This is The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, the podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful, and scalable practice. Each week, we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing, and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets, and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of. You'll be joined by your hosts, Bryan Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management; Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture; and Draye Redfern, who can help you systematize and automate your practice's marketing to effortlessly attract new clients. So, what do you say? Let's jump into another amazing episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast.
Draye Redfern: Hey there, Draye Redfern here, and in this episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, we are going to be talking about how you can have an advising website that converts more prospects to clients who rave about you and your services. Now, for this episode, you're just getting me, because we want to have some really great content where we can really get down to the nitty gritty, and I've got an eight-part list, the eight things that your site should absolutely have in this modern age for financial advisors.
Here's the reality. As we sort of dive into this, most financial advisor websites are just half-decent or half-pretty online business cards. There's nothing of substance, there's nothing that really captures that person and brings them in, there's nothing that really educates that individual. And overall, they're really, really bad. In fact, for a financial advising conference that we spoke at just a little bit ago, we basically ranked all of the conference attendees, because they released the conference attendee list publicly, which, I don't know if I would've done that personally, but we took it and we took advantage of it. So what we did was we scored everyone who was in that conference, and the scores were absolutely abysmal, largely because most of the advisors out there were using the service that the broker-dealer actually provided to them, and they're all very templated and all very generic, and frankly just very sterile, because they all say pretty much the same thing, and they all look the same as well.
So, we basically ranked them, and some of the facets that we ranked all of these 3,000 advisors on was this eight-part sequence I'm going to share with you in a moment. Now, that being said, this eight-part sequence is not the end all be all, it doesn't include everything that should be on a website, but it's a really good starting point if you're looking to revamp your site, your content. Maybe you have a marketing company out there. This is a good list to use when you are either shopping for marketing companies, if you're building it yourself, to basically check off as you go. It doesn't matter how you use it, it's just a really good way for you to make sure that you're doing all of the things that you should be doing to stay modern with the technology world and the websites that people are used to seeing.
So, first off, you know you should have an About Us page, a Contact Us page, so I'm not even including those in this list, so primarily, this list is basically just a couple of the technology facets that you should have on there. So, let's get into it. The first one that I think you should be really... spend the most time on more than anything on the rest of this list is the clarity and the differentiation. Within five seconds, five seconds like absolute max, the potential visitor, the prospect, the client, whoever it is, should know who you are, they should know what you do, and they should know why you're different. Five seconds. If you can't accurately convey that in less than five seconds, they're gone.
And I don't just say that to be curt, I say that because that's the reality. Most of our attention spans are about the time of a goldfish's attention span, and it's really... We have to not get mad at it and not complain about it and not be frustrated with it. That's just the reality. In the world of social media, and all of the email notifications, and the dings and chings and rings and vibrations and everything else going off in our world, our attention is pulled 10,000 different directions during the day. And that's okay, I mean, that's just the reality, but one of the things we need to be cognizant of is if someone's coming to your site, you're competing against all of the dings and rings and chings and vibrations, and all the other things that go on in their life, from their cell phone or their iPad or their phone ringing, or whatever it is that is potentially bringing them away from focusing on you.
So we need to capture their attention with who you are, what you do, and why you're different in five seconds. Now, in one of our earlier episodes, we talked about how you can have an actual differentiation, and the difference between an enhancement differentiator, which is what most financial advisors have, which is primarily just John does this, and so Susie does that same thing plus a little extra, or maybe she just names it differently. It's really just a minor enhancement to try and create differentiation, but it doesn't really create anything of meaning. Whereas a never-seen-before differentiator is a way to uniquely reposition you as the expert, as something unique, and not necessarily just a financial advisor, but someone who can create a radical differentiation, a radical meaning, a radical impact on that potential client's life.
The example that we use with Sweet Financial, my cohost on this podcast, is their Dream Architect process, trademarked process, so you can't knock it off. But when you work with Sweet Financial, you're not working with a boring financial advisor, because they're boring. You're competing with everyone else, it's just that's the reality. You're not working with a financial advisor, you're working with a Dream Architect. Just that feeling it has, it's so much sexier to say, like it's just... It's fun and it's exciting, like someone who's going to be the architect of my dreams, versus someone who's just going to financially advise me. That's a very simple differentiation that you can use that get people talking about you, who you are, and in two words, right there, is that explains who they are, why they're different, and what they do. Pretty darn simple. So if you don't necessarily know what your differentiation is, I suggest you go back to some of those earlier episodes and listen to that differentiation process. So, that is the first one right there.
