yourself Too Seriously

Recently, someone told me about Dollar Shave Club, a company that schedules UPS deliveries of menís razors. I gave them a quizzical look but was told to check out the companyís promo video. I did: Itís full of humor and slapstick, yet it explains the concept of the company very well -- and left me wanting more information. Hereís the reality: Prospects are looking for people to work with, not financial robots. They assume that every advisor has knowledge to help them; therefore they are looking for the service and personality that will benefit them the most. Let that shine through.

Image is a screenshot of the Dollar Shave Club video.