As proud as you may be of your website, it’s probably not doing enough to differentiate your firm from your competition, says a marketing expert.

"Who are you as a company? Is your public site helping you communicate that?" Paula Pullano, head of marketing for Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, asked her audience at SourceMedia's InVest conference in New York.

“We spend an awful lot of time on our client sites and in apps, but we don’t think about [curating content] for our public site,” says Paula Pullano, global head of marketing at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management.

Advisors should figure out how they can show, rather than tell, who they are through their public website, said Pullano. Citing as an example the visual richness that Apple's website shares with the company’s products, she said that using an advisor’s public website should reflect the experience of working with him or her.

Providing an alternative to advisors’ talking about themselves on their website, Pullano suggested expanding the sources of the information they provide. "Your content doesn't have to come from you alone; you have a range of people and companies that you can tap into," said Pullano. "And often, people like more of hearing from others than hearing from you."

Pullano also advocates a "publishing mindset" when it comes to engaging clients. "Tease them with the content that they are interested in, and drive them to have a conversation with you."

Giving an example of that mindset in action, Pullano shared her past experience reworking JPMorgan's public-facing website in 2012, when her team pulled all the site’s content and started fresh. Marketers talked to the firm’s top bankers to find what clients were thinking about, and ended up putting only three topics on the site, each framed as a question. The simple yet thought-provoking presentation, said Pullano, gained client interest. An extra payoff of the redesign: One newly added video featuring a well-known philanthropist was tweeted by the philanthropist, driving traffic and attracting new clients.

“Tease them with the content they are interested in, and drive them to have a conversation with you.” – Paula Pullano

If advisors are looking to give their public website a facelift today, who should they look to as an example? Pullano said Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch are the two companies that she watches, because both do a great job of thinking from the client’s perspective.

"Most of the time, people look at what content they have, and want to put it up," said Pullano. That approach no longer works, she implied; instead, she said, "start figuring out when people are paying attention to you" and focus on that.

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