Getting the word out about your firm can be a challenging endeavor. In the past, advisors have used brochures and business cards, seminars and direct mail. Today, the way information is being disseminated about advisors is changing dramatically. Before a prospect will come in to see you, they will most likely go online to find out about you — even if they were referred to you.

Your online presence defines you

Have you ever “Googled” yourself? When a prospect or client searches for you or arrives at your Web site, do they see what they want? Does it answer their questions and/or exceed their expectations? Most importantly, does it create a lasting impression about who you are?

7 seconds to make a great first impression
Recent statistics indicate that people form an opinion of a Web site in seven seconds and will decide whether to browse within your site or move on. With this in mind, it is important to have a Web site design that downloads quickly, is aesthetically pleasing, and tells users right away what’s in it for them. Simply put, your site need to stop visitors in their tracks.

Don’t forget your call to action
The success of a Web site is measured by your “Web conversion rate.” Visitors to your site need to be led and nudged so they eventually take the action you want. Several ways to encourage their interaction is to offer them something of value in exchange for filling out information (free report or newsletter). You can also give them an option to request a complimentary retirement analysis or to schedule an appointment (and yes, they will).

How do consumers find your site?
Did you know that 81 percent of Internet users rely on search engines and directories to find information? Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have their sites built with regard to search engine optimization (SEO). Ask your Web designer or IT person to evaluate your SEO and recommend improvements.

Your site should be unique, just like your firm
Having an attractive model or stock photograph on your site does not tell visitors anything much about who you are. Let visitors truly get to know your firm. Powerful tools include pictures of you and your staff, and video and audio (using your own voice) talking to your visitors about your firm and the benefits you provide to your target market.

Evaluate your site using analytics
Use Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics) to statistically evaluate your site. Find out how long people stayed on your site, where they went when they came your site, and if they were repeat or new visitors. Use the information to continue to improve your home page and entire site.

When someone from your target market arrives at your site, make sure it appeals to them, answers their questions, piques their interest — give them a reason and need to contact you. You now will have the advantage!

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