The second one: Your phone number needs to be abundantly clear and easy to find on your homepage and every other subsequent page. The easy way to do this is to make sure that your phone number is either in your upper navigation or in your footer. Don't make them visit your homepage, and then have to find your Contact Us page, and then have to scroll down to try and find your phone number. It's annoying. If people need to get ahold of you, or they have an immediate question and you could help them, or they're lost on their way to your office for their initial meeting, or whatever it is, and they're trying to navigate your site, it doesn't put your best foot forward. So, make sure your phone number is abundantly clear in your header navigation or in your footer. Pretty simple, and if you don't have it, it's a really easy thing to fix.
The third one is having some sort of strategy guide or checklist, these sorts of things, a piece of content similar to an ebook that you can have out there that allows individuals to leave their name and their email address in exchange for this piece of content. Now, I don't recommend ebooks, because all of the stats and the numbers that we had over the last year or so, ebooks are not performing, as far as people downloading them, as good as they used to. However, we see a great opt-in rate, conversion rate to a lead of someone downloading a strategy guide. So it could be some sort of financial strategy guide for realtors, or for anesthesiologists if that's one of your niches, or it could be... Another form of a piece of content that you can have is a checklist. It could be the 10 steps to... A 10-step checklist to achieve whatever goal that you're helping them achieve or vision. If you know what your niches are, you know who your avatar is, you can customize these pieces of content, the strategy guide or the checklist, for each one of those niches.
So. as another example, because I don't want to leave you hanging, I don't want to just talk hypothetical or theoretical. Sweet Financial uses some strategy guides and checklists for their Women Forward, because women who are going through a transition have a very specific set of needs than a business owner, another one of their niches. So they have separate, essentially, funnels directly dedicated and content directly tied to those specific niches, but I'll talk more about that in a second.
The fourth thing that we want to have here is email automation. If someone leaves their name and their email address, that's great, they just have a piece of content, but that content may never get opened in their email. Or maybe it does, and they loved it and they want to work with you, but life got in the way, just like it does for all of us, and then someone in the family got sick, or the kiddo got sick, and maybe they had to go on a business trip, or maybe they're on vacation, and they just forgot. Well, that's why email automation needs to be incorporated into your mix. If it's not, and frankly, it's not for, I would guess, about 95% of the financial advisors out there, they know about it, they know they need to have it, yet no one is really doing it.
So that alone, once it's written, it's basically set it and forget it. As you know before, if you listened to some of the earlier episodes, I am a massive proponent of what I call singular actions. Do something once, do something once really, really great, and then set it and forget it, so that one thing can keep paying dividends for you in perpetuity. So if someone opts in today for your email automation, and then someone else opts in six months from now, you don't have to keep going and manually sending all of those emails. You did it once, the contents great, it's amazing, you set it and forget it, and it can just keep working for you like a work horse as time rolls on.
Email automation, so critical for financial advisors these days. Staying top of mind, not just your average boring monthly newsletter. Like, that's basically the extent of what most financial advisors do, is they send a market update and some other very sterile, very boring compliance-approved content that basically has a lot of words but doesn't really say anything, instead of actually having meaningful bits of conversation and information that can help them.
So it could be, as an example, the 10 things that you want to consider before you approach retirement. Maybe that's the guide that someone downloads. So, as an example, if someone downloads that piece of content, that guide on the 10 things that they need to consider before they retire, chances are they've got a little bit of a nest egg, and chances are they want to know about what they could do to maybe minimize their tax exposure. Maybe they want to know how to set up their savings plan, maybe they want to make sure that they're going to have enough, all of these concerns that you probably already know about for your particular clientele. Everything that I just listed for you could be a different email sent to them on a weekly basis, automated without you having to worry about it. They opt in for the piece of content, and every week, you send them a piece of content that's specifically tailored to their exact pain point based on whatever piece of content they downloaded.
So as an example, a individual, a woman who is a client of Sweet Financial who just lost her husband, maybe she's recently widowed, and is going to be going through a very emotional, tumultuous time, and there's going to be a lot of uncertainty during that period of time. What you can do is craft emails and content that addresses this woman's concerns. It's going to be uncertainty, it's going to be making sure that all of her accounts and her finances are in order, it's making sure that she has the tax exposures covered, making sure that her family understands what's next. Maybe it's helping with the will or the estate. You can literally walk this woman through the varying... the journey that she more or less experiences after recently losing her husband. And chances are, if you've had a handful of these come through, you roughly know what that journey will look like for your particular clientele.
You don't need to overthink it, you don't need to overcomplicate it. We are literally just finding ways to serve our prospects, have amazing solutions for them. Obviously we're getting them all approved by compliance, all these other things, and then setting it up and then letting it run. So if someone loses her husband today, we can help her and it's automated; if someone loses her husband six months from now or a year from now, same sequence applies, and we can help her along with that journey. That's the benefit of email automation when it's accurately and really well done, and tied to that strategy guide or checklist or whatever that experience that that woman is having.
