Make a better first impression: In an increasingly digital age, there’s no excuse for ignoring one of the most important tools you have. “A great website helps establish your personal brand and differentiates you from the competition,” says Craig Faulkner, chief executive officer of FMG Suite, a financial marketing firm. But unless that website was developed in the last year or two, it’s probably out of date, he says. “Most professionals would not wear a 10-year-old suit to a first appointment, but many advisors trust their old, outdated websites to provide the first impression prospects get.” A good website capable of generating leads needs to borrow some strategies from retail websites, Faulkner says. “Specifically, you need incredible content — video is the magic bullet. ... Video is one of the only ways that a small to medium-size business website can keep people on the site long enough to encourage the visitor to consider reaching out to the advisor.” Mike Greene, senior vice president of Ameriprise Financial Services reiterates the importance of a good website. “Even the warmest referral will always be checked out by going to Google beforehand,” he says. “A good website must describe the client experience and the team that you have in place to provide this experience that is different from your competitors.” Navigation & Interface While standing out may be easier said than done, an easy-to-navigate user interface can make a big difference. “Your website should be interactive, interesting, and very user friendly,” says Faulkner. “Prospects should be able to reach out to you easily from every page of the site.” Generating traffic to your site is also vital, says Greene. He recommends linking your website to a variety of places where there is already traffic -- education planning associations, the CFP board and local boards that advisors serve on. “Also, be sure to also talk to experts about search engine optimization, if you aren’t already familiar with it.” Once you have visitors, you need a way to collect the information. Try adding easy-to-use contact prompts, like "Have a question?" forms, to increase your odds of capturing the lead, Faulkner says. These changes will be an upgrade from the typical “business card” websites that most advisors use.
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