Caution tape with KEEP OUT on it (Credit: Thinkstock)

The advisors we talk to generally have one of two perspectives on their company websites.

Perspective one: The website is a digital business card and its purpose is to help the visitor contact the advisor. That’s it.

Perspective two: The website is an important tool in the overall sales strategy. It explains exactly who the advisor wants to work with, and it discourages bad prospects from pursuing their services.

(Related: 5 Ways to Get a Better Client Fit)

When an advisor fully embraces the second perspective, their website can drive new business and assist in converting prospects into lifelong clients.

Unfortunately, many advisors struggle to reach this point. Some will blame it on compliance issues, saying they’re limited in what they can write about. Yes, advisors do need to follow certain rules, but remaining compliant doesn’t mean you have to abandon creativity. Advisors still have the freedom to let their brand stand out from the rest of the industry.

Most advisor websites fail here. Advisors are too terrified to try something different, so every advisor ends up with the same website. When no one stands out, no one has an edge against the competition. Even worse, the website isn’t a reflection of who they are as a brand or as a person. They’re not presenting themselves the way they would in an in-person meeting or a sales call, so the site visitor never gets an opportunity to experience what the advisor is really like.

At The PT Services Group, we know firsthand how important a website is to the sales process. When we call to set up an appointment, we often hear the prospect typing on their keyboard in the background, doing their best to find our client online. We know that a company’s website is just as much a source of new business as it is part of the legitimacy check that prospects go through when they hear a pitch — they want to ensure what they’re hearing on the phone lines up with what’s on the website.

We’ve seen a few advisors who have effective website strategies. To make their website a more effective sales tool, these advisors:

1. Simplify the website.

If your website tries to talk to everybody, it will talk to nobody, so narrow your copy to the services your company offers. For example, if your company specializes in 401(k) plans, lean into your B2B messaging instead of writing for businesses and individuals alike. When you narrow your audience, the quantity of leads will decrease, but the quality of leads will improve.

2. Make it easy to contact the company.

Keep your contact information front and center. Many businesses try to hide this information, or they’ll try to funnel all of their customer inquiries through a single phone number. Give them as many options as possible to reach out, including your email address.

3. Include pictures of themselves.

Many advisors resist this, but it’s an important step in making your team approachable and relatable.

This also lead to an important question: Should you look formal or casual in your imagery?

The answer should reflect your target audience. If you want to work with a formal clientele, look formal in your images. If you want to work with millennial parents, consider dressing down for your headshot.

4. Tell their story.

Again, this is crucial for humanizing the brand. People love hearing the founder story, and advisors can push further by including a bio for each team member. Many try to appear buttoned up as a reflection of the industry, but you should be more approachable. Some advisors go as far as discussing their families and personal interests. A few go even further by writing about their special needs child or their work in a local nonprofit. Again, this may turn some lower-quality prospects away, but it will also encourage highly interested leads.

5. Filter out less-than-ideal prospects.

All of the steps above work to filter out bad prospects, but there are additional steps you can take. By using targeted messaging, incorporating case studies, and offering client testimonials, you can deter bad fits while enticing the correct target audience.

When advisors commit to building engaging websites with their target audience in mind, they create another valuable sales tool. A strategically-designed website captures the best leads, simplifying your sales process. With the right elements in place, your website can directly support the rest of your sales process.

— Read 6 Ways to Capture the Rewards Hiding in the Unknownon ThinkAdvisor.


John Pojeta

John Pojeta is vice president of business development at The PT Services Group. Before he joined PT, he owned and operated an Ameriprise Financial Services franchise for 16 years.