The fifth thing here is calendar integration. This works really well if you already have your clients, so that your clients can basically book that hour-long spot onto your calendar. There's a wonderful video maybe sitting next to the calendar software. And if you don't know what I mean, there's usually about a handful of big softwares out there. The big one is ScheduleOnce, there's Calendly, there's Acuity, there's a lot of big software platforms out there that can essentially... You can tie in your Outlook calendar or your Google calendar or whatever it is, and that potential prospect or client can see what times you're available. They can't see what your appointments are, but they can see the times that are available on your calendar and pick a time that works best for their schedule, so you don't have to have the email correspondence going back and forth and back and forth. Basically, it makes it really quick and really easy.
Most people, if they have calendar integration, just send people a link and that's it. What we usually recommend for websites and these sorts of things is, if you're going to do that, also shoot a video to go along with it. That way it could be much, much more personal. It could say something along the lines of, "Hey, it's Draye, and I'm really looking forward to going over your goal progress in our next annual meeting. So here's what I would love to do with you, is I want to sit down with you, I want to have an amazing hour-long conversation. We can talk about your goals and your progress, and what's been going on in your life over the last year and, how your family's doing. Listen, I can't wait to sit down with you, so here's going to be the best way for us to schedule our appointment. Just to the left of this video, you can pick the day and the time that works best for you to come into the office so we can have our visit."
Now, I literally just ad-libbed and made that whole thing up, but that's a very simple example of what you can do to make this process much more personable, much more meaningful, and have a much deeper, longer-lasting impact. So this way, you can have meetings scheduled and in more of an automated fashion, but it's not just cold, it has more of a meaning to it. It's you, it's your face. They're used to seeing you, and you basically are excited to catch up with them and the family.
If it's done correctly, it makes it really easy to where they sometimes think that you shot that video just for them, not that it was done and, you know, it was done once and it was approved by compliance, and that same video was sent out to all of the clients for a six- or 12-month period before that video gets re-shot. Many clients actually think it was done just for them, and oftentimes we don't correct them, because that's just a great thing to have, for them to feel warm and invited that you shot that piece of content just for them and they were to book a spot on your calendar. There's so many ways to skin that cat, from hour-long meetings or 90-minute meetings with existing clients to 15-minute meetings of an exploratory or initial discovery call to see if they're even going to be a fit to work with your firm, to see if they have the assets required, or whatever it is that you may have. But it's a great tool to have in your site, both for prospects and separate sequences for your existing clients.
The next one here is self-segmentation. This is a little bit newer, and many individuals may not necessarily have heard about this, but self-segmentation is a term that we basically use to differentiate and segment your niches. So, for example, if you have three niches, many individuals like to interact with quizzes and these sorts of things on websites, especially if they don't have to give their name and email as a way to start them. So what you can do with self-segmentation is essentially let people choose their own path, like those Choose Your Own Path books that many people used to read. And what you can do here is ask a simple question, maybe like, "Where are you at in your life right now?" Or, "What experience are you going at?" Or, "What of these do you best identify with?" And that could be, "I'm approaching retirement," "I'm retired," "I am financially uncertain." Maybe those are three options, and depending on which option they click, you could basically filter down and almost sift through where the good-qualified leads are and where the not-so-good-qualified leads are.
One of the ways that we can do that is we can ask them what the amount of assets that they have are. And that question alone is a great sort of way to sift through the individuals who are not qualified to work with you yet, not necessarily saying we don't want to help them. And so, simply by asking that question, when you have a quiz, this self-segmentation process built into your website, you can basically, number one, sift through the individuals who aren't qualified, who don't have the assets to work with you.
And then if they are qualified, let's just say that someone's a woman and they're recently widowed. Well, we're going to take that person and we're going to deliver her to a page where we've got a very specific piece of content that can address her concern. If she's recently widowed, like we said a second ago, she's going to be emotionally uncertain. She's going to be all over the place. She's going to have all of these worries and fears about the finances that her husband may have been the one taking care of these things. Perfect. We can help her because we asked her up front on the site and allowed her to self-identify with the pain point that she best identifies with.
So self-segmentation is a great way to do these sorts of things, and we're going to have a couple variations of that. If you actually visit ultimateadvisorcoaching.com, you'll see a version of self-segmentation that we use on the platform. Go through the process. If you're an advisor who meets the qualifications, if you do these sorts of things to work with us, you will be delivered to a next page. If you're not, no big deal, you'll be sent to a separate page. It would basically say, "Hey, we're not the right fit, but maybe you consider some of these other options." That's a way for... basically an example for you to sort of view how some of these processes can look and how they can work.
The next thing after self-segmentation, because I could literally talk all day about self-segmentation, is content. We've talked about content and strategy guides and checklists and these sorts of things, but in the modern age right now with Google indexing every page under the sun, content is king, and if you don't have some sort of blog, then you're not doing your site all of the best that... You know, you're not putting your best foot forward with these sorts of things, because Google wants to know who you are, and they want to know what you do, and they want to know that you're actually a qualified financial advisor. And the way that Google ranks you higher and higher and higher and higher in their algorithm is by having more pieces of content that are tied to you being a financial advisor, or you serving women who recently lost their husbands, or whatever the other niche may be, because it really makes a difference.
So, not necessarily saying you do this immediately, but I definitely would consider that as you grow your marketing efforts, that content becomes a really important part of your whole marketing operation. Because as it goes, as time goes on, you're going to rank higher and higher and higher in Google, which means you're going to rank higher, higher, higher in the pages, eventually getting you to a page one ranking.
And as an example, we've had a client, a financial advising client who has blogged for several years now, and they have great articles, great content they put out maybe once or twice a month. Like, we're not talking a massive time commitment here, but they've done it consistently. What ends up happening is that in addition to a little bit of paid ads they do on the side, separate sort of conversation, they rank number one on Google because they're paying for that spot. They show up in the map on Google, which is the second little section, because they have a lot of credibility with Google, and they rank number one in the organic section down below, which is just below the map, usually, when things show up.
So that means that out of like the eight or 10 little options that are available on the site, they basically have three to four of those options. That's about as close as it could be to owning the home page of Google. You're paying for that spot, you're seeing it on the map, and they're number one in organic search, which is the non-paid search section of Google down below, where it's not ads. Basically, they own the half of that front page. So the chances of them filtering people into their checklists or their downloads or to work with them are exponentially higher than someone else who just has a really pretty business-card-looking website, because they're probably not running ads, they probably don't have content sitting out there, and they have a very low credibility rating with Google, so they're not putting their best foot forward.
So, important to have, and regardless of whether you're doing online advertising now or you want to do it in the future, a pixel code should be abso-abso-abso-absolutely installed onto your website. If you don't know what a pixel code, it's basically just a small little tiny dot of code. No one could ever see it. But what happens is, if you want to advertise on Facebook, Facebook has a little pixel code that you can basically put behind the scenes on your website, and that pixel code will allow Facebook to learn more and more and more and more about the individuals who visit your page. So you might think that your audience is men between the ages of 50 and 55 and women between the ages of 46 and 52, but Facebook, because of their massive abundance of data, if you put that code there, it can help you eventually hone in on what that specific market is.
So, for example, if you think that you're advertising to this particular demographic, which is the ones I just mentioned, we could basically then go to Facebook and say, "Hey, send this ad to everyone who's been on my site in the last five days or 30 days or 60 days." And so that way, we're not blasting ads out to everyone under the sun who may or may not know about us, who may or may not be even looking for a financial advisor. We're only showing our ads to the individuals who've already been to the site, since they already relatively know who you are. And the pixel code helps you do that, so you don't actually have to know all of the specifics of men from 55 to 59 or whatever it was. You let Facebook do all of that heavy lifting for you, and sending your ads only to the people who've already been to the site. It's called retargeting.
The other thing there is that Facebook is not the only one doing it. Google does have it also, Bing has it, these sorts of things. But if you're going to do it, I would focus on Facebook first, and then Google. And really, if you're not going to advertise yet, it just helps to have that pixel code sitting behind the scenes on your website. Do it sooner rather than later, because as it grows and that pixel learns more and more about the audience who's visiting your site, you can tailor your advertising better. That pixel becomes dialed in, and it really helps when you target specific audiences later on if you ever did want to advertise. That way, if you ever wanted to advertise in the future, you have a leg up on your competition.
So, that being said, those are the eight facets that I really recommend that every advisor has on their website. Most advisors, as I said, do not have this list of things, and so keep it in mind. I would refer back to this list, or maybe listen to this episode again, because it's a really wonderful list to help differentiate you, have more interactions that are not only just automated, they're genuine, they're humanization automation, what I call, basically automating many of those human interactions. So, keep it in mind. I would maybe listen to this episode again.
If you want us to do a complimentary audit of your advising website, we have a free resource for you. Just go to ultimateadvisorcoaching.com/web, W-E-B, review, R-E-V-I-E-W. That's ultimateadvisorcoaching.com/webreview. So, that's it. I hope you got a lot of value out of this lesson, basically how to have an advising website that converts more prospects to clients. Lots of good nuggets in there that I hope you got a lot of value from. So, I'm Draye Redfern, and we look forward to seeing you in one of the next episodes of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We'll see you there.
Hey there, Draye Redfern here, and before you go, we just wanted to say thank you for listening to this week's episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. If you enjoy this episode, then please subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or Spotify, and be sure to rate us five stars on iTunes, because when you do, you'll be entered into a monthly drawing for our Ultimate Advisor Coaching Program, which is a $2,000 value. And if you would like to access more of the show notes, additional resources, and our free premium content, then please visit ultimateadvisorpodcast.com. We look forward to seeing you in the next episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We'll see you